Many thanks to Albert Hammond and The Hollies for inspiring(?) today’s headline which prefaces Scottish Grand National day at the Caledonian track.
Big race takes place at 3.35 and has a field of 22 vying for the £84 grand prize.
Bearing in mind one can spend many hours studying the form, come up with two hot selections and then the Irish horse wins it, we will keep stakes modest on our two picks.
Chapel Stile, trained by Nicky Richards looks to have been perfectly prepared for this race, tuning up over hurdles before taking a 3m+ chase at Carlisle at the end of February. Race distance looks to hold no fears and, at 18-1, an each way bet is advised.
Our other pick is Some Chaos, from Michael Scudamore‘s yard. Just 10 spins over fences for this 10-y-o, but it’s won five of them and is another using the hurdle route to prepare for its big day. An each way bet at 20-1 could pay dividends.
Televised action starts at 1.15 with the Scotty Brand Handicap Chase, which has King D’Argent installed as 6-4 favourite.
Dan Skelton‘s 6-y-o comes here on a hat-trick, but a 9lb rise for beating not very much last time may do it in and we prefer the chances of Grand Sancy from Paul Nicholls stable.
Two miles is the trip for this one, rather than the two and a half it’s been campaigning over lately and the return of the headgear is another plus. At 3-1 we recommend a win bet.
The Novices Champion Handicap Chase, a valuable event for, er, Novice Chasers at 1.50 has a wide open look about it with the Irish raider Pilbara and the four-timer seeking Five Star Getaway disputing favouritism, but we are going to oppose both with Marown, another from the Nicky Richards yard.
Last seen winning a Novice event by 38 lengths, esteemed trainer nominated this race as the next target and who are we to argue. At 15-2, an each way whack is suggested.
Another in this race which could outrun its odds is Dead Right, trained by Neil Mulholland. This 9-y-o had a warm up at the Cheltenham Festival (!) over the wrong trip and there may be a much improved showing today at 14-1.
At 2.25 the Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle is run and, if ever a horse deserves to win a good pot, it has to be Milkwood.
Unlucky not to win a Listed handicap at Newbury in November, when severely hampered by a late faller, this 7-y-o then finished 3rd in the County Hurdle at the Festival despite losing a shoe. Compensation hopefully awaits and we recommend a win bet at 11-4.
In the Future Champions Novices Chase at 3.00 the Skelton‘s Allmankind has upwards of 10lbs in hand on official ratings but, after failing to get up the hill at Cheltenham last month, we wonder about today’s new trip of an extra half mile.
We’ll take it on with Tamaroc Du Mathan from Mr Nicholls‘ team.
Beaten by Shishkin (who isn’t?) in December, TDM comfortably won a good event at Kempton when stepped up to today’s distance and is worth a punt at 13-8.
Cameras are also at the meeting at Newbury this afternoon and it’s a quality card but somewhat dangerous for betting purposes.
We’ll content ourselves with an interest in two of the races, starting with the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at 2.45.
Frankly, Chindit should win this. Already a Group 2 winner as a 2-y-o and unpenalised for that, ground and trip are perfect and the yard sound confident.
Have a win bet at 15-8.
Finally, we’ll have a bash at the MansionBet Spring Cup at 3.20.
Fraught with danger with 17 runners, mostly first time outers, we suggest modest each way bets on Nugget at 9-2 and The Gill Brothers at 20s.
C’est tout, mes amis.
Chapel Stile 3.35 Ayr 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (6 places)
Some Chaos 3.35 Ayr 1pt e/w@ 20-1 (6 places)
Grand Sancy 1.15 Ayr 2pts win @ 3-1
Marown 1.50 Ayr 1.5pts e/w @ 15-2 (4 places)
Dead Right 1.50 Ayr 1pt e/w@ 14-1 (4 places)
Milkwood 2.25 Ayr 2pts win @ 11-4
Tamaroc Du Mathan 3.00 Ayr 3pts win @ 13-8
Chindit 2.45 Newbury 4pts win @ 15-8
Nugget 3.20 Newbury 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (5 places)
The Gill Brothers 3.20 Newbury 1pt e/w @ 20-1 (5 places)