Lucinda Russell sights set on more National glory at Ayr

Corach Rambler won last week's Grand National at Aintree.

Lucinda Russell sights set on more National glory at Ayr STV News

Lucinda Russell and Peter Scudamore will attempt to write another chapter in their incredible journey when they bid for a second Grand National in a week at Ayr on Saturday.

Having scored with One For Arthur in 2017, Corach Rambler gave trainer Russell and assistant and partner Scudamore a second success in the English version when justifying favouritism at Aintree last weekend.

Now the Arlary-based team look to Mighty Thunder and Your Own Story to add a few more lines into their remarkable story by securing a second Coral Scottish Grand National success in three years.

Mighty Thunder gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about when taking the four-mile event in 2021, but has not won in 10 subsequent outings and will start as one of the outsiders.

Your Own Story, however, ticks plenty of boxes, with four runner-up efforts and a victory at Wetherby – over a furlong shorter than he will face this time – in seven starts over fences.

Scudamore said: “Mighty Thunder is getting back to himself now – it has taken a while, but the ground will suit him.

“Your Own Story has the right profile to win the race – he’ll stay and has been running consistently well, and he’s a novice. That’s what wins the races.

“He was a bit unfortunate at Haydock last time (when beaten half a length). The trip (an extended three and a half miles) was too short for him and in another 100 yards, he probably would have won.”

Last year, Christian Williams saddled a remarkable one-two in the Scottish National with the subsequently retired Win My Wings beating stablemate Kitty’s Light.

Kitty’s Light showed his well-being when taking the Eider at Newcastle in February, despite jumping without much fluency at times, and he will be joined by stablemate Cap Du Nord, who was beaten a length in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster before landing the valuable Swinley Handicap at Ascot.

Though well held in the Coral Trophy Handicap at Kempton on his last run, his Glamorgan-based handler feels he had excuses.

Williams said: “We’re looking forward to it after winning the race last year. The plan is to go back and win it again with Kitty’s – if his jumping holds up.

“If he jumped like he did at Newcastle, then he won’t be winning anything. We just have to hope that was the very soft ground that day.

“Hopefully he will stand up like last year and have a similar run to last year, and he should run well. The faster the ground, the better for him.

“Cap Du Nord only won a hundred-grand chase the time before at Ascot! We ran him back a bit quick at Kempton.

“We can never crack that Sky Bet Chase with him – he always runs well in it, but it always seems to be a prep for his next run – and it’s not a bad prep if you are winning races like that next time.”

Sandy Thomson has endured a difficult week after Hill Sixteen’s fatal fall at Aintree.

The Berwickshire handler saddles both Empire Steel, who beat Coral Gold Cup Handicap winner Le Milos in the Premier Chase at Kelso last time, and Flower Of Scotland, third in the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh on her penultimate start.

“Empire Steel did it nicely last time and 4lb extra is probably fair enough and he is in very good order,” said Thomson.

“It looks like there is going to be bit of rain on Saturday morning, and that will not do his chances any harm.

“The mare (Flower Of Scotland) is a few pounds out of the handicap and it is quite difficult to find races for her. Obviously Ray (Anderson Green, owner) has won the race twice before and we will just have a go and see.

“She will run a big race, but whether she is quite good enough, we will find out. ”

Paul Nicholls, who first landed the Grade Three prize in 1997 with Belmont King, seeks a fourth success in the race and relies upon Threeunderthrufive and Flash Collonges.

Threeunderthrufive has won four of his nine starts over fences but has been out of luck this term, while Flash Collonges has enjoyed a decent novice campaign, culminating in victory at Newbury on his previous start.

Nicholls said: “I’ve always thought novices have a good record in those races, so Flash Collonges will go for the big one.

“He’s from the family of Neptune Collonges, so he will stay forever and wants good ground, which he is likely to get. I’d give him a bit of a chance.

“I still think Threeunder is too high in the weights. With what he has achieved, I think he’s got 8lb too much. He will love the ground – he doesn’t want it too testing, ground that he’s been running on of late. He’s got a chance.”

Monbeg Genius, a close-up third to Corach Rambler in the Ultima, has obvious claims after a season which has brought three wins from five over fences.

Neil Mulholland wants better ground for Lord Accord than he got in the Kim Muir. He was pulled up, despite quietly fancied by connections in the run-up to that Cheltenham test.

“Things didn’t go according to plan in the Kim Muir. We fancied him to run a big race, but the rain came and turned the ground against him,” said Mulholland.

“He got bogged down and is a much better horse on good ground, which is what we hope he’ll get on Saturday.”

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