Friday, April 19, 2013

Scottish Grand National 2013

At 3.50 tomorrow this year's shock Grand National winner Auroras Encore and jockey Ryan Mania bid to complete a double last achieved in 1974 by Red Rum and Brian Fletcher by winning the Scottish Grand National in the same season.

The handicapper has ensured the horse faces no simple task and has incurred the wrath of trainer's husband Harvey Smith in the process by raising the gelding a further 11 lbs following his exploits at Aintree.

In the past decade only two horses have carried more than 10-5 to victory in this race (Grey Abbey 11-12 in 2004 and Hello Bud 10-9 in 2009) so I've decided to sift through some of the lighter weights towards the bottom end of the handicap...

David Pipe's Big Occasion is appropriately named and has been well tipped-up following his victory in the Midlands National six weeks ago but, as a result, is priced short enough; at six years old he may just lack some vital experience.

Venetia Williams is having a good stab at the prize fund with three entries - Rigadin De Beauchene, Relax and Pentiffic.

The first-named didn't fire when jumping poorly at Sandown last time out but if that run is forgiven appears to offer some value at around the 20/1 mark. Stable jockey Aidan Coleman opts for Relax but I wouldn't totally discount Pentiffic (40/1) who failed to make the cut for the Aintree race and sports cheek pieces for the first time.

Lively Baron is an enigmatic character who could be competitive if in the mood but I'm going to chance Tom George's Monsieur Cadou each-way at around 14/1.

His victory in Haydock's Tim Molony Handicap Chase three weeks ago reads well and the manner in which he stayed on at the end that day suggests he should get this trip. The handicapper has raised the gelding 12 lbs for that effort but with just 10-4 to carry he looks worth an interest.


GeeDee said...

Writing in the Weekender, the prescient Alistair Whitehouse-Jones told readers: 'Prepare to know your fate early as Ayr test is clearly not for everyone'.

I think I knew my fate before the tapes went up as Paddy Brennan held the selection up at the back of the field while others jostled for a competitive pitch.

There was plenty of money for Monsieur Cadou (11/1) but his chance had gone before he'd jumped the first; he raced detached at the rear for two of the three circuits and was then pulled up.

A curious ride - perhaps connections had already decided the drying ground wasn't in their favour. To this observer horse and rider hacked away in last spot simply going through the motions...

Granted, it was an attritional race. Just seven of the 24 runners completed with Alan King's Godsmejudge (12/1) winning in some style, the first seven-yea-old to come home in front since Gingembre in 2001 and the first winner to carry more than 11-0 since Grey Abbey in 2004.

Full marks too to the sole six-year-old Big Occasion (12/1), friendless in the market, who stayed on strongly to come home four lengths behind the impressive winner.

Two young horses to keep an eye out for in long distance chases next season...

GeeDee said...

Jock Paddy Brennan reported Monsieur Cadou did not jump fluently and never travelled...