Out and Out Stayer Sam Looks the Value in Open Contest
First run in 1858, the Scottish Grand National is a Grade 3 Handicap Chase run at Ayr on the west side of Scotland over just short of four miles during which there are 27 fences to negotiate. This year’s edition is set to take place on Saturday at 15:35.
Novices have a good record in the race winning 8 of the last 20 renewals whilst interestingly no winner in the last 20 years has worn blinkers or a visor. Ireland have a shocking record in the race with their last winner in the contest coming way back in 1869! 34 have tried since 2000 all with no success. Here’s my horse-by-horse guide on this year’s Scottish Grand National and a decent 20/1 each-way bet in the summary.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Jockey: Nico De Boinville
Classy type who was impressive in Novices’ Handicap Chase on this day here last year. Shown little in two starts this season and is 7lb higher now. Yet to race beyond 3M so stamina an unknown and his trainer has never won a National of any sort. Sports first-time cheek pieces today.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: A P Heskin
Smart staying novice chaser last season but not reached those heady heights this season in four starts although the handicapper has relented by dropping him 6lb. Jumping let him down in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham where he was some way behind rival Monbeg Genius that day.
Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill
Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jnr.
Lightly raced novice who’s won 3 of his 5 starts over fences. Put up his best effort last time when third beaten 2 1/4L in Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham to subsequent Grand National winner Corach Rambler having led at the last. 5lb higher now and yet to race beyond 3M 1F but looks likely to stay and has been well backed during the week. A major player.
Trainer: Sandy Thomson
Jockey: Ryan Mania
Came late and fast when getting past Le Milos (touched 1.01 in running) over 3M at Kelso last month. Has been raised 4lb for that run. Was runner-up in the Borders National over 3M 2F last season and that’s as far as he’s tried although does shape like an out-and-out stayer.
Trainer: Nick Alexander
Jockey: Bruce Lynn (3)
Has a good record at the West Scotland track with form figures of 3421141 and appeared to improve for the furthest he’s ever run over last time when a cosy 7 1/2L victor of a class 2 Kelso Handicap Chase. Raised just 5lb for that and has each-way claims with any softening of the ground very much in his favour.
Trainer: Christian Williams
Jockey: Jack Tudor
Finished runner-up last year to his stablemate Win My Wings and followed that up with a credible 3rd in the bet365 Gold Cup three weeks later. Brought along quietly this season but landed a gamble at Newcastle last time in the Eider Handicap Chase, when despite jumping sloppily came home 2 1/2L clear of his field. He’s been upped 8lb for that win but can still race off of a mark 3lb lower than last year’s second. Stays well and looks the one to beat although has been well found in the market.
Trainer: Gavin Cromwell
Jockey: Sean Flanagan
Stepped markedly up in trip to 3M 4 1/2F when winning the Ulster National at Downpatrick three weeks ago. Only small, she jumps particularly well and is the youngest in the field at only six years of age. 9lb higher than Downpatrick but improving and not without claims despite Ireland’s poor record in the race. Bids to become the first 6-year-old to win since Earth Summit in 1994.
Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies
Trainer has won this three times in the past. Has the stamina to prove having never raced beyond 3M 2F but did bounce back to form when going down by a neck at Doncaster in the Grimthorpe Handicap Chase last time. Raised 4lb for that run and holds each-way claims if he sees out the trip.
Trainer: Rebecca Curtis
Jockey: Tom Bellamy
Second season chaser who jumped badly left on his re-appearance earlier this month at Ascot when finishing well beaten. Yet to race as far as this and questions to answer now after that lacklustre effort 20 days ago.
Trainer: Neill Mulholland
Jockey: Richie McLernon
Cheltenham winner back in October. Not cut much ice in the last two starts, pulling up in Kim Muir at Cheltenham last time. Has been pulled out twice since due to soft ground so drying conditions would suit. Yet to race beyond 3M 2F so yet another with stamina to prove.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Harry Cobden
Lightly-raced 8-year-old making only his 13th career start. Winner of 3 of his 5 over fences including at Newbury in March when beating Sam Barton by 3L. 4lb higher now and untried beyond three miles. Trainer looking for his fourth winner in the race following Belmont King and Vicente (twice).
Trainer: Stuart Coltherd
Jockey: Sam Coltherd
Best effort this season when winning the Skybet Handicap Chase at Doncaster in January. Was going well when hampered and falling four out in Topham Handicap Chase last time (2m 5F), it was too far out to say where he would have finished but if none the worse for that spill has each-way claims even though he has the stamina to prove.
CAP DU NORD
Trainer: Christian Williams
Jockey: Nick Schofield
Stablemate of favourite Kitty’s Light though is a capable sort himself. Runner up to Coopers Cross in Skybet Handicap Chase at Doncaster prior to winning at Ascot over 3M in February. Ran flat only start since. Unexposed at marathon trips like this and not without a place chance at a big price.
FLASH DE TOUZAINE
Trainer: Liz Doyle
Jockey: Richard Deegan (3)
Won first time out this season at Galway on very soft ground over 2m 6 1/2F. Not shown much in four starts since on very soft ground and has yet to race beyond three miles. Ireland have a poor record in the race and is easily overlooked.
Trainer: Fergal O’Brien
Jockey: Paddy Brennan
This is only the eight-year-old gelding’s ninth career run and fourth over fences. Winner of novice handicap chases at Chepstow in October and December and may have just needed his most recent start when 2nd of 3 at Newbury (first run for 111 days). Yet to race beyond 3M 2F but shapes like a stayer and capable of running well from a nice low weight.
Trainer: Nicky Richards
Jockey: Brian Hughes
Novice who has won two of his four starts over fences this season both at Wetherby. Lightly raced but hasn’t raced beyond three miles so stamina is not guaranteed. Trainer won this two years ago with Takingrisks.
YOUR OWN STORY
Trainer: Lucinda Russell
Jockey: Derek Fox
Novice who’s run consistently well this season in seven races. Stamina guaranteed having won over a furlong shorter than today’s trip at Wetherby on penultimate start. Wasn’t disgraced when runner-up at Haydock in Tim Moloney Handicap Chase to Equus Dancer (pulled up since) over 3m 4 1/2F. Stays very well and the trainer took Grand National last week with Corach Rambler as well as winning this very race in 2021 with Mighty Thunder.
Trainer: John Patrick Ryan
Jockey: Danny Mullins
Trip shouldn’t be an issue having run 3rd over 3M 7F at Punchestown a year ago. Has been well beaten on last two starts however and it’s two years since he last won over fences although he did exploit a lenient handicap mark when winning a handicap hurdle at Kilbeggan last July.
Trainer: Alastair Ralph
Jockey: Alex Edwards
Appeared to show improved form when joining Alastair Ralph from Sophie Leech at Musselburgh in February following a 267-day break winning the Edinburgh National Handicap Chase over just short of today’s trip of four miles by 4 1/4L from Captain Cattistock who won at Cheltenham on Wednesday. The 4th and 5th have also won since to further boost the form. Only raised 5lb and with conditions to suit he looks excellent each-way value off of a lightweight for a trainer who’s been amongst the winners recently. Likes to race prominently.
Trainer: Lucinda Russell
Jockey: Patrick Wadge (5)
Took this race two years ago off of a handicap mark of 144 and races today off of just 125 having dropped 19lb this season for just five starts. Showed some promise last time mind when 5th to Elvis Mail at Kelso beaten 17 1/2L (7lb better off) and if getting his optimum good or drier ground is a lively outsider off of a very nice handicap mark, especially with useful 5lb claiming conditional jockey Patrick Wadge on board.
FLOWER OF SCOTLAND
Trainer: Sandy Thomson
Jockey: Danny McMenamin
Stays very well having won over 4M at Kelso last December. Credible 3rd since to Magna Sam at Musselburgh (1lb better off for 8 1/2L beating) and teed up for this by running third over hurdles back at Kelso. 4lb out of handicap here.
Trainer: Iain Jardine
Jockey: Conor O’Farrell
Chased home Elvis Mail at Kelso last time over 3M 2F, beaten 7 1/2L and 5lb better off today. That form gives him a chance although still has the stamina to prove having not raced beyond 3M 2F. 5lb wrong at these weights.
Trainer: Sue Smith
Jockey: Sean Quinlan
Yet to win over fences in seven starts and is 6lb out of the handicap here. Nothing in his recent starts suggests that he’ll be troubling the judge today.
Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase Tips
The two favourites Monbeg Genius and Kittys Light both appear to have a solid look about them with a slight preference for the latter who ran so well in this race last year and is actually 3lb lower than his mark this time around. He will however need to jump better than when winning the Eider mind but has to be part of the staking plan.
Monbeg Genuius brings the best piece of recent form to the table with his third to Grand National winner Corach Rambler at the Cheltenham Festival although he is unproven at today’s marathon trip.
One horse who does look overpriced currently and has no issues with the four-mile trip is ex-Hunter Chaser Magna Sam who improved for a stable change when winning after an absence at Musselburgh over four miles. Form which has already been well advertised by the subsequent victories of three of those behind him. He looks the value bet in the race.
Lucinda Russell, fresh from last weekend’s Grand National victory, has good chances with not just Your Own Story but also with 2021 winner Mighty Thunder who is worth a small each-way saver as he is so well handicapped at present.
MAGNA SAM 2 points each way @ 20/1 with Betfred 1/5th 12345
KITTYS LIGHT 1 point win @ 9/2 with William Hill
MIGHTY THUNDER 1/2 point each way @ 20/1 with Betfred 1/5th 12345
All odds are accurate at the time of writing
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