CONDITIONAL rider Dale Irving is on the move but he still hasn’t too far to commute to his new base from his home in Langholm.
Having left James Ewart recently, he has gone a few miles west across Dumfriesshire to the Carrurtherstown yard of Iain Jardine. Best wishes go to Irving whose big moneyspinner in recent years has been Aristo Du Plessis on whom he has won five races.
IT is great to see two Scottish-trained horses are among the 110 entries for the £1 million Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on April 8. Recent Warwick winner One For Arthur represents Lucinda Russell while Ayrshire handler Ian Duncan has pencilled in his 2015 Eider Chase hero Milborough. The last time a National winner was trained in Scotland was 1979 when Denholm-based John Leadbetter saddled Rubstic to victory.
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There are also a few Scottish-owned entries in the world’s greatest steeplechase. Auroras Encore landed the 2013 renewal for Jim Beaumont and Douglas Pryde and the pair are represented by Maggio. Trained in Ireland by Patrick Griffin, Maggio missed the cut by seven in 2015 and was fourth reserve last year, so hopefully it will be third time lucky. I hear he is set to have his Aintree prep race in the Ivan Straker Memorial Chase at Kelso next week.
Borders couple Paul and Clare Rooney are triple-handed and their entries include Kim Bailey’s The Last Samurai who was such a gallant runner-up last year to Rule The World. Ayr-born Chris Giles is also the co-owner of Paul Nicholls-trained Le Mercurey who took the future Champion Novices’ Chase at Ayr last spring. Fingers crossed there might just be tartan ribbons on the newly-designed Grand National trophy.
AS revealed here, Rachael McDonald is turning professional and she told us at Ayr on Monday she is expecting her conditional licence to be granted shortly. Her talents were again well advertised on Sandy Thomson’s Mcgowan’s Pass who ran a mighty race to finish second in the bumper on his racecourse debut.
DAY two of Musselburgh’s Cheltenham trials today looks another quality card and star names such as Sam Twiston-Davies, Nico de Boinville and Barry Geraghty are just a few of the jockeys in action. The last named will fancy his chances in the 4.10 as Nicky Henderson-trained Cup Final bids to land the race for the second year running.
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