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Russell aiming for first Scottish Grand National win with Big River

A field of 28 will compete for Saturday's Scottish Grand National at Ayr

Lucinda Russell believes one of her “great hopes” can be fulfilled on Saturday as Big River goes in search of Scottish Grand National glory.

Scotland’s leading jumps trainer won the Grand National in 2017 with One for Arthur.

However, in over 20 years in the business, Russell has never taken first prize at the Ayr showpiece.

“In Big River I think we have a horse that can do it,” Milnathort-based Russell said of the nine-year-old.

“It has always been one of my great hopes to win the Scottish National. It takes a different type of horse to win the Scottish Grand National.

“Because it’s at the end of the season you want to make sure your horse is fresh. Since September we’ve been talking about this race for Big River and not just ‘tacking it on’ at the end of the season.”

Big River finished fourth in last month’s Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, a race won by Beware The Bear, who is Saturday’s top weight and early favourite.

Vintage Clouds, a first-fence faller at Aintree last week and third at Ayr last year, is also among the fancied runners in a 28-strong field.

Dingo Dollar and Crosshue Boy are others at the top of the betting for the four-mile race, while Sandy Thomson’s Geronimo, ridden by Rachel McDonald, is the only other Scottish trained horse in action.

Merigo, winner in 2010 and 2012, was the last home-trained success in the race.

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BBC Sport – Horse Racing

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