Can anyone stop Willie?

Saturday 20th April, 3:35pm

Macdermott @ 7/1
Git Maker @ 7/1
Mr Incredible @ 8/1
Spanish Harlem @ 8/1
view odds

*prices correct at time of writing. 

Here’s a stat for British jump racing to hang onto while it can: there has never been an Irish-trained winner of the Scottish Grand National (3-35) at Ayr, and even at the race’s previous home (until 1965), up the road at Bogside, you have to go back to 1860-something to find the trophies going west.

However, after the success of I am Maximus focussed Willie Mullins’ attention on the British trainers’ championship, he chases the first-prize of just over £112,000 – and money down to eighth place – with up to six runners. Mullins has rarely saddled a runner at Ayr, and never a winner, unlike his title-race rivals Paul Nicholls and Dan Skelton both of whom are due to be represented in the four-miler.

Keep an eye on drying conditions for plenty of these including Team Mullins’ unexposed, Macdermott which won on heavy last time at Fairyhouse, when not always the slickest of jumpers. He leads the most formidable of challenges from Closutton, of which moody old Mr Incredible is best known, a week after being slightly luckless when depositing his rider on the turf at Aintree.

Paul Townend has sided with Spanish Harlem, a novice, but traditionally this is a good race for competitors on the up. On this better ground than the heavy on which he was sixth in Ireland’s Grand National, We’llhavewan could go well, albeit from just out of the handicap. Anglers Crag has been a revelation and his new weight level looks manageable.

Git Maker almost always gives a run for money and has the most eye-catching piece of form having finished clear runner-up behind subsequent Grade One winner Inothewayurthinkin at Cheltenham (Whacker Clan third). Stay Away Fay, representing Paul Nicholls, has some convincing to do off topweight.

The Lucinda Russell-trained Inis Oirr impressed when front-running at Musselburgh, for which he went up a stone. Ballygriffincottage, for the Skeltons, is quite nicely weighted. Beauport stays resolutely, as demonstrated at Uttoxeter when beating Mr Incredible, the redoubtable My Silver Lining and Autonomous Cloud. The more examining the challenge the better for Mr Vango. Elvis Mail enjoys Ayr and the stable is going great guns.

At Newbury, the Greenham Stakes (2-40) looks open and includes Ballymount Boy, which ran Vandeek close(ish) at Goodwood before winning a Listed race.

Newmarket stables were quiet at the Craven meeting, and although that will clearly change soon, in the old Fred Darling (2-05) I’m looking hard at Star Music, from a Lambourn stable positively humming along.

Lincoln third Navagio was luckless enough at Doncaster to think that, off the same mark, he can make amends in the Spring Cup (3-15).

On a frantic day don’t miss Bangor’s novices’ handicap hurdle (3-25) in which Balhambar lines up for the first time since a taking Ludlow success.

Although Willie Mullins is throwing plenty at the race – and indeed the day – that Cheltenham second makes it Git Maker for me – what about you?

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