Scottish Grand National
Harry The Viking 25/1 1 point EW (Bet365, 5 places)
Wayward Prince 33/1 1/2 point EW (Bet365 5 places)
Time has got the better of me this morning however after much deliberation I have come up with these two. There are not too many trends in this. In fact you could make a case for not using them at all in this race. 17/18 did finish in the top 6 LTO with those finishing below this performing poorly. Also those moving up from C2 or C3 LTO have the best record (16/220 runners, 74 places – 2/177 did not)
While novices have done ok they have only won 4 in the last 21 years. I would always tend to favour a more hardy handicapper in a race like this. I also want a sound jumper (this race is littered with dodgy jumpers) who is sure to relish the decent ground. A lot of these are mud lovers. Finally I dont like being on a hold up horse in races such as this. There are a lot of hold up horses in this. Carli King, Lie Forrit, Harry The Viking will be up there from the start. I would want to be in the first third of runners. You avoid dangers/fallers and rarely have an excuse. Yes the pace may collapse but more often than not it pays to be handy.
Harry The Viking has done nothing wrong recently. He jumps well on the whole, will like the decent ground and will relish the trip. He came a decent second for Paul Nicholls in the 4 miler at Cheltenham in 2012. On the back of that hard run (my reading of it) he flopped in this race as a 7 year old. He has now rediscovered some form and I expect a bold show. He races handily and there should be no excuses. He is one of the few horse in the field to my eye who looks guaranteed to stay (based on that Cheltenham run and recent form) and is in some sort of form. Yes he keeps finding 1 too good but he will keep battling to the line and I would like to think he will be in the top 5 at worse. There were no negatives that I could find. If there were lots of front runners I would be concerned he may get taken out of his comfort zone on this ground but I think he should be able to hold his position no problem near the front of the pack.
Wayward Prince should not be this price based on his recent form. He appears to have come back to himself and demolished his field a couple of starts ago in a decent race. The doubt, like with most of these, is over his stamina. I simply dont know if he will stay but his form over 26f means he is worth chancing. (he ran in the Grand National once but came into the race in awful form) He is still well handicapped on old form, is another who will be in the right place tracking the pace and he jumps well. He loves decent ground. If he stays, and it is an if, I think he should be in the top 5.
Like all races of this nature this looks very open. You could make a case for many of these. I have concerns over jumping for quite a few of them. Milborough, Broadway Buffalo, Catching On, Trustan Times, Global Power, Benbens, Amigo, Drop Out Jo all like to hit the odd fence. It hasnt stopped a few of them winning recently but in a 30 runner race their jumping will be put under extreme pressure and they are slightly more risky bets on that basis.
Many people will back Trustan Times on the back of his 3rd in this race last year. I am concerned that he is not in the same form, nowhere near and his stable is very cold at the moment, 1/37 last 30 days, 0/28 last two weeks. If he runs like he did last year obviously he will go well, but i have my doubts. The likes of Gallant Oscar and Sego Success are unexposed and should go well. They are very inexperienced for a race of this nature and I wonder if it will be too much. They could of course be ahead of their mark and they both look like they will relish conditions. However, I wanted to be with a hardier sort. I wouldnt be shocked if either won however.
UPDATE- (13.05) I should mention Wiesentraum at a monster 80/1. Chris prompted me below and having checked my notes there wasnt anything too negative and I have seen worse 80/1 shots. He must go LH and must have decent ground. I dont think he is good enough on what he has done to date and may be outclassed – but these extreme distances can do strange things. he does race prominently as well so could be up there for a long time. I couldn’t advise backing him as such as I dont think he will be good enough, but such is his price he deserves a mention. I may have a small play in the place market for fun!
Harry The Viking should give us a decent run for our money and Wayward Prince, if he stays, will do as well.
In the 6.15 Thirsk CLUBLAND gets ‘his conditions’. His form on the Flat Class 5 or lower, 6f, returning 1-30 days reads 1,1,2,2,2,5,2,1
I have backed him at 4/1.
In the 3.25 Newbury I have had a small EW bet on BOOM AND BUST at 50/1 5 places.
All of his 5 wins outside of maidens have been in handicaps, over 1m, on Gd-firm or Firm..record..1,1,1,1,1 – He hasnt had those conditions since last win in 2012. I believe the ground at Newbury is Good to Firm. He also gets on well with Hayley Turner. Now this is more speculative as he is in no sort of form at all, hence his price. However he does have his conditions and if he could grab a place that would be great. He could just have lost his way.
Good Luck with all your bets this weekend!