Innisfree Lad gets plum Brian Hughes booking for Scottish National

Brian Hughes is a very decent booking for David Dennis' Innisfree Lad in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday, April 2.

David Dennis couldn't have been happier to snap up Champion Jumps Jockey elect Brian Hughes to ride Innisfree Lad in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday, April 2.

Leading Northern jockey Hughes looks uncatchable to take back the Champion Jockey crown but has never won the four mile marathon at Ayr.

Dennis says that the Hughes booking gives his 10-year-old a "good each-way chance" with the jockey having ridden him several times before.

"I spoke to his agent and said we'd be mad keen for him to ride if he was available," said Dennis.

"Thankfully, he rang at the five-day stage and said Brian was available so he can ride him."

The Edgcote based trainer has hinted that his charge may have a tidy weight too.

"The weights went up 10lb at the five-day stage so he's got 10st 11lb now which brings him into the handicap nicely," he said.

"His third in the Eider puts him hopefully bang in there with a good each-way chance."

Indeed, a December third in the Borders National at Kelso in December was good prep even though the ground was more testing than he'll likely get in Scotland.

"He's quite versatile, but he doesn't want heavy ground. It was a bit annoying in Kelso's Borders National. It rained heavily the night before, but he still ran an absolute cracker in that," said Dennis.

"It was just too soft for him in an ideal world. Good to soft, soft would be fine, but if it was heavy I wouldn't be sure he'd run. They are currently good to soft which is perfect."

Meanwhile, the Paul Nicholls-trained Enrilo is likely to swerve Ayr and head for the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on April 23.

"I think we're going to wait for Sandown. We had a look at the race. It's going to be quite competitive," the Ditcheat trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

"Though there are three weeks between the two I think if you travel up there and have a hard race, you're not going to be at your best for Sandown.

"I had a chat with the owners and I think we're going to keep him fresh for that."

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