Friday, April 20, 2018

Scottish Grand National 2018

The week after Aintree invariably throws up a selection of Grand National 'scrapes' generally encountered by the once-a-year punters - with runners, non-runners and reserves adding to the complications this time round.

It is with a certain degree of chagrin that I have to report my mother-in-law has been at it again - winning, that is. She backed Mon Mome at 100/1 in 2009 and she happened to be on Tiger Roll last Saturday at odds of 10/1.

Since the inception of this blog in 2006 my mother-in-law is showing an overall profit of 57.25 points; I'm seriously thinking of packing it all in and simply following her annual foray into the National market.

Percipient readers will have noticed I stated above that 'she happened to be on Tiger Roll' and therein lies a story.

Sent to the bookmakers to strike a number of bets for the extended family, my mother-in-law's runner, my father-in-law, was informed by the helpful assistant in the shop that her original selection, Thunder And Roses, was a non-runner; he should back Tiger Roll for her instead.

In terms of customer service it really doesn't get much better than that, does it?

The Times' theatre critic Ann Treneman wasn't quite so chuffed with the service afforded her when she walked into a William Hill betting shop in Bakewell, Derbyshire. Shown how to strike a £10 each-way wager on Milansbar, she was somewhat dismayed to discover later that William Hill only paid fifth place on wagers placed online.

Spare a thought though for this mother and her two daughters.

Mother backs Tiger Roll each-way single (wins); younger daughter backs Pleasant Company each-way single (second); elder daughter backs Bless The Wings each-way single (third). The tricast paid £9,439.25; the trifecta £68,670.00.

I did send a polite email earlier in the week enquiring why they hadn't informed me beforehand they were about to pull a stunt like that but, as of yet, I haven't received a reply.

If that's the sort of story that whets your appetite, tomorrow's Scottish Grand National (4.05 Ayr) is marginally easier with just 30 runners set to face the starter; the going is good, good to soft in places.

Last week a racing hack suggested layers would be targeting Flat fans after the Aintree Festival but in terms of turnover Coral rate the Scottish National their fourth best race after the Aintree National, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Derby.

Vicente has won the past two renewals and tries for the hat-trick off a mark four pounds higher than last year and with similar underfoot conditions.

Cogry was beaten a neck into second last year with Benbens a further two lengths adrift in third, Vintage Clouds seventh (beaten thirteen and threequarter lengths), Henri Parry Morgan ninth (beaten nineteen and a quarter lengths) and Straidnahanna pulled up. At the revised weights Cogry has it all to do to reverse placings with the winner (Jamie Balgary no longer claims three) but Benbens looks in the mix.

Vintage Clouds, second behind Ballyoptic in the Towton at Wetherby and then third in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, is respected off a mark seven pounds higher than last year; Sue Smith's gelding was the fourth reserve for the Aintree National last week but didn't get a run.

Two that caught my eye earlier were Looking Well and Doing Fine - or was it Looking Fine and Doing Well?

Anyway, there has been steady money for Neil Mulholland's charge Doing Fine - he's challenging for favouritism in some lists. He finished five and a quarter lengths behind Benbens in the London National last December; there's the suspicion Barry Geraghty left his mount with too much ground to make up that day. On a strict interpretation of the book the pairing look closely matched.

Looking Well's second to Ziga Boy in the 2017 Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster reads well; I backed him to follow up in the Grimthorpe at the same track five weeks later but he ran no race at all - an issue was subsequently discovered.

This term on his last run he came from off the pace and appeared to have the Edinburgh National in the bag approaching the last but he may well have been running on empty as he jinked, dumped Ryan Day on the ground and gifted a fortunate-looking victory to my selection Full Jack. The handicapper wasn't fooled - Nicky Richards' charge went up five pounds.

At the prices Looking Well makes more appeal but I'm concerned as both are hold-up horses and as a general rule of thumb those that race prominently have fared better in this event over the years.

A quick mention too for Irish runner Glencairn View who looks unexposed and could be anything; at the time of writing he's trading between 14/1 and 18/1.

Benbens is thirteen years old, pulled up last time out and is the least fancied of the three Twiston-Davies runners but on last year's running he looks in the mix and appears overpriced at 40/1 with Sky Bet (six places one fifth the odds).

However, on the better ground I'm going to chance that Looking Well can see out the trip and avoid any potential trouble in running.

Looking Well (20/1 Coral, one fifth the odds seven places) is the each-way selection.

Nicky Henderson holds a strong hand in the competitive-looking Ayrshire Hospice Land O'Burns Starlight Walk Handicap Hurdle (4.40) but one I expect to improve for the better ground is Burbank. He finished seventh in the Coral Cup, beaten seven lengths, and the handicapper has dropped him one pound for that effort. I'm not tempted by the 7/1 - 8/1 on offer this evening so I'll watch with interest.


Anonymous said...

Sizing Codelco and The Young Master top the ratings but the system has raised a flag about the trip for them both. So a chance is taken on Silsol (25/1 7 places 1/5th odds [Corals]). He ran two fine races in the Welsh & Midlands National' on ground that was probably easier that is optimum for him. Rated a fair bit higher over hurdles today’ trip and ground might see him run another big race.

I see Tom Segal has also now put up Looking Well expecting him to run a ‘massive race’.

RTG,Horse,% WC,Fair Odds
172,SIZING CODELCO(IRE),13.4,7.6
171,THE YOUNG MASTER(GB),6.67,15
167,DOING FINE(IRE),5.16,19.5
163,REGAL FLOW(GB),4.39,23
166,LABEL DES OBEAUX(FR),2.94,34
162,GET ON THE YAGER(GB),2.27,44
165,INDY FIVE(IRE),2.22,46
165,PEARL SWAN(FR),2.11,48
165,RACING EUROPE(IRE),2.06,50
164,WEST APPROACH(GB),1.87,55
163,LOOKING WELL(IRE),1.67,60
162,GOLD PRESENT(IRE),1.52,70
161,JOE FARRELL(IRE),1.41,75
162,WORK DU BRETEAU(FR),1.28,80
161,BOA ISLAND(IRE),0.75,140

Good luck


GeeDee said...

25/1 Silsol with Coral paying seven places looks big, TW. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

The race is covered by the free Timeform Race Pass [] and this is their view, ratings wise, of the race:

Horse Name (Days Off),TFR
DOING FINE (IRE) (133),167
VICENTE (FR) (39) ,166x
INDY FIVE (IRE) (42),166
LABEL DES OBEAUX (FR) (56) ,166?
FAGAN (176) ,164p
SILSOL (GER) (35) ,164+
COGRY (39),164x
JOE FARRELL (IRE) (29),163+
GET ON THE YAGER (35),162p
ALZAMMAAR (USA) (21),162
PEARL SWAN (FR) (7),161+
REGAL FLOW (35),161
BENBENS (IRE) (35),161
BOA ISLAND (IRE) (174),159
MYSTEREE (IRE) (63) ,?


Mulldog said...

Best of luck today. Will be watching today from the bowling green clubhouse.

GeeDee said...

Good luck, Mully!

GeeDee said...

Looking Well (16/1) looked well enough for the first two circuits but he struggled to hold his position thereafter, eventually pulling up before two out.

In a thrilling finish outsider Joe Farrell (33/1) pipped Ballyoptic (9/1) a nose on his first try beyond three miles one - a welcome finale to what has been a poor season for Rebecca Curtis. Vintage Clouds (12/1) made a bold bid to finish third with Doing Fine (12/1) fourth and last year's winner Vicente (8/1) a creditable fifth.