Coral’s PR man David Stevens checks in from a glorious Ayr
Since we first put the Coral name to the Scottish Grand National seven years ago, the annual trip to Ayr has become one of the highlights of the year for the Coral PR team. It’s a race that always delivers a story, with Merigo’s win twelve months ago – his second in the race – a great success for owner Ray Anderson Green, arguably the race’s biggest supporter. This year’s pilgrimage began with an early morning flight from Gatwick, but landing in glorious sunshine, my first thought was to check the pilot had gone the right way, and landed at Glasgow rather than Gibraltar, such were the glorious conditions on offer.
The sun may have shone on us, but the punting gods certainly didn’t, there was a well-backed double for Irish trainer James Lambe, well-backed by everyone but us I should add, while the tried and trusted method of ‘lumping on the jolly in the last’ got the reward it deserved as Pure Science trailed in a well beaten fifth. Fortunately the evening saw a change in fortunes, with dinner at the excellent Scotts in Troon Marina, although of course a PR man’s discretion prevents me from revealing any further details of the night’s events.
So to the big day itself, as I write the sun is shining once again, and hopes are high that the crowds will flock through the gates in record numbers, with the added attraction of the Aintree National hero, Auroras Encore, who is bidding to join the select club of runners who have won both races in the same year, a club whose only current member is the legendary Red Rum. An encore for Sue Smith’s charge, ridden by Scotsman Ryan Mania, will raise the roof here later; hopefully my head will have stopped hurting enough by then for me to enjoy those cheers!
PS – want to know what not to back? The Stevens’ cash will be slowing down Monsieur Cadou and Our Mick, apologies to connections in advance.