Just one week after 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.
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.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary attempts to win his third Grand National in less than a month. His Gigginstown Stud owned Rogue Angel won the Irish Grand National at the end of March and last Saturday the same colours were carried to victory at Aintree by Rule The World.
O’Leary has Measureofmydreams, trained by Willie Mullins and Folsom Blue from the Mouse Morris stable going to post in the Scottish National. If Mouse Morris were to take the race with Folsom Blue it will be a hat of National wins for the trainer too.
Scottish trained hopes in the £210,000 race come down to Seeyouatmidnight, trained in the Borders by Sandy Thomson and Milborough which is stabled just a few miles from the course in Coylton and trained by Ian Duncan.
Cause Of Causes, who failed to make the cut for last week’s Aintree marathon, has been the favourite for the race since the declarations were confirmed. The horse won the Kim Muir at Cheltenham and was regarded as being “well in” for Aintree, but as you see from the table above the race has been somewhat of a graveyard for favourites over the last ten years.
Trends & 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 ten 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 (9/10)
- Carried no more than 10st 9lbs (9/10)
- 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)
Given the fact that the last three winners of this race have been 25/1, 40/1 and 12/1 it may pay to focus your attention away from the principles in the market and look at the slightly longer priced runners.
Ian Duncan’s ten-year-old, Milborough, is a former Eider Chase winner (2015) and for a horse to win that race it has to have stamina in abundance. Milborough came seventh in this year’s Eider and never really recovered from a mistake part way through the race. He was second last time out in a hotly contested Veterans’ Chase and showed he can still be involved at the business end of things in stamina sapping races.
Tour Des Champs was the winner of a gruelling Sussex National at Plumpton at the end of March and looks the sort to be grinding it out late in a race of this nature. The nine-year-old is trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and carries the colours made famous by Bindaree in the Grand National at Aintree in 2002. Twiston-Davies and his jockey, Ryan Hatch, have enjoyed some high profile wins this season and at 33/1 his odds look more than generous.
Other TV fancies
2.00 Newbury – Blue Surf e/w
2.25 Ayr – Mckinley e/w
2.40 Newbury – Blue Bayou
3.00 Ayr – Clondaw Warrior e/w
3.15 Newbury – Crazy Horse
3.35 Ayr – Just Cameron e/w
3.50 Newbury – Arthenus e/w
4.10 Ayr – Milborough & Tour Des Champs e/w