Merigo became the first Scottish-trained winner of the Scottish Grand National since Cockle Strand in 1982 when he won the race by nine lengths in 2010. He also provided trainer, Andrew Parker, with the biggest success of his career in the colours of long-standing owner Raymond Anderson Green. He went back last season and came within three-quarters of a length of pulling off consecutive victories in the race when he was just denied by Beshabar. He would have been the first horse to win back-to-back Scottish Nationals since Androma back in 1985.
Parker had aimed the horse at the 2011 Grand National but, after falling in the Becher Chase, he did not make the cut for Aintree and was diverted for a second attempt at the Scottish race. A recent victory at Ayr will have sharpened him up nicely and he is sure to be a leading fancy.
Scotland could also have another interesting contender in Lie Forrit, trained in the Scottish Borders by William Amos. He was a high-class hurdler, winning at Cheltenham and Newbury and being very unlucky not to win at Aintree when unseating his rider two hurdles from home. Slight tendon damage forced him to miss most of the 2010 season and he began his chasing career in December with a victory at Kelso. He has had to settle for the runner-up spot in two subsequent races, both unsatisfactory 3-runner affairs. He may be lacking enough jumping experience for a test such as this, but he certainly has the class to make a mockery of his 10st 6lb in the handicap.
Lucinda Russell recently enjoyed her first Cheltenham festival winner to fly the flag for Scotland and she could be represented here by Red Harbour. He was formerly with champion trainer Paul Nicholls and is another who is still making the transition to the bigger obstacles. He won his novice in effortless style at Fontwell in September and has been beaten twice subsequently. His last outing was a commendable effort when second to Masked Man in the Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown when ridden by Lucy Gardner. Red Harbour is currently 8lbs out of the handicap but the weights will rise if early Grand National faller Junior does not take his place in the field.
Paddy Power offer Merigo at 8-1 in the Scottish National betting with Lie Forrit at 12-1 and Red Harbour at 40-1.