Just a week on from the conclusion of the Aintree Grand National our attentions are now focused on one of the highlights of the Scottish sporting calendar, the Scottish Grand National, and as always it has attracted some of the finest staying chasers in the UK & Ireland. A maximum field of 30 runners line up on Saturday afternoon at 4.05pm.
Not quite as far as the Aintree version, the race is run over a distance of approximately 4 miles and 110 yards (6,538 metres) and 27 fences and is open to horses aged five years old or over.
The Last 10 Scottish Grand National Winners
2017 – VICENTE (9/1 jfav)
2016 – VICENTE (14/1)
2015 – WAYWARD PRINCE (25/1)
2014 – AL CO (40/1)
2013 – GODSMEJUDGE (12/1)
2012 – MERIGO (15/2)
2011 – BESHABAR (15/2)
2010 – MERIGO (18/1)
2009 – HELLO BUD (12/1)
2008 – IRIS DE BALME (66/1)
Trends And Statistics
There are plenty of pointers available over the past ten years which are all worth bearing in mind. You are looking for horses that fit most of the following criteria:
- Won over 3 miles or further
- Posted their career high RPR of 140+ in a long distance chase
- Won a Class 2 or 3 chase in last 18 months
- Won a chase worth £15,000 (or placed in a chase worth £45,000+)
- Run in 10 to 22 chases (or placed in the 4 mile novice chase at Cheltenham Festival)
- Course winner
- Bypassed the Aintree Grand National
- Horses that finished in first seven in this season’s Hennessy Gold Cup do well
- Ran in the Grimthorpe, 4m NH Novice Chase or Somerset National last time
- Trained in Great Britain (ideally by N Twiston-Davies, P Hobbs or A King)
- Irish trained runners do not fare well. Last winner in 1869!
- Aged 7 to 9 (won 6 of the last 10 renewals)
- Carrying 10st 6lb or less
- Officially rated 146 or lower (ideal range 134 to 139)
- Horses carrying a penalty often do well
- Run 3 to 6 times this season, 2 had not won a race during the campaign.
- Finished in the first 6 last time
- Posted an RPR of 140+ in one or all of last 3 chase starts
- No favourite in the last ten renewals has been successful although four have been placed (including joint and co favs).
- Eight winners had their preceding start in either March or April, of the exceptions one ran in the last week of February and the other in late December.
The Absolute Key 10 Year Statistics
- Official Rating no greater than 146 (10/10)
- Won over at least 3 miles (10/10)
- Ran in a Class 2 or 3 race last time out (10/10)
- Aged between 8 and 11 years old (8/10)
- Carried no more than 10st 9lbs (8/10)
- Top 2 finish during last 2 starts (9/10)
- At least 10 previous races over fences (8/10)
- Last raced within the previous 43 days (8/10)
- Not won a chase above Class 2 level (8/10)
- Between 4 and 6 starts that season (8/10)
The Principal Contenders?
Sue Smith’s VINTAGE CLOUDS (nap) was a gallant third in the Ultima Handicap Chase last month at Cheltenham and he had previously run a huge race when coming fourth in the Welsh Grand National Trial at Chepstow and is nicely weighted in this contest. Sue Smith almost tasted success in this race when Aurora’s Encore was beaten just a head in 2012.
VICENTE (n.b) is bidding to win the Scottish Grand National for the third year in a row.
The nine-year-old heads to Ayr after swerving the Grand National at Aintree last weekend on account of the unsuitable ground.
Vicente put in a disappointing display in his last run, pulling up in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but Ayr always appears to spark his form back into life.
The Paul Nicholls-trained horse is bidding to become the first horse since Couvrefeu II in 1913 to win the Scottish Grand National three years in a row.
The useful novice BALLYOPTIC, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies won the Towton Chase at Wetherby (beating Vintage Clouds by two-and-three-quarter lengths) and finished fourth behind Presenting Percy in the RSA at Cheltenham.
Both races are up there in terms of the standard required to win this and the eight-year-old must be a leading player on Saturday.
DOING FINE has been popular with punters in the build-up to this race. The Neil Mulholland trained 10-year-old carries just 10-6 and is a consistent sort coming back after a break. He has finished in the top five places in his last nine runs and it looks like he will be suited by this 4m trip. He usually travels well in his races and the quicker ground will be a big plus for him.
Recent Midlands Grand National winner REGAL FLOW has won his last two races in fine style and the 11-year-old is in rude health at the moment.
He gave Milansbar a 10 length spanking at Uttoxeter last time out with that horse franking the form by running well in the Grand National last weekend. The handicapper has raised him 10lbs for that victory so he will probably need to put in a career-best performance here but it is not an impossible task.
The David Pipe trained DAKLONDIKE is an interesting runner on Saturday. The progressive six-year-old has been a real revelation this season, improving for the switch to fences and every step up in trip. Connections are hopeful he will improve yet further for Ayr's four mile marathon and he could be an Aintree type for next year.
The only worry for the Professor Caroline Tisdall owner runner is that the ground may have dried out too much for him come the weekend.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*