Montero to do National service for Hughes
The Dessie Hughes-trained Montero features among a maximum field of 30 runners in the Coral Scottish Grand National tomorrow.
After winning three of his first four starts over fences, the eight-year-old son of Pistolet Bleu reverts to the larger obstacles on the back of two moderate performances in handicap hurdles.
Halcon Genelardais has been given some relief from the handicapper since finishing seventh in the Welsh National in December and his trainer Alan King is hoping a break has freshened up his 10-year-old.
King said: "He was second in the race two years ago off a 19lb higher mark and he has been dropped 7lb since his last run in the Welsh National at Chepstow in December. Obviously, he is not getting any younger and he is still towards the top of the handicap, but he seems in good form at home and he enjoyed his spell out hunting."
Howard Johnson's Killyglen will carry top-weight of 11st 12lb in the Ayr race having finished second in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster last time.
Ante-post favourite Poker De Sivola takes his chance for Ferdy Murphy, who is looking for his fourth win in the race having previously been successful with Paris Pike (2000), Joes Edge ('05) and Hot Weld ('07).
Paul Nicholls is represented by the strongly fancied Meanus Dandy, while last year's runner-up Gone To Lunch bids to go one better for Jeremy Scott. Himalayan Trail bids for his third successive win and Scots Dragoon is an interesting contender for Nicky Henderson.
Chief Dan George is an expected absentee, while others which have been taken out include Air Force One, Ballyfoy and the Tony Martin-trained duo of Lochan Lacha and Hold The Pin. Fine By Me is 31st in the list and is the reserve runner.