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Connections are expecting a big run from Red Marauder, who makes his long-awaited return to action at Ayr on Saturday.

Norman Mason's charge, who has been off the course through injury since winning the First National Bank Gold Cup Chase at Ascot in 1998, is set to take his chance in the Bagpipes Handicap Chase.

Mason's assistant Richard Guest, who will also ride the gelding on Saturday, confirmed: "He goes to Ayr on Saturday.

"He's as fit as a fiddle, fitter than we've ever had him first time up and we're hopeful. He's ready to do his job and as long as we don't get any bad luck I think he'll win."

The 10-year-old could step up in class at Kempton next month if he is successful at the Scottish course.

"He'll probably run in the Racing Post Chase if he wins on Saturday but we'll get Saturday out of the way first," Guest added.

Red Marauder is unbeaten in four races over fences, culminating in his 11-length defeat of Chief's Song at Ascot 14 months ago.