Ayr is the place to be this Saturday for Scotland’s biggest race of the year. The Scottish Grand National is a handicap chase run over 4 miles with thirty runners going to post (at the time of writing).
These marathon races are intriguing and incident packed affairs that are extremely exciting to watch. This may be less appealing to some after the massive thrill of last week’s Aintree National but for most racing fans this is another huge event for the sport.
After last week’s blog highlighted 2nd and 4th in the National, we’ve adopted a similar approach for Saturday’s race and will focus on a few horses we think will be there at the business end of this year’s renewal.
The Young Master 20/1
Trained by Neil Mulholland and ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen (claiming 3lbs), the nine-year-old gets in here off a light weight. Officially rated 132, he’s in with a shout if he can find anything like his best form. The Young Master has won off 148 in the past, which leaves him with plenty of room for improvement, and although he seems very ground dependant, the predicted ground is good, which will be a massive plus for him. After a wind operation, The Young Master enjoyed a run at Cheltenham and hopefully the better conditions will see him spark up again and run a big race.
This horse simply cannot be ignored here. Seeking a hat-trick of wins, the Paul Nicholls trained nine-year-old will most likely go off as favourite. He’s officially rated 4lb higher than his two previous wins but carries 3lb less than last year’s epic win over Cogry.
Vicente’s prep this year hasn’t been ideal having pulled up last time out and unseating the time before. It’s not exactly appealing form for a punter but this race is clearly his main target and so form may not be to big a factor. He travelled beautifully in last year’s race and if he regains the same form, he will be bang there again.
Gold Present 16/1
Nicky Henderson’s charge is racing off top weight here and so a victory will be a big ask, but this lightly raced staying chaser could just have the class and ability to pull it off.
His form this season has been excellent, the highlight of which was his three-length defeat to Frodon at Ascot in December. A career best effort that reads better and better as the season goes on.
Nico De Boinville is in the saddle and he’s a jockey we like. He’s fearless over a fence and isn’t afraid to make a race winning move when others hesitate. What’s more, he knows Nicky’s horses inside out and will certainly have his homework done for Saturday’s race. This horse swerved Aintree in favour of Ayr in the hope of getting better ground and it looks like the gamble payed off. Winning off top weight would require a special performance, but Gold Present might just be a little special.
Vintage Clouds 10/1
The same owners as Vicente but with Sue Smith as trainer, this eight-year-old comes here with an outstanding chance. Vintage Cloud finished 7th in last year’s race but has improved massively since. He ticks a lot of boxes having finished 4th in The Welsh Grand National and the rest of this season’s form ties in with some top horses.
He also finished close in behind Clan des Obeaux, Ballyoptic and most recently the promising Coo Star Sivola at the Cheltenham Festival. The ground might not be ideal and there is a worry whether he likes to go and win races but having matured a lot this season we may just see the best of him this weekend.
Keep an eye on our twitter page for anymore tips for the weekend and hopefully we’ll have an Instagram page coming soon so watch this space and good luck with all your betting this weekend.