Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson have once again sent the heavy artillery for the Cheltenham Festival.

Harriet Graham only has the single shot when she aims Aye Right at the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase this afternoon. But then she only has half a dozen to choose from at her yard near Jedburgh in the Borders.

Graham took out a permit to run her point-to-pointers under Rules in 1997 and then graduated to a full licence in April 2004, which she has combined with acting as clerk of the course at Musselburgh and Perth, although she has now swapped Perth for Hamilton.

“The training has always been a second career,” she said, “but I’ve never made any money from doing it.”

Perhaps not but Graham has proved she can find winners for not much money, with Soul Magic costing £800 and winning seven times around Cartmel and Rosalyons  winning five races for an initial outlay of just £500. “Probably nobody else would’ve bought them,” Graham said, a shade modestly, “because Soul Magic didn’t move very well and Rosalyons had a bad stringhalt but they both did very well for us.”

And then there was Scotswell, the homebred who holds a special place for Graham. He won ten times and was enjoying a happy retirement when dying from a heart attack last year. “I saw him into the world and sadly out of it but he gave us so much pleasure,” she said.

Aye Right, bought privately from Distillery Stud in Dumfriesshire as a three-year-old, has given his owner, Geoff Adam, the pleasure of seven wins from just 16 starts including over hurdles at the Scottish National meeting at Ayr last April.

The switch to fences was not an immediate success when Aye Right unseated rider Callum Bewley at Doncaster in December. 
There were only three runners but Sam Spinner blundered in front of Aye Right who was left with nowhere to go, but Bewley was already at the point of no return.

“That’s just the luck of racing” Graham said. “We could’ve got lucky and Callum landed back in the saddle but he got thrown forward and the horse wasn’t there when he came back. I think he might’ve got close that day which is why we decided to go to Cheltenham.”

Mulcahys Hill never got close when Aye Right beat him by 15 lengths in a match at Newcastle five weeks later and he will be Graham’s first Festival runner, attempting to become a first Scottish-trained winner at the meeting since Brindisi Breeze won the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle in 2012.

Henderson runs Champ, named after Sir Anthony McCoy, and the rest of the RSA field comes from some of the biggest yards in Britain and Ireland, meaning that Aye Right is a 40-1 shot.  Graham is a realist but reckons Aye Right can be competitive.

“We’ve only beaten one horse over fences, but a fairly good horse, and fairly comprehensively,” she said. “We tried to run him again but Kelso was off so he’s had a schooling session at Musselburgh.

“He likes to race and he doesn’t like horses going by him – which is a healthy thing to be when you’re a racehorse.

“I think if he was coming out of Nicky Henderson’s yard he wouldn’t be such big odds. It’s a step up and, on paper you look at all these trainers like Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott with 50 runners at the meeting, but why not have a go?

“We all live and we all dream." And sometimes it pays to shoot for the stars.