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Saturday 10 December 2016

AP McCoy will be seeking to rob Oscar

Tony McCoy. Photo: Tim Ireland/PA Wire.
Tony McCoy. Photo: Tim Ireland/PA Wire.

Tomorrow's Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr will see soon-to-retire champion jockey Tony McCoy going up against his boss JP McManus as he rides in the race for the final time.

When news broke late on Wednesday that McManus had snapped up the Tony Martin-trained Gallant Oscar, it raised the possibility the ante-post favourite could be ideally placed to provide McCoy with the perfect send-off, but he is unable to do the weight of 10st 1lb. As a result, Paul Carberry rides the nine-year-old for the first time.

McCoy is instead on the Paul Nichollls-trained Benvolio, who finished second in the Welsh National earlier in the season but was pulled up in Haydock's Grand National Trial last time out.

"With record prize money up for grabs, it's no surprise a maximum field of 30 have been declared for Scotland's biggest race, and we have the possibility of AP McCoy, in his last Scottish National ride, denying his boss JP McManus victory with his new purchase, or of course, vice versa, should the ante-post favourite oblige," said David Stevens, spokesman for the sponsors.

As many of the runners are at their best when the mud is flying, they may be disappointed when they get to Ayr as the ground is riding just about perfect ahead of the two-day meeting.

Clerk of the course Emma Marley said: "The going is good to soft at present.

"We've had a dry day today and the forecast suggests a dry outlook for the next two days.

"I envisage us starting on good to soft ground, possibly good in places.

"We'll see how it rides on the first day and what the jockeys say and we won't rule out watering if we need to, but we have such a good covering of grass I don't think we'll have to.

"I'm really pleased with the condition we're in to start off with."

Gallant Oscar is among a maximum field of 30 runners.

Nicholls also runs top-weight Sam Winner, the mount of Sam Twiston-Davies. Other major contenders include the Jonjo O'Neill trained-Catching On, David Pipe's Broadway Buffalo and last year's winner Al Co, trained by Peter Bowen.

Man With Van and Drop Out Joe are the last two horses in the final field, with Vintage Star and Carrigdhoun the respective first and second reserves.

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