Iain Jardine believes Cool Mix has plenty in his favour as he bids to become the latest home-trained winner of the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday.
In striking gold 12 months ago, Lucinda Russell’s Mighty Thunder provided Scotland with its first victory in the four-mile showpiece since Merigo’s second success for Andrew Parker in 2012.
Cool Mix, trained in Dumfries, is part of a strong Scottish team this year, with Sandy Thomson’s pair of Hill Sixteen and The Ferry Master and Strong Economy from Ian Duncan’s yard also in contention.
“Of course it would be brilliant to win it,” said Jardine.
“Scottish trainers have won it before obviously, including Lucinda Russell last year.
“It would be great to have it on the CV, for sure.”
Cool Mix won over hurdles at the 2018 Scottish Grand National meeting and was beaten just over eight lengths into fifth place by Mighty Thunder in the big race last year.
The 10-year-old returns 6lb lower in the weights, less Alan Doyle’s 7lb claim, despite some fine efforts in defeat so far this season.
Jardine added: “We’re looking forward to him running anyway. We’ll see how he gets on.
“A National is a National and any of them can win, but we’ve got our horse in good form, the ground will suit him and this seems to be his time of year.
“He’s run with credit on every run this year, he’s very consistent and he’s at the right end of the handicap, so fingers crossed.
“We’re hoping for a good run and as long as he comes back safe and sound, that’s the main thing.”
The Scottish-trained quartet are part of a field of 24 runners declared for Saturday’s Ayr marathon.
Christian Williams fires a twin assault, with Jack Tudor partnering ante-post favourite Kitty’s Light and leading Irish amateur Rob James booked to partner Eider Chase victor Win My Wings.
Irish hopes are carried by Pat Fahy’s pair of Stormy Judge and History Of Fashion, as well as the John McConnell-trained Streets Of Doyen.
Other leading contenders include Ashtown Lad (Dan Skelton), Major Dundee (Alan King), Fantastikas (Nigel Twiston-Davies) and The Wolf (Olly Murphy).
The Wolf, who carries the colours of the McNeill family, was narrowly beaten when stepped up to almost four miles for the first time in the Edinburgh National on his latest appearance.
“This has been the target for him all season, pretty much,” Max McNeill told Sky Sports Racing.
“We wanted to see if he’d get the trip in the Edinburgh National and he ran a cracker there.
“The only thing about The Wolf is he keeps making mistakes, which have cost him in all three of his races this season.
“He’s run well in defeat, but he’s a quirky horse! If he can get everything right, we think he’s got a right chance on Saturday.”