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Rival D'Estruval looks primed to take his chance in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr

Updated: Thursday, 11 Apr 2013 12:01 | Comments

The Ayr highlight is run over a distance of just over four miles
The Ayr highlight is run over a distance of just over four miles

Connections of Coral Scottish Grand National favourite Rival D'Estruval have confirmed the eight-year-old on course for the Ayr marathon on Saturday week.

A major contender for the National Hunt Chase at last month's Cheltenham Festival, Pauline Robson's stable star looked set to play a role in the finish until parting company with amateur Derek O'Connor two fences from the finish.

Immediately after the Festival, Robson's partner and assistant David Parker suggested running Rival D'Estruval in the Scottish National on 20 April would be "too much to ask", but the gelding's current well being has led to a change of heart.

Parker said: "We hadn't really thought beyond Cheltenham, as that had been our target all year.

"He has come out of Cheltenham exceptionally well - much better than we could ever have imagined, to be honest.

"He never lost any condition, he's schooling well and really seems to be thriving at the moment.

"Because of that, we've decided to be positive and at this stage, he's an intended runner in the Scottish National.

"Horses who run in the four-miler at Cheltenham don't have a great record in the Scottish National, but Beshabar was second at Cheltenham before winning at Ayr a couple of years ago.

"The positive for our horse is that he feels great at the moment, so we're keen to give it a go.

"I hope they get some rain between now and Saturday week, which I think they are forecast, so we'll keep our fingers crossed."

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