Friday, April 15, 2011

Scottish Grand National

In the week after Aintree's Grand National there has been no shortage of people giving their opinion on last Saturday's events. Simon Barnes and Carol Midgley of The Times inform us they've watched their last National, the latter stating 'I think I know the difference between right and wrong' while Matthew Syed, the same paper's 'Sports Feature Writer of the Year', resorts to quoting chunks of Orwell to readers in a piece penned on Wednesday. The case for the defence included Brough Scott appearing on The One Show, a statement issued by the British Horseracing Authority and support for the race from champion jockey Tony McCoy. As if all that wasn't enough, there's another Grand National tomorrow - in Scotland!

30 have been declared for tomorrow's showpiece at Ayr where the going is described as good, good to soft in places; at the time of writing two look doubtful - Fair Along and Bellflower Boy. Neptune Collonges has stood his ground which means that just eight of the 30 declared will carry their correct handicap weight; Neptune is set to concede a minimum of 15 pounds to his opponents. Several runners were in action at Cheltenham last month - Neptune Collonges (Gold Cup), Chicago Grey, Beshabar and Be There In Five (NH Chase), Blazing Bailey, Fair Along and No Panic (Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase), Fredo (Kim Muir), Poker De Sivola (Cross Country Chase), Gansey (Byrne Group Plate) and Gone To Lunch (Foxhunter Chase) while Minella Four Star beat Ballyfitz in the Midlands Grand National and That's Rhythm jumped a sand line in the turf at the start of last week's Aintree National before overjumping at the first and falling. No favourite has obliged in the past decade and only one winner has been priced lower than 12/1 (Ryalux in 2003). Of the market leaders, Always Right (9/1 Coral, totesport) appeals, certainly more so than last year's winner Merigo who was well behind the former in the Grimthorpe at Doncaster. Having said that, Always Right just held Lothian Falcon (first-time cheekpieces applied) in that Doncaster race; the latter reopposes on 10 pounds worse terms here although Peter Carberry can claim seven of them. I shall take a small each-way interest in Always Right.

I'm not particularly tempted by the Scottish Champion Hurdle (a limited handicap). Those who want to play may be interested in Nick Mordin's comments in the Weekender - Bygones Of Brid doesn't travel well but has won five out of six on local tracks. He may be of interest at a price.

On Arkle form Giorgio Quercus has the beating of Stagecoach Pearl in the 2.20 while the five year old mare Nadiya De La Vega is well regarded. Geraghty looks to have chosen Giorgio. For the record, the favourite has won three of the past ten renewals whereas the second favourite has won on four occasions.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

A decent run from Always Right (15/2) who crept away under James Reveley and looked a live threat up the home straight. The spoils went to Beshabar (15/2) who raced prominently throughout and took it up at the eighth. Always Right came to challenge after the last but he was never going to reel in the winner and lost second place to the game Merigo (20/1) in the final strides; distances were threequarters of a length and a neck. Lothian Falcon (33/1) stayed on for fourth spot but was some 30lengths adrift.

Bygones Of Brid (14/1) ran a fine race to finish second to 9/2 joint favourite Sanctuaire in the Scottish Champion Hurdle.

A disappointing effort form favourite Girgio Quercus (5/2f) who raced from the front but appeared to be affected by a poor leap at the eighth. He was struggling thereafter, weakening three out to finish a well-beaten fifth. Winner Gilbarry (8/1) is no back number and is worth an entry in the notebook. Connections may go to Perth - the trainer thinks his charge will stay three miles.