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Coral Scottish Grand National: Can Godsmejudge rule again at Ayr?

Godsmejudge is 12/1 with the sponsors to become the first horse in 20 years to land back-to-back successes in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr today (3.50).

The Jimmy Fitzgerald trained Androma completed the double in 194/85, and Godsmedjudge will have bounce back from some disappointing runs if he is to follow in his footsteps.

Alan King’s eight-year-old progressed with every run last season, finishing an excellent second to Rigadin De Beauchene in the Betfred Clasic Chase at Warwick, and a fine third in the 4m National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, before landing this valuable prize 12 months ago.

He jumped really well in last year’s contest, and after taking up the lead at the 20th stayed on strongly from three out to beat Big Occasion by four lengths off a mark of 139.

It was a fine effort for a young horse, and one which marked him out as a potential big player for further success in major staying handicaps this season if continuing on his upward curve.

There was certainly lots to like to like about his reappearance run this season when he finished close up fifth of 13 to Alvarado in the Grade 3 Murphy Group Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, and the winner went on to finish a fine fourth in the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree.

However, things haven’t gone to plan since then and he been pulled-up in two subsequent starts.

A few niggling problems meant that he wasn’t ready in time to take his chance in the Grand National itself, but his handler is now far more happy with his well-being and believes the drying ground will suit.

The son of Witness Box is to be ridden by Aidan Coleman, as his regular partner Wayne Hutchinson is sidelined through injury.

He is certainly not badly handicapped, as he is set to carry just 6lb more than when winning last year.

Other pluses are that he goes into the contest a fresh horse after just three runs this season, and is the right age for the extended 4m contest as 11 of the last 15 winners have been aged between eight and 10.