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
 

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