JAMES Reveley is the beneficiary of Tony McCoy’s injury misfortune after the North Yorkshire rider was chosen to replace the 18-times champion on the well-regarded Nuts N Bolts in today’s Coral Scottish Grand National.
Reveley, who hails from Saltburn, went agonisingly close to winning this four-mile marathon two years ago when Always Right was narrowly beaten by Beshabar and Merigo in a thriller.
Though John Wade’s Always Right is in today’s line-up, there is significant confidence around Nuts N Bolts, who is trained by the formidable Scottish-based pair of Lucinda Russell and Peter Scudamore.
They opted for Reveley after it emerged that McCoy would not be fit to race. He was being detained in hospital for a second night following a sickening fall at Cheltenham on Thursday and could be doubtful for next week’s Punchestown Festival.
“I was really impressed with the way Nuts N Bolts stayed on over three miles at Cheltenham and that gave us the idea to come for this race – he has always been a possible Scottish National horse,” said Russell.
“He’s still a novice, but that’s maybe in his favour and if the ground dries out a bit that will be a boost to his chances.”
History is against Sue and Harvey Smith’s Auroras Encore. No winner of the John Smith’s Grand National has landed a subsequent race since Bindaree added the Welsh National to his Aintree heroics of 2002. That said, the Bingley’s stable Fill The Power is well handicapped and has been regarded as a Scottish National horse for some time by jockey Ryan Mania – even though he is understandably staying loyal to Auroras Encore.
A strong Yorkshire challenge also includes David O’Meara’s Rose Over The Moon and Brian Ellison’s Neptune Equester, who was last seen winning over hurdles at Wetherby last month.
Malton-based Ellison said: “He’s in good form and this has been the plan so because of that we gave him an easy time of it earlier in the season.
“He’ll stay, I’ve no doubt about that, but the ground is an issue. He goes through heavy, but I wouldn’t want it to be tacky.”
Trainer Nicky Henderson hopes for a drying weekend after confirming Sprinter Sacre an intended runner in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase at Punchestown on Tuesday. The seven-year-old is unbeaten in nine starts over fences following victories in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham before stepping up in trip to land the John Smith’s Melling Chase at Aintree.
“His work has been good and everything is tickety-boo with him,” said Henderson, this season’s champion trainer. “Barry (Geraghty) sat up on him yesterday and said that he felt great.”