RACING fan Gerry Taylor (@thefurlongpole) shares his thoughts on the Scottish Grand National on Sunday afternoon from Ayr.
Scottish Grand National | Sunday 18th April 2020, 15:45 | Racing UK
A race that is close to my heart, and one that has a rich history.
Until 1965, it was run at Bogside, which is across the road from where yours truly was born. It's now run, only 20 minutes down the road from me at Ayr, and indeed I walked the course to check ground conditions, a couple of times previously, for trainer Ferdy Murphy.
Ferdy, who sadly passed away a couple of years ago, had a fine record in this marathon stamina test in the 2000’s – winning it on three occasions, between 2000-2007, with Paris Pike, Joe's Edge and Hot Weld(who pipped his stablemate Nine de Sivola).
Here are a few trends/stats pertaining to this fine race:
- Since 2000, 14/20 winners have carried 10 stone 9lbs or less.
- Since 2000, ages of winners have been – seven year olds(3), eight year olds(6), nine year olds(4), ten year olds(4), eleven year olds(3).
- Not a particularly good race for favourites – only 2/20 have obliged.
- Successful trainers with entries – P Nicholls(3 winners), N Twiston-Davies(3), P Bowen(1), A King(1).
A stepping stone to this race, has sometimes in the past been the 3 mile 2 furlongs Grimthorpe Chase, which is run at Doncaster, which is quite a similar track, usually with nice, good ground. Grey Abbey (2004), Run for Paddy (2005) and Wayward Prince (2015) won this race as a prep, before bagging the Scottish National, and stacks of horses have placed in both races.
Interestingly two of this years entries have recently done well in the 2019 running of the Grimthorpe – Chidswell (1st) and Dingo Dollar (2nd).
The sole Irish raider is Peter Fahey's Mister Fogpatches. The Irish surprisingly have a poor record in this, and having had no winning form beyond 2 miles 6 furlongs, a leap of faith is required to back this one.
The market leaders
Aye Right, a horse that I have followed, and has always been competing in very good races, carrying a welter burden, looks a short price for win purposes, especially as his overall win record over fences is now 1/8.
Paul Nicholl's Soldier of Love has an 154 day absence to overcome, as the winner of this has usually run well, and within the last couple of months. His last appearance gives him questions to answer here also.
Sue and Harvey Smith's 11 year old Vintage Clouds, recently won at the Cheltenham festival over 3 miles. The horse has a fine record in this National, having finished 3rd, 6th and 7th in previous runnings, but carrying a hefty 11 stone 7 lbs will make it really difficult though, for the gallant grey to finally win this.
Oldgrangewood – hails from the prolific Dan Skelton stable, though the ability to see out this 4 mile slog, has to be taken on trust, given his previous form (not won beyond 2 miles 4 furlongs).
Coup de Pinceau – This former Paul Nicholl's inmate, fairly bolted up for the Nick Mitchell yard, over 3 ½ miles a month ago. The french-bred gelding, seems versatile with regards the ground. Angus Cheleda's valuable 7lb claim, will give this Southern-raider a lovely racing weight of around 10 stone.
Chapel Stile – This 9 year old ticks a lot of the boxes, carrying 10 stone 8 lbs on Sunday, won impressively last time out, hails from the winning stable from the last Scottish National, and is a course winner – what's not to like.
Chidswell – Has the Grimthorpe win a couple of years ago in his favour(also 4th this year), Nicky Richards won the last running of this. Bled from the nose when pulled up in the last running of this 4 miler. Perhaps at 12, I shouldn't considering this dual course winner, but his last run proved he is still running well, and will love the quick ground
Dino Boy – owner Ray Anderson-Green has had some nice horses over the years including Cheltenham festival winner Sparky Gayle and dual-Scottish National winner Merigo. The Iain Jardine trained eight year old, won the Borders National in December, albeit his rival at the last fence unseated.
Then he ran second in the 4 mile 1 furlong Edinburgh National, so with stamina looking his forte, coupled with being ‘out of the handicap' (these have a great recent place record in the race),
Dingo Dollar – Sandy Thomson has previously trained a third in this race(Seeyouatmidnight in 2016). Despite having to carry a few lbs more(11st 2) than is ideal for this stamina test, this previously-trained Alan King gelding, has an excellent profile for the race.
The nine year old, recently bolted up over 3 miles at Newcastle, and the trainer is adept at improving horses from other yards and Dingo is currently rated 3lbs lower than his career peak when trained by King. Champion jockey Brian Hughes picks up the spare, as Ryan Mania stays loyal to his festival winner Vintage Clouds.
As you can tell, I favour the lower weighted horses, at nice each-way prices, this has served me well in the past. It should be a great spectacle once again on Sunday, over the 27 fences, the weather has been excellent all week, though there could be a chance of weekend rain, according to the forecast.
Remember to shop around for your preferred extended places/prices etc. Good luck with your bets.
Scottish Grand National – Dingo Dollar (9/1 each-way Gentingbet)
Scottish Grand National – Dino Boy (22/1 each-way Gentingbet)
Scottish Grand National – Chapel Stile (25/1 each-way Paddy Power)
Scottish Grand National – Coup de Pinceau (28/1 each-way Sporting Index)
Scottish Grand National – Chidswell (40/1 each-way Paddy Power)