Friday, April 21, 2023

Scottish Grand National 2023

23 have been declared for tomorrow's renewal with the going described as good to soft, good in places. Showers are forecast throughout the day.

With Dusart taking his chance, seven are set to race from out of the handicap: Your Own Story; Waitnsee; Magna Sam; Mighty Thunder; Flower Of Scotland; Half Shot; and Small Present.

The top weight has to concede upwards of seven pounds to all his rivals; since 2000 only two winners have carried more than 11-09: Grey Abbey (11-12 in 2004) and Vicente (11-10 in 2017).

The lowest rated winner in the past ten years was Joe Farrell in 2018 who won off a mark of 135.

The market has been dominated by Kitty's Light, Monbeg Genius and Your Own Story. 

Kitty's Light finished second behind stablemate Win My Wings off 143 in this race last year and goes off 140 tomorrow. On that evidence he looks a well-handicapped horse and the bookies have priced him accordingly.

Christian Williams' charge has been slow to come to hand this season. 

His third behind Annsam at Kempton in January hinted at a revival and the gelding went on to win the Eider at Newcastle next time; he looked cooked a mile from home but stayed on dourly to pass The Galloping Bear after the last.

Not the biggest of individuals, he's usually given a hold up ride, thereby avoiding the early scrimmaging up front. Of course, that tactic brings its own risks; as a general rule of thumb, racing prominently has paid dividends in the past. Cheekpieces haven't been fitted since he finished third in last year's bet365 Chase but they're back on tomorrow.

There has been plenty of money for Monbeg Genius throughout the week; his third behind Corach Rambler in the Ultima at Cheltenham looked strong form after the winner went on to take last Saturday's Grand National at Aintree. Jonjo O'Neill's charge is currently priced up favourite.

Lucinda Russell saddles two in a bid to win two Nationals in the space of a week: Your Own Story and Mighty Thunder. The former looks the yard's main hope - Lucinda is on record saying 'I think he has a right chance' - and he'll certainly stay but an official rating of 127 looks low compared to that of previous winners.

Mighty Thunder won off 144 in 2021 but hasn't won since and is now rated 125. There have been recent signs of a revival (fifth behind Elvis Mail at Kelso last time) but he probably holds place prospects at best.

Elvis Mail wasn't stopping in that Kelso race over three and a quarter miles; Nick Alexander's grey jumped well on that occasion but has been known to make a costly blunder or two at his fences.

Three weeks ago Malina Girl won the Ulster National at Downpatrick over three and a half miles. This probably comes quick enough for Gavin Cromwell's mare after that slog in soft ground; the last six year old to come in front was Earth Summit in 1994. The RP Weekender informs me the last Irish-trained winner of this event was Huntsman - in 1869!

Undersupervision likes Doncaster - he won the 2022 Grimthorpe and was pipped by Moroder in this year's renewal - and looks as though he'll stay but he isn't always fluent at the fences.

Rebecca Curtis trained Joe Farrell to win in 2018. She saddles Ruthless Article here but hasn't had a winner in 176 days.

On his blog Paul Nicholls points out that Flash Collonges, from the family of Grand National winner Neptune Collonges, races off a chase mark of 134 but has a hurdle rating of 145. Connections seem confident he'll stay the trip.

Nicholls' other runner, Threeunderthrufive, didn't appear to stay three miles five in the Classic Chase at Warwick in January.

Cap Du Nord is Christian Williams' second string, Cooper's Cross came to grief in the Topham at Aintree eight days ago while Manofthepeople appeared to be outstayed by Bridge North the last day.

Of those at bigger prices two are of interest.

It was some performance by Magna Sam to come out after nine months off and, on his first run for Alastair Ralph, win the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh. He beat Captain Cattistock and that one won a competitive handicap chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday. 

Magna Sam raced prominently and, once sent on, wasn't for catching. He was subsequently raised five pounds although regular pilot Alex Edwards doesn't claim three here; this has been the target since. The slight concern is that most of his form has come on right-handed tracks.

Nicky Richards doesn't strike me as someone who would oversell a horse but, reading between the lines, I think he likes Famous Bridge who runs in the famous Trevor Hemmings colours. In a stable tour piece in the Weekender [19-23.10.22] he concludes: 'It could be very interesting where we end up.'

Richards won this with Takingrisks in 2019; the handler is quoted in the Racing Post:

"We're taking a bit of a punt but he has put it together on his last two runs. I don't think he'll be off 10st 2lb next year and nothing ventured, nothing gained. He looks a million dollars and I don't think he'll be far away."

I've missed the bigger prices about Magna Sam - now generally a 16/1 shot - but, at the time of writing, Betfred offer 22/1 about Famous Bridge and pay six places. 

Famous Bridge is the each-way suggestion.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

There were four withdrawals on account of the drying ground: Monbeg Genius, Elvis Mail, Flower of Scotland and selection Famous Bridge. The other non-runner, Waitnsee, had a vet's certificate.

Manofthepeople (9/1), Undersupervison (16/1) and Ruthless Article (50/1) cut out much of the running. Your Own Story (4/1jf) raced prominently in the early stages but dropped back through the field before staying on towards the end to complete in sixth.

Jumping well, Kitty's Light (4/1jf) moved through the field racing up the home straight for the final time; he scooted clear after the last to beat Cooper's Cross (25/1) three lengths with Flash De Touzaine third (40/1) and Threeunderthrufive fourth (16/1).

Fifth home Magna Sam (14/1) travelled well through the race and led before three out but didn't quite see out the trip.