Sandy Thomson plans to saddle both Hill Sixteen and The Ferry Master in his bid for an elusive victory in Saturday’s Coral Scottish Grand National.
The Berwickshire-based trainer would dearly love to win Ayr’s four-mile showpiece, having come close on a few occasions in recent years.
“I’ve been second, third and fourth, so it would be great to win one,” said Thomson.
“Dingo Dollar and The Ferry Master were second and fourth last year, Seeyouatmidnight finished third a few years ago (2016).
“It doesn’t appear to have been the luckiest race for us, but hopefully that will change on Saturday.”
The Ferry Master was beaten just over seven lengths in last year’s renewal and returns for another crack from 5lb lower in the weights, having been narrowly beaten as an odds-on favourite on his first start since undergoing wind surgery at Newcastle on his latest appearance.
Hill Sixteen is perhaps not as well handicapped, however, having received a hefty rise for finishing second to Nuts Well in the Premier Chase at Kelso at the start of the month.
“I’m delighted with The Ferry Master. He’d been off the track for a while before Newcastle,” the trainer added.
“We could have done without Hill Sixteen getting 9lb for his run at Kelso. If he’d not run there and been 9lb better off, he’d be a much shorter price, but that’s where we are and we’ll get on with it.
“Both horses go there with a great chance, I think.”
A total of 31 horses were left in the Ayr marathon at Monday’s confirmation stage, with the weights now headed by Shark Hanlon’s Hewick on 11st 12lb.
Christian Williams has two leading contenders in Coral Trophy runner-up Kitty’s Light and Eider Chase winner Win My Wings, while Henry Daly could saddle Ascot scorer Fortescue.
Pat Fahy, who trained Mister Fogpatches to finish third 12 months ago, has this year confirmed Stormy Judge and History Of Fashion.
He said: “I need to have a look at the confirmations and we’ll go from there.
“Distance looks to be History Of Fashion’s forte because he always seems to be doing his best work at the end of a race. He stayed on well up the hill in Naas the last day over three miles and he’s in good form.
“I thought Stormy Judge ran a good race in the Leinster National (finished fifth). We felt he would need it and he kind of jumped himself into the race too early and petered out, but he still stayed on well at the end.”