Horse Betting: Scottish National Handicap
Merigo is a thorough stayer that won this race in 2010 and second last year.
The four-mile Scottish National Handicap Chase is the feature race in Ayr's jumping calendar, and Timeform has put together its runner-by-runner guide.
Junior was better than ever when chasing home Ikorodu Road at Doncaster last month. Not ideal preparation when falling at the second in Grand National and this very much an afterthought.
Benny Be Good enjoyed a good season over hurdles/fences. On the go a long time, however, and last two runs suggest he may be feeling the effects, while step up to 4m is also a concern.
Walkon has taken well to fences on the whole, acquitting himself with credit when third in RSA Chase last time. However, that looked the limit of his stamina that day and even further to travel here.
Knockara Beau has posted several solid efforts in defeat this term, including when mid-field in Gold Cup last time. Rarely puts in a clear round of jumping, though, and no hiding place in this big field.
Fruity O'Rooney is a front runner that scaled new heights when runner-up in a 3m Grade 2 handicap at Cheltenham last month. Longer trip an unknown, but no reason to think he won't give it another good shot.
Galaxy Rock produced an improved effort when landing a 27f Cheltenham handicap in November. Recent third over hurdles confirms him in good heart, but further progress required if he is to play a major role.
Harry The Viking has a tremendous strikerate over jumps. Confirmed stamina for this test when runner-up in NH Chase at Cheltenham and major player with further progress not out of the question.
Auroras Encore took advantage of a drop in the weights when scoring over 2½m at Haydock last time, but fell at the first in 2010 renewal of this race and career best needed off a 9 lb higher mark.
Ikorodu Road has been skillfully coaxed back to best this term, winning staying handicaps at Doncaster and Newbury last month. Longer trip within reach, but vulnerable to better treated rivals now.
Portrait King has been on the up since stamina drawn out over fences this term, landing Punchestown Grand National and Eider Chase in February. More required to lift this, but remains very much unexposed.
Garleton is a bold-jumping front runner that recorded a personal best when back on the scoreboard at Newcastle last month. However, has looked a blatant non stayer on 3 previous tries over this far.
Quentin Collonges is on a workable mark judged on his Doncaster (3m) win in February. Similar form when placed either side of that, but this a completely different test to what he has faced thus far over fences.
Merigo is a thorough stayer that won this race in 2010 and second last year. Back in top form when winning at this venue last month and easy to make a strong case for him from a handicapping viewpoint.
Mostly Bob won at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, but struggles for consistency. Let down by jumping in Kim Muir at that track last month and others better treated, even if he cuts out the mistakes.
Be There In Five has a patchy record over fences, his third in last season's NH Chase undoubtedly the highlight. Shaped as if a return to 4m would suit in Kim Muir last time, so not ruled out if everything drops right.
Any Currency has produced several creditable efforts since last win in 2009. Handily weighted as a result and extra stamina demands right up his street, so no surprise if he was thereabouts.
Our Island has not managed to add to hurdling wins over fences this term, though often highly tried. Yard in better form than when laboured eighth in NH Chase last time, but bit to prove all the same.
Pettifour showed he was no back number when twice placed over hurdles after a long absence in November, but lost his way since and badly let down by jumping on previous tries over fences.
Mac Aeda surpassed his hurdles form switched to chasing this season, relishing return to 25f when scoring again at Wetherby in February. Flopped since, though, and 2 lb out of the weights on this occasion.
Abbeybraney has got back on track with a couple of thirds for this yard in recent weeks. Probably possesses enough stamina for this test, but up against it from 4 lb out of the weights.
King Fontaine looked a chaser going places when reeling off a 4-timer in 2010, but wheels come off since. Hard to support as a result, despite more encouraging signs over hurdles last time.
Ballyfitz is a thorough stayer that is normally plodding on when others have had enough, doing so again when third in Midlands Grand National last time, but this tougher still from 8 lb out of the weights.
Captain Americo hasn't run a bad race all season, filling frame for sixth time when fourth in Eider Chase in February, but another that looks booked for a struggle from 8 lb out of the weights.
Etxalar ought to relish this marathon trip, but poor jumping responsible for his losing sequence, falling again at Haydock recently, and not difficult to look elsewhere.
Heez A Steel was fifth in this race last year, but well below best this term and prospects look bleak from miles out of the weights in a much stronger renewal.
Harry The Viking is one of the least exposed in the field and deserves favouritism on the back of his NH Chase second last time, but even he could struggle to handle 2010 winner Merigo, which is thrown in on his second in this race last season and arrives in much better heart this time round. Any Currency makes the most appeal of the long shots.