Scottish Grand National
Regal Flow – 1 point EW – 25/1 (gen, 1/4 odds 5th places gen, will be declared to that)
Vintage Clouds – 1 point win – 14/1
Joe Farrell – 1 point win – 40/1 (lad/Betf) 33/1 (gen)
Shortlist/’dangers’/kicking myself: those three plus…. Silsol / Ballyoptic / The Young Master
Regal Flow… he hits my main stats below and is the one I like most form the stats shortlist of 6. I tipped him LTO in the members’ post as part of ‘Festival Week’ when he won at 25/1… I saw no reason to leave him here. He is in the form of his life and 11yo have a decent record in this. 10lb would not have stopped him LTO and he stuff Milansbar who ran with credit in THE Grand National, doing best of the British. He has run/won on decent ground and could be better for it! Who is to say he can’t win this? Bar Vicente he arguably has the best staying form in the race, over marathon trips. 25s seemed a tad insulting. Provided he can go the pace, jump and hold a position, he will stay (provided that pace on good doesn’t mean he goes a stride faster than he’d like)… bar an accident, IF he runs his race I’d be shocked if he was unplaced here. Hopefully that ensures I escape with a small profit at worst
Vintage Clouds… I fancied this one for the big one last week, when he didn’t get in. Well, a couple of weeks before the race I had an EW bet at 50s, which seemed a bit big. He runs as if he has a staying handicap in him, with a decent effort at Chepstow to his name and at Cheltenham LTO. He’d have been close at Chepstow but for being badly hampered, losing his confidence, taking a fence home with him, before being raised for a final effort by Cook. He ran OK in this race last year but is a better horse this season, no doubt about that. He does jump better, or has done, so maybe that’s the mockers on him. Hopefully Danny can get him up there and popping away. He may well lose his position again,get outpaced, and stay on for 6th or something… but this race feels like plenty could fall in a hole here, and a horse that just keeps galloping may be enough- he should do that. Smith doesn’t have a great record in the race but from a small enough sample and this may be the best horse she has aimed at it. He may improve for the return to a decent surface and in fairness to him did show a turn of foot in that Aintree race, when all the fences up the home straight were dolled off. I’d be very annoyed if he won at 14s, unbacked!
Joe Farrell… it seems I can’t resist a 33s+ poke in a National and I wanted to keep those ‘long shot’ eyes ticking over! Out of the monster priced ones, 33s+, I thought he looked most interesting. Yes it is Curtis, who has had her problems, both professionally and personally I believe, but this would be some tonic. She can train, when getting the horses, but has had a torrid period. She hasn’t fired many darts recently but they have been going better. This one is young, unexposed, getting better over fences and ‘could be anything’. He does shape as if 3m, 3m4f+ could be right up his street. Clearly he may find this all a bit too much, the jumping may go to pot and he may be outclassed. But, were he to hold a position and pop away, he is no forlorn hope to my eyes. At least he is in form and could improve for the step up in trip. He could do anything here and he is the sort you want a big price on. This race just had an odd feel about it this year – with plenty of poor jumpers and proven non stayers to my eyes- so we shall see.
Of the rest…
Silsol would be a sickener as he was my first instinct as to my fancy in this. I have had a decent saver on at a price. I suppose I liked his mark against his old hurdles rating and the fact he ran fairly well in the Welsh National. But, his best chase form is on Heavy and I wasn’t sure he would improve for good ground, even though he beat Native River on good over hurdles. I had a doubt as to his stamina and he was stuffed at Uttoxeter by Regal Flow. I couldn’t see any reason for him to improve on that, unless I have got his ground preference wrong- which could be the case. No forlorn hope but I just talked myself out of him.
Ballyoptic… If he were a bigger price I may have been tempted- 14s didn’t seem overly generous given his small field chase form and concerns over his jumping. But Twister has a fine record in this and if he gets it altogether could improve for this distance and ground. An interesting unexposed one, esp given he has a touch of class. His jumping in this sort of test is the question.
The Young Master… he is thrown in on old form but that’s because he has been badly out of sorts. He did show more the last day and I can see the case. He is getting on a bit mind in terms of chase runs although his Sandown efforts would give you hope for him staying. He wears Cheekpieces also, and those are 0/64,2p in this in the last decade – but Tiger Roll broke a CP stat in the National, and maybe this one (or one of the many others with CP on) will end that headgear hoodoo. He was on my longlist of 10, which was my ‘way in’ form him. I’m not sure I like Sam WC in these big handicap chases either, outside of races over the National fences!
Clearly you can make a case for plenty more- it feels very very open this race, nothing would totally shock me. Vicente has a solid chance but PU LTO which puts me off at 10s. I have missed the boat with him in this race, and my eyes are generally fixed on 14s+ shots in races like this, or they try to be. If one of the other 4 on my shortlist of 6 wins then so be it, I was happy to leave them for one reason or another but I may have one of those wrong also!
Now, time for an aspirin! What a puzzle, but it’s what this particular anorak lives for (in the context of racing, not life in general)
GL with any bets, as always
Stats pointers below
Scottish Grand National
I have some stats pointers for this… 10/10 had 3-6 runs in prev 365 days, 3-6 runs this season, 1+ handicap win. Those are all 10/10 stats, which still leave a longlist of 18! Some indication of the stats definitely being a guide and not letting them put you off a fancy. 9/10 had RUN over 3m7f or further in their career (1/119,11p Had not) so we could use that.
These four stats are 9/89 runners, 21p, +117 BFSP over the last decade and leave 10:
Vicente / Doing Fine / Vintage Clouds / The Young Master / Regal Flow / Silsol / Beware The Bear / Henri Parry Morgan / Get On The Yager / Straidnahanna
9/10 did have 4-7 career wins (1/91,10p outside this, getting on to dodgy territory), but applying that would leave 6:
Vicente (PU LTO a neg, 0/29,6p last decade) / Regal Flow / Beware The Bear / Henri Parry Morgan / Get On The Yager / Straidnahanna