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Merigo to go round Ayr circuit in contention once again

| 20.04.2012

The 145th renewal of the Scottish Grand National takes place this Saturday, and last year’s runner-up Merigo looks to have a terrific chance of going one better at 6/1.

In a highly competitive field, the 11-year-old’s pedigree in this race in undoubted, with a winning performance in 2010 the prelude to his second place finish in last year’s outing.

His display last year’s Ayr event represented a career-best effort, considering he was 12lb out of the weights as he lined up against this year’s John Smith’s Grand National winner Neptune Collonges.

Now, running from a mark 8lb lower than when he took a runner-up spot in 2011, he looks to have a superb chance of getting amongst the places once again, and appears primed to challenge for a second National success.

His 6/1 odds are of such a generous nature in reaction to an unconvincing first four starts of the season, but a March triumph on the Ayr course signified he is back to his best and hitting peak form at the perfect time.

Trained primarily to have a chance of success in this race, Merigo’s past experience will stand him in good stead in his attempts to overhaul 11/2 favourite Harry The Viking.

Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson’s horse is worthy of a place at the head of the betting, particularly after an impressive second place showing in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in March.

The seven-year-old’s stamina will aid him in his quest, and trainer Paul Nicholls will have added confidence after the horse bested 10/1 chance Ikorodu Road at Doncaster last time out.

Elsewhere, Portrait King has each-way appeal at 8/1, with the grey’s seasonal form suggesting he will go close, should he come to terms with an added 9lb handicap amidst his recent Newcastle victory.

Fruity O’Rooney’s pleasing Cheltenham showing will also attract some punters to take notice of him at 14/1, and the nine-year-old is certain to make the running from the front, but could be found out in the latter stages of the race.



John Klee