Scottish Grand National: Say yes to Tom
Ulster raiders Yes Tom and Sole Witness are charged with bringing a 145-year drought for Irish-trained horses in the Coral Scottish Grand National to an end at Ayr this afternoon.
Crossgar trainer Colin McBratney's Sole Witness is one of 19 of the 30 runners that top-weight Tidal Bay is denying from competing off their correct handicap marks.
If you factor in Ben Dalton's claim, he is 6lb out, and it's worth remembering that he cantered up here under Dalton to break his duck over fences two years ago, although he hasn't managed to win again since.
Yes Tom, trained in Larne by Stuart Crawford, appeals as a far more interesting each-way option at odds of around 14/1.
Twice successful at Ayr for Larne's Roy Wilson, the grey nine-year-old came alive on his debut for Crawford's bang in-form stable at Down Royal last month when sluicing up in a conditions race.
Despite being wrong at the weights with each of his four rivals, Yes Tom recovered from some sketchy early fencing to score at his leisure from Make A Track, Raz De Maree, Bog Warrior and Seabass.
With Raz De Maree running respectably in last Saturday's Aintree Grand National and Bog Warrior winning a Grade Two at Navan subsequently, that constituted quite a performance.
On the other hand, if the beaten horses all misfired and the race simply fell into Yes Tom's lap, it could be dangerous to take the form too literally.
That all said, Yes Tom is a decent stayer that might not be badly treated off 140 for 10st given that Crawford could eke some more improvement out of him, and it is also worth noting that he is the last horse in the handicap proper.
Add in the booking of Paul Carberry, who Crawford teamed up with to plunder the Ulster National with Hidden Horizons at Downpatrick last month, and Yes Tom is fancied to go close.
Perth-based Lucinda Russell saddles three in her quest for local glory, with Green Flag foremost in the betting.
Ulster jockey Peter Buchanan's mount was a top-priced 10/1 last night.
If Green Flag sees out the trip, he could take all the beating.