Friday, April 01, 2022

Scottish Grand National 2022

For the first time in as long as I can remember the Scottish Grand National is to be run before the Grand National.

24 made the final declaration stage for this year's Ayr showpiece (3.35) which, in terms of quality, wouldn't be the best of renewals. Last year top weight Lake View Lad raced off a mark of 155; Hill Sixteen starts off 147 tomorrow. Streets of Doyen has been declared a non-runner.

The going is currently described as good to soft, good in places.

Five weeks ago trainer Christian Williams had one Saturday afternoon he's unlikely to forget in a hurry. Win My Wings won the Eider Chase at Newcastle; half an hour later Cap Du Nord beat stablemate Kitty's Light in the Coral Trophy Handicap Chase at Kempton.

Kitty's Light heads the market for tomorrow's race - and all seven favourites obliged at Ayr today. 

A six-year-old, Kitty's Light already has the form of a seasoned handicapper in the book and appeared unlucky not to win the bet365 Chase at Sandown last April off 139; the run at Kempton last time served notice of a return to form. 

Not the biggest of individuals, the bay tends to be ridden conservatively in rear to avoid early scrimmaging before making ground in the latter stages of a race and that, coupled with a weight of 11-08, gives me cause for concern. 

Win My Wings, with Ryan Mania up, beat Innisfree Lad (third), Court Master (fourth) and History Of Fashion (unseated rider) in the Eider. The handicapper has raised the mare eight pounds for that effort but amateur Mr. Rob James claims seven so effectively starts on a mark just one pound higher. 

Ryan Mania on The Ferry Master will certainly know what he has to beat. 

Sandy Thomson's charge finished a creditable fourth off 133 behind Mighty Thunder last year and is five pounds lower this time - stablemate Dingo Dollar finished second and is quoted a 50/1 chance for next week's Aintree showpiece.

When I looked back at the race, it appeared The Ferry Master held every chance four out but lost ground up the home straight - and lost two places before the final fence. A wind operation at the end of January may help the cause but there's a lingering doubt whether he really sees out the trip.

Court Master also appeared to fade from two out in the Eider. 

Cool Mix has never won beyond two miles four and a half furlongs but he finished fifth last year, threequarters of a length behind The Ferry Master. He looks well handicapped off a mark six pounds lower and Alan Doyle claims seven. Iain Jardine's charge finished ahead of The Ferry Master in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle in November and sports a first-time tongue tie.

Stormy Judge's defeat of Enjoy D'allen and School Boy Hours in a Navan novice chase 12 months ago reads very well - and Danny Mullins takes the ride tomorrow. This one's chance is respected but his best form to date has come on soft / heavy ground and similar comments apply to stablemate History Of Fashion. Peter Fahy saddled Mister Fogpatches to finish third last year.

Novice chasers have a good record in this race. 

Ashtown Lad, a seven length third behind Ahoy Senor in the Towton at Wetherby, could be ahead of his mark as he races beyond three miles for the first time. Major Dundee has a similar profile while Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has won this three times with Captain Dibble (1992), Earth Summit (1994) and Hello Bud (2009), saddles Fantastikas. Fantastikas finished seventh behind Corach Rambler in the Ultima 18 days ago (One More Fleurie seventeenth and Vintage Clouds pulled up); the relatively quick turn out here isn't ideal. Ask A Honey Bee has shown a tendency to jump right on occasions.

Olly Murphy is on record saying The Wolf is 'a vey hard ride'. The gelding's tendency to miss one out here and there doesn't help the cause but he finished second behind Captain Cattistock in the Edinburgh National last time out.

Hill Sixteen's second behind Nut's Well in Kelso's Premier Chase four weeks ago reads well but has resulted in a harsh-looking nine pound rise; Jack Andrews can claim five. Since 2000 only two horses have carried more than 11-03 to victory: Grey Abbey (11-12 in 2004) and Vicente (11-10 in 2017).

Chirico Vallis and Via Dolorosa are two 10-year-olds in form. 

The former pipped Kitty's Light in the Native River Handicap Chase at Chepstow in October (Fidux sixth) but appeared to weaken over three miles five when second behind Eclair Surf in the Classic Chase at Warwick.  

The latter was raised 10 pounds when beating Potters Legend at Fakenham last time where he showed a tendency to jump right.

El Paso Wood has been kept busy since joining David Pipe in the autumn - this will be his ninth start. Last time he finished fourth at odds of 80/1 in the Midlands Grand National. 

He's now six pounds better off but I wonder whether the gelding has fully recovered from that slog in the Uttoxeter mud a fortnight ago.

Innisfree Lad wouldn't be the most consistent of individuals but of those at bigger prices Jersey Bean is certainly worth a second look. 

Oliver Sherwood's charge beat Furius De Ciergues in Haydock's Stayers' Handicap Chase over an extended three and a half miles in November and looks to have been trained specifically for this.

The ground is likely to be too quick for Prime Venture while Strong Economy races from four pounds out of the handicap.

As ever, a really competitive renewal - the two on the shortlist are Major Dundee and Jersey Bean. 

Alan King won this with novice Godsmejudge in 2013 and has a win strike rate of 18% over the past fortnight while Oliver Sherwood's last winner was some 78 days ago - the nod has to go to Major Dundee.

Major Dundee is the each-way selection, at the time of writing 12/1 with William Hill who are paying six places.


GeeDee said...

Five weeks on and, incredibly, Christian Williams had another Saturday afternoon he's unlikely to forget in a hurry, saddling the first two home in the Scottish National.

Win My Wings (13/2cf) became the first horse since Willsford in 1995 to win the Eider and the Scottish National in the same season. Racing mid division, the mare made steady progress and then quickly put the race to bed, scooting clear of her rivals after jumping the third last.

She came home seven lengths clear of stablemate Kitty's Light (13/2cf) who was lucky to survive a bad error in rear early on but made plenty of headway up the home straight despite being hampered by the fall of Ask A Honey Bee (33/1) four out.

Selection Major Dundee (9/1) raced behind the pace for much of the trip but was rousted along as they came around the home turn for the final time. He disputed second with Kitty's Light approaching the penultimate flight but had no more to give and finished five lengths adrift in third, with stablemate Fidux (66/1) fourth, Ashton Lad (10/1) fifth and Prime Venture (50/1) sixth.

Only nine of the 23 completed; in a sad footnote Jersey Bean (28/1) was fatally injured in a fall at the third.

TW said...

Major Dundee is the each-way selection, at the time of writing 12/1 with William Hill who are paying six places.

Well done, I struggled to see an value angles!


GeeDee said...


The mare won as she liked. A pointer to Snow Leopardess on Saturday? ;)