Scottish Grand National

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Photo: John Grossick

The first blog for a few weeks and possibly the last one focused on jumps as the flat season starts to get underway. Overall, and despite being in a bit of deficit, it has been a decent NH season for my blog with some decent winners put up on here. Hopefully I can keep the trend going on the flat. I do think I’ve got the field for the Scottish National down to two. Have a read below and good luck.

3:55 Ayr The Scottish Grand National

A race that I’ve had a good few winners of, notably VICENTE last year and MERIGO’s second win. Without doubt it’s a cracking race and the ground should be on the good side by the off. You need a smooth travelling horse in this race and a horse that has proven stamina. Generally, those horse with higher weights on their back don’t do as well, although VICENTE bucked the trend last year. I still think a lot of the smarter horses are up there and will a good race. ARPEGE D’ALENE is Nicholls best chance and he runs as if he could stay 5 miles. If he is on song and crucially jumps well he has a cracking chance. Last year’s winner just hasn’t looked the same horse this year and I have to look over him. However, Trevor Hemming’s second string VINTAGE CLOUDS has a great chance for me. He has run consistently all year and most definitely stays. He went into my notebook when third to VIEUX LION ROUGE at Haydock and it was the way he stayed on that suggested he would benefit from a marathon trip. He was again looking to stay on at the festival when he fell. The ground and the track should suit. My main bet though is on DANCING SHADOW. He won the Edinburgh National at ease at Kelso in February on good ground. He was never travelling at Cheltenham and it makes me wonder if they ran him like that to limit his mark for this. He was so smooth at Kelso, his jumping tidy and he travelled like a dream. That style will suit him in today’s race and if he is in the top 6 or 7 coming round the bend I would fancy him to stay on up to the line. He has a good jockey booking with Nick Scholfield. The last time Victor Dartnall sent him this far north he won. He has another cracking chance.

2:45 Ayr Scottish Champion Hurdle

You most definitely need a bit of class to win this despite it being a limited handicap. Some of the horses running in this are handicap class whereas others are certainly graded horses. Of the handicappers TOMMY SILVER will love the ground, I put him up at Cheltenham but he wasn’t good enough, yet he won well last week and carries penalty. CHESTERFIELD finally came good last time too and is worth considering. On to the graded types and the likely winners; WINTER ESCAPE was my selection at the festival and he ran a great race from his lay off. That will have set him up nicely and he could quite easily take this. I’m not convinced by his price though, there has to be more value. SCEAU ROYAL is another smart horse and has two wins on good ground under his belt this year. The last twice he has come up against some top competition in YANWORTH and BEVEUR D’AIR, running creditably. This is easier and he also has an apprentice taking a massive 10lbs off his back which potentially put his graded class down to a weight of the handicappers. I can’t sniff at that or at the price when writing. He is a class horse and could run a big race.

3:40 Newbury Spring Cup Handicap

PACIFY was a horse I followed on a couple of occasions last year. He has been running at a mile and a quarter but has also won over this trip. He really caught my eye when doing some of his best work in the closing stages at York last May when beaten by NAYEL. He went up 3lbs for that and something had to be amiss in the Wolfreton Handicap when he was last out. He never ran a race and was tailed off and hasn’t been since. I think he is a class above this and could turn into a Listed performer this year. He is a huge price based on last year’s exploits and it could be worth following him regardless of today. What a price he is though. I can see him going from the front and using that extra bit of stamina he has.

4:05 Racing UK in HD Handicap Thirsk

SCUZEME went straight into my notebook when running on last time out at Nottingham over 5f. He returns pretty quickly off the same mark today in a better grade. He looks a decent sort and the way he ran on when he got going suggests he has the speed for this. He just couldn’t get out in time to peg back the winner. Hopefully today he can get out and go on and stamp his authority on this.

Selections:

£2.50 ew DANCING SHADOW 3:55 Ayr 40-1 William Hill

£2.50 ew VINTAGE CLOUDS 3:55 Ayr 16-1 William Hill

£5 win SCEAU ROYAL 2:45 Ayr 9-1 Paddy Power

£5 win PACIFY 3:40 Newbury 28-1 SportingBet

£5 win SCUZEME 4:05 Thirsk 3-1 William Hill

Staked £360

Returns £332.50

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Scottish National and Newbury

We start with another fab photo courtesy of Fran (@Riosrider)
 
Last week was a disaster for the blog with not one of my selections placed. You win some you lose more is what I think in this game! I was chuffed with how Mon Parrain ran in the National and I think he has a big handicap in him next year. The best news for all of us connected to racing was that the old stalwart BALTHAZARS KING got up ok and being clattered when falling. Fantastic work by all at Aintree who looked after him and treated him. On to today and a cracking Saturday with the Scottish National and Champion Hurdle and some super flat racing from Newbury. Sit back and enjoy today it should be ace!
The twitter gamble this week is :
@Fernando_RFC2 ROMSDAL 1345 NEWBURY
@LiamKenniford SEGO SUCCESS 1545 AYR
@Tonythetyke UEUETEOTL 1625 AYR
@DazGilbert1 HARWOODS VOLANTE 1815 THIRSK
Here are my selections for today :
 
RAZ DE MAREE 1545 AYR (nap) EW (PU = -£5.00)
This guy ran a cracker last time in the Midlands National and went straight into my notebook. He was beaten 9l by GOONYELLA that day and he will stay this trip again today. He was giving GOONYELLA 5lbs in weight that day and he has also been dropped two pounds in the ratings to a mark of OR136 and is now in receipt of 7lbs from GOONYELLA, effectively making him 12lbs better off. This is a better race but I think it was decent form in the Midlands National. Bryan Cooper gets on well with him and has won 5 times on him and he is just 4lbs higher thsn his last winning mark now and only needs a little improvement to run a cracker here. With five places being offered I have to make him an each way selection – although I do think he has a really good winning chance too! I also like the chance of SEGO SUCCESS too, he has a similar prodile to GODSMEJUDGE and ran really well at Warwick earlier in the year. He could bounce back from a disappointing run at the festival.
 
IRVING 1435 AYR (nb) (PU = -£5.00)
This is another cracking race. SIGN OF VICTORY looked a smart horse when destroying the field on the bridle in Ascot back in November and the ground hasn't helped him since. He has the ground today but he looked very subdued at Wincanton last time. GASSIN GOLF almost gave us a big priced win on the blog in the Imperial Cup and he has since won; this I think is too hard though. IRVING has always been a smart horse and showed this when winning the Fighting Fifth and having ARCTIC FIRE 4 lengths behind is smart form. They missed the champion hurdle for this and he has a great chance.
 
DICK WHITTINGTON 1450 NEWBURY (treble) (unplaced = -£5.00)
He has some very smart form from last year and has won on this ground today and soft. His best bit of form which will put him in good stead for today is when he beat KOOL KOMPANY last August in the Group 1 Pheonix Stakes. KOOL KOMPANY won the Craven on Thursday off a mark two pounds lower than my selections today. He has to have a big chance and I think he's overpriced!
 
HIGHLAND COLORI 1525 NEWBURY (unplaced = – £5.00)
He has been dropped to a very nice mark and is now 9lbs lower thsn his last winning mark and 2lbs lower than his last winning mark in a handicap class like this when he beat LOUIS THE PIOUS. He has been running in better races than this and his form has suffered because of that. He's back in a class that truely reflects his ability and he has form on ground like todays. He could run a cracker at a big price – each way selection too!
 
My Dad's selections are :
 
Standings
Father 10-9 Son
Profit
Father -£62.13
Son £111.71
 

Scottish National

myWPEdit Image

Here we go again! The second big National within a week and to go with it a cracking card at Newbury featuring the Greenham. The blog produced a few inners last week with my nb COURT MINSTREL going in at 16-1 and WHISPER at 4-1. Not to let the ship down my dad came good with LAC FONTANA 9-2 and BALDER SUCCES 7-2. Hope you followed. I have opened a bit of a profit gap up with my dad as you can see below due to COURT MINSTREL.

On to today and the selections are below :

JACOB CATS 1530 NEWBURY (NAP) – (unplaced -£5.00) he looked a decent handicapper a few years ago when under the care of Richard Hannon Snr. Judged on that form he has dropped to a very appealing handicap mark and is albs lower than his last handicap success. Has moved yards and from a high draw with Hanagan on board I think he has a cracking chance at a big price.

TIDAL BAY 1550 AYR (NB) – (unplaced -£5.00) I know, I know – he’s not my nap, but that shows how much I fancy my nap today! I was gutted last week when he was effectively brought down. He is chucked in again off this mark making most of the others run out of the handicap. He has to give albs to his nearest rival is rating 19lbs higher too. He’s the class horse, he will stay and the trainer said he was bouncing this week. The ground should be sort enough and even if it fires a little he has success on good to soft! Come on my boy! I’m also throwing a few pence at YES TOM too. He ran out an impressive winner on his debut for the yard and his record at Ayr reads 2,2,2,1,4,1,2,3,3. Mr Carberry comes over to ride and he has to have a cracking chance too.

J WONDER 1420 NEWBURY (TREBLE) – (WON 4-1 = £12.50) this filly really caught my eye last year when drawing away from the field at Newmarket with MIDNITE ANGEL. They demolished that lot and then she ran behind LUCKY KRISTALE in the Lowther and never got into it in conditions that were probably too fast. She is a sister to CHACHAMAIDEE who developed late and this second season could see some real improvement and I’m chancing her to turn over AL THAKHIRA.

KINGMAN 1455 NEWBURY (WON 15-8 = £5.86) this is a cracking Greenham and should be a proper Guineas trial with a lot of the top contenders opposing each other. My selection looked every bit a class horse last year and for me I think there will be even more to come from him in the classic year, starting today. I’m fascinated to see how ASTAIRE runs over 7f as he was very good last year. LAT HAWILL won easily last time and takes a big step up and I may have had a bit on him but for Frank being in the saddle. Knowing him he will leave the horse with too much to do. Sit back and enjoy!

COURT MINSTREL 1440 AYR (2nd – 8-1) did us a favour last week and despite a alb penalty he has to have a chance but MY TENT OR YOURS is similar to the Tidal Bay scenario – he is the class horse, however giving that weight over shorter will effect him more in my opinion and it may set it up for the MINSTREL to come late again!

My Dad’s selections are:

ASTAIRE 1455 NEWBURY (unplaced -£5.00)

MONTBAZON 1440 AYR (unplaced -£5.00)

VALCO DE TOUZAINE 1515 AYR (unplaced -£5.00)

GREEN FLAG 1550 AYR (unplaced -£5.00)

Running totals

FATHER 6-8 SON

Profit

FATHER £47.42

SON £129.66

Ayr Gold Cup Day

Before we start today a little something to whet your appetite for the future
 
 
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON…………….. (Watch this blog for more)
 
So, on to today. What a feast of action we have today. I love nothing better than trying to solve the puzzle of a big field in a competitive handicap! Today we have two of them! Yep, it's Ayr Gold Cup day and the Bandit is more than excited! Hopefully I've found a couple below to give me a run for my money. All the best if you're having a flutter today. If you can pick the Silver and Gold Cup double you are a serious racing person, or damn lucky : )
 
MASS RALLY 1550 AYR (nap) – (unplaced) this old dog finally got his nose infront last year in the Silver Cup. He has gone up 10lbs since then but he has been running really well and up to that mark. Defeating NOCTURN at York in May on good to soft got the ball rolling and then he finished a head second to JACK DEXTER in the CHIPCHASE STAKES (Group 3) on good to soft at Newcastle off level weights. My selection has a 5lb pull with JACK DEXTER today and that for me is the clincher. You need a group horse to win a race like this and I don't think he's far off that. He is also drawn 21 with all his key rivals around him. Paul Mulrennan knows his quircks and how to deliver him with that late, last minute surge! He'll still need a bit of luck though! I also like the chances of GABRIELS LAD, who is ace on soft. SPINATRIX is too big a price and HASOPOP has a sniff judged on his Ascot win from earlier in the year.
 
FIRST MOHICAN 1405 AYR (nb) – (unplaced) made an impressive start to the season at York. Despite a couple of decebt runs over the pond in France he has yet to score again. Soft ground is key to this oneand he seems to be a different animal on it.
 
GANDALAK 1440 AYR (treble) – (unplaced) what a race this is too! My horse made all when taking two races earlier in the year at Newcastle and Musselburgh. He has since struggled but has winning form on heavy ground so should love the ground. If he bolts out they may not catch him. David Bergin andt he trainer teamed up for me with a similar kind of ride on MONT RAS at York and I reckon they can do it again here! THUNDERBALL is a big danger and I have an inckling that CHOOSEDAY could run a big race with an eye catching jockey booking.
 
AZAGAL 1515 AYR – (unplaced) won two races earlier in the year including beating my 50-1 wonder horse TWEETY PIE at Thirsk. She then ran well in behind J WONDER and MIDNITE ANGEL at Newmarket, and that race was hot! She was then pitched in against LUCKY KRISTALE in the Lowther and ran creditably. She caught my eye again last week when getting pipped by MORNING POST at Doncaster. She can take this today for connections who won this two years ago with ROGER SEZ.
 
KINGSGATE NATIVE 1530 NEWBURY – (3rd – 12-1) I have to have him today despite his top weight and slower ground. However, he's like a Porsche being put in a race against some VW Golf's. He will win this today, but that is my heart talking over my head ; )
 
Good luck if you're having a flutter and enjoy!
 
BLOG STATS :

Naps 43/207 = 21%
Wins 174/1041 = 16.7%
Placed 273/1041 = 26.2%

Win and Placed = 43%

@Tweet_Naps overall record. Click the link. All Time Profit/Loss currently +£61.83

Sunday treble

Well Saturday threw up a couple of crackers and I very nearly had a big one. I had ES QUE LOVE (16-1 – 2nd) and TWEETY PIE (50-1 – WON) in an each way Lucky 15. It was a very good return but at one point my other horse HANOVERIAN BARON was cruising and the apprentice jockey waited too long and the gap closed!! Anyway, haven't had a 50-1 winner since I picked AKILAK over hurdles over 6 years ago!
 
Lets see if I can keep it going tomorrow and I've got my eye on another big one!
 
CARAVEL 1615 MARKET RASEN (nap) – (unplaced) is back to a winning mark and more importantly this horse loves quick ground. The weather this weekend will have surely quickened things up at Market Rasen. The jockey takes a few off too and ground is everything to this horse so ignore recent runs.
 
LIGHT ROSE 1630 AYR (nb) – (unplaced) this filly ran well last time at Newbury proving her run before that there was something amiss. She had a long break from that and last week's run will have sharpened her up and she'll love the ground.
 
IT'S MY TIME 1500 AYR (treble) – (unplaced) this horse I reckon will love this extended trip and has been running pretty well including when winning at Chester. Progressive type for this trainer.
 
 
BLOG STATS :

Naps 41/189 = 21.7%
Wins 168/949 = 17.7%
Placed 251/949 = 26.4%

Win and Placed = 44.1%

@Tweet_Naps overall record. Click the link. All Time Profit/Loss currently +£61.33

Saturday selections

This photo was taken last year of MERIGO before he won the Scottish National. It oozes class doesn't it – he is saying look at me! Shame the old boy isn't back this time to try again – hope he has a long and enjoyable retirement. On to today renewal it's another cracking race and there are a few with a serious chance. Enjoy the day and I hope I can find a few winners on the blog.
 
MONSIEUR CADOU 1550 AYR (nap) – (PU) I selected this horse last time out and he won confortably at Haydock. That is a stiff track and so is this, that day he was ridden superbly and crept into the race from the back. That style should suit again today, the drying ground will also play into his strengths. H has gone up 12lbs for that win but I think that is fair and I have always thought he is a smart horse. 8 year olds have a good record in this with 7 out of the last 14 winners being that age. He is also weighted well too. RIVAL D'ESTRUVAL was running a cracker at the festival when falling but I think he has too much weight today.
 
VIVA RONALDO 1810 THIRSK (nb) – (unplaced) this horse is dropping to a class 5 race for the first time. He is back to a winning mark again and if the claiming jockey can get hmi out of the stalls this time he has a fantastic chance.
 
MAUREEN 1455 NEWBURY (treble) – (WON – 7-2) looked a fantastic filly with a bright future last year when winning the Princess Margaret at Royal Ascot. She never really got into the Cheveley Park on her last start. I can't see RODSHU QUEEN staying here so I'm opting for my girl to reverse the form and run to her true ability.
 
TAP NIGHT 1405 AYR – (2nd – 11-8) three out of three here and ran well behind CAPTAIN CONAN last time at Aintree. If he produces that form again he will be very hard to beat.
 
COURT MINSTREL 1440 AYR – (WON – 4-1) raised 10lbs for his impressive win last time. Transferred smart bumper form to hurdles first time out and he hopefully can progress a little more and take this.
 
ES QUE LOVE 1420 NEWBURY – (unplaced) proved me right last week when I tipped him up to improve over a mile. Goes again today off a slightly higher turf mark (3lbs more). Effectively not had a rise from last weeks win. Drawn high amd Buick on board too – has another good chance today. Each way the sensible option.
 
BLOG STATS :

Naps 36/162 = 22.2%
Wins 150/812 = 18.5%
Placed 217/812 = 26.7%

Win and Placed = 45.2%

@Tweet_Naps overall record. Click the link. All Time Profit/Loss currently +£61.33
 

Imperial Cup Day

I have to start todays blog with the horse that won big for the blog on here last Saturday, PACHA DU POLDER (courtesy of Getty Images). His win made it two big winning Saturday naps on the trot, with OPENING BATSMAN wining the week before. I also had a nice winning nap yesterday with HANOVERIAN BARON. I'm hoping therefore I am getting a good position ready for the festival next week. Lets hope I can keep the Saturday trend going today! To be honest the racing is a bit average today and is obviously playing second fiddle to the events at Prestbury Park next week. I hope I've picked a few out though.
 
ALVARADO 1440 SANDOWN – (nap) (REF) he is only 4lbs higher today than when winning at Wetherby in October. He defeated PIGEON ISLAND that day and had subsequent winner EASTLAKE well behind. I hoping the stiff finish here, similar to Wetherby's finish will play to his strengths.
 
MR MOLE 1515 SANDOWN – (nb) (PU) is still on a good mark and the significance of Paul Nicholls sending him here with the ground turning in his favour is a real plus. He has solid form and he defeated MELODIC RENDEZVOUS back in October. Huge chance!
 
EDMUND KEAN 1405 SANDOWN – (treble) (3rd – 9-2) I napped him on his reappearance when he won easily at Fakenham earlier this year. A facile success followed and he is unexposed and good be a very good horse. Again the ground seems to have gone in his favour. I had a good day in this race last year when tipping AMBION WOOD, this guy won't be the same price as that but he is a similar type.
 
MIAS BOY 1455 WOLVERHAMPTON – (4th – 17-2) has been running well in defeat this season and is now 6lbs better off than when he was third in this last year. George Baker rides him for his only ride of the day and I think the fast paced battle between LOYALTY and GUEST OF HONOUR will set up the right pace for him to attack off.
 
SKYTRAIN 1715 WOLVERHAMPTON – (2nd – 15-8) made all last time over 7 furlongs and it seemed to be the right distance to get the best out of him. More to come and he should take this.
 
MOLLY'S A DIVA 1550 SANDOWN – (WON 17-2) won battling on heavy on her first start on heavy ground and then followed that up with another solid success last time out at Huntingdon. Could be dangerous on this ground.
 
KENNY POWERS 1420 WOLVERHAMPTON – (2nd – 9-4) is a course and distance winner who has been running well at Meydan and should be sharp and fit and should take this.
 
DO IT FOR DALKEY 1525 AYR – (WON 100-30) conditions will be perfect for this one and two recent good runs in second will have set him up nicely for this. His second last,time to COOL OPERATOR is solid form, COOL OPERATOR defeated RIGADIN DU BEAUCHENE prior to that and we know what he did after that!
 
So, those are my selections for today. Hopefully I can keep this good trend going. I will be putting an in-depth blog up every night prior to the Festival days and will do an analysis of each horse I fancy in each race. Can't wait! Good luck today if you're betting and remember to do so within your means.
 

My Best Three for Friday

Just a quick blog as three really stand out for me on Friday. Here's hoping that they come good. Have been a bit quiet on the napping front this week after last Saturday's success. Think I've got a good one here though with a solid form chance.
 
HANOVERIAN BARON 1910 WOLVES (nap) – (WON – 9-2) split Loyalty and ROBIN HOOD'S BAY last time out. Both have since won again, the latter beating SPIFER the other day. He goes well fresh and has had a good break since that run.
 
CHAPEL HOUSE 1610 LEICESTER (nb) – (PU) won this race last year and is another horse in my opinion who has been craving the better ground. With at least ggod to soft ground forecast, has a great chance.
 
EVERAARD 1510 AYR (treble) – (PU) won well the other week when I napped him. Is in a higher grade but is effectively a few pounds well in, normally knocks up a few wins this time of year and this could be another.
 
So, those are my best three. Good luck if you're having a flutter yourself!
 

Ayr Gold Cup day

I really do enjoy big handicap races, as a betting spectacle they are so tough and the bookies must make a fortune. Yet trying to pick a winner in a 27 runner field is one hell of a job but I love the challenge. Lets hope the ones I've picked come in today! I have to stick with the old boy BORDERLESCOTT today who won well for me the other week in the Beverley Bullet. He's a class horse and looked like he had a bit more in hand that day, you have to follow a sprinter in form! The jump season isn't far away now and can't wait for it to start! There is still some class flat races to go yet though. Enjoy the racing today and I hope I get you a few winners.
 
Ayr
1.45 ROKER PARK (nap) (4th)
2.20 ADVANCED (8th)
2.50 CITY GIRL (4th)
3.30 BORDERLESCOTT (nb)
4.05 TOP NOTCH TONTO (WON 11-1)
4.40 OPERA GAL (WON 8-13)
5.15 ROGER SEZ (Last)
5.45 STOCK HILL FAIR (6th)
 
Newbury
1.30 PIVOTAL MOVEMENT (6th)
2.05 COQUET (3rd)
2.35 HEAVY METAL (IWAC) (5th)
3.10 EXPENSE CLAIM (9th)
3.45 DESERT LAW (6th)
4.20 BRIGHT STRIKE (2nd)
4.55 DOMINATE (5th)
5.30 DARE TO DREAM (3rd)