With the National and the Scottish equivalent only seven days apart you’d be forgiven for wondering whether there were any horses still on the go to make up the numbers at Ayr. With that in mind, it’s pretty astonishing that we’ve got not only a full field, but a really competitive race for the Scottish Grand National.
The good news is that I think I’ve found the winner…
4.05 – Scottish Grand National – The Young Master
The one that stands out to me is The Young Master. This is a horse that you might think had his day a few years back, but there was much more to like about his most recent run which was also his first after a wind operation.
Crucially, most of his best form is at this time of year, on a reasonably sound surface, in big field handicaps and over extreme distances. He‘s tumbled down the handicap in the last year, so much so that he nearly didn’t make the cut for this race.
But there was enough in his last run to make me think that he still has a bit of lead in his pencil and he gets the vote.
The Irish challenge is obviously interesting, with Gordon Elliott’s Fagan and Tony Mullins’s Glencairn View, who are both fairly young, unexposed horses who might yet improve for this sort of test – the latter in particular may well be extremely well handicapped.
Of the remainder of the British bunch, both Colin Tizzard’s, ‘Sizing’ horses, make some impression on me. Sizing Tennessee has run several really solid races in graded company this season, whilst Sizing Codelco is a complete monkey, but is very, very talented and theoretically very well treated on the back of his fourth to Might Bite at Aintree.
2.55 – Scottish Champion Hurdle – Flashing Glance
This looks like quite a spicy running of the Scottish Champion Hurdle but there’s nothing like a Trainer in form and I wonder whether Tom Lacey can pull off another upset with Flashing Glance.
This horse looks like a good-ground horse through-and-through with a nice bit of speed, no weight on his back and a progressive profile.
There are bigger, sexier names at the top of the weights but a lot of these have had hard-ish seasons on bad ground and the selection comes here relatively fresh, having missed most of the winter
The Classic Trials at Newbury look to have found the right favourites in Gavota and Expert Eye, but you’re always looking for horses who can make significant improvement from two to three as possible flies in the ointment.
2.35 – Gavota
I’ll be tipping Gavota to win here, but for anyone looking for a horse that could run well at a price, then I think All Out will be of interest here.
She’s from a stout staying family on the dam side, yet she had the pace to win over 5f and 6f last year and has got significant potential to improve, so at 12/1 she could be of interest, but I think Gavota will win and – although short – isn’t that bad a price.
3.45 – Taqdeer
Later in the day, I’m hoping Taqdeer can improve on what I’m hoping was an encouraging run on very bad ground at Doncaster, off a long absence.
His form from two seasons ago stands the closest scrutiny and he still travelled like a very smart horse until just giving his best inside the final furling at Doncaster, so with Frankie Dettori on top, I think Taqdeer can build on that in the Spring Cup.
Nick’s Weekend Picks
2.35 – Gavota – 6/4
2.55 – Scottish Champion Hurdle – Flashing Glance- 12/1
3.45 – Taqdeer – 8/1
4.05 – Scottish Grand National – The Young Master – 16/1
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.