After a successful Saturday, and a profitable Aintree, the action turns to Ayr for the third National in less than two weeks. All eyes are on the Scottish National, and I’ve four horses on the card to watch for.
1:15 – Scotty Brand Handicap Chase – Return Ticket @ 7/1 (Betfred, BetVictor)
Always a good little contest and I’m looking for the value in the race. Frere D’Armes looks to be a deserved favourite, improving all the time in the season, but the price he has is far too short to side with him. Instead I’m going with Return Ticket at 7/1, who won the contest last year. He was off a mark of 137 last year and is a pound lower this time around. Conditions will suit and can provide some stiff competition to the short-priced favourite.
2:25 – Scottish Champion Hurdle – Soaring Glory @ 11/2 (General)
A competitive contest, made more competitive thanks to it being a limited handicap. Colonel Mustard is the favourite, but he can be taken on due the handicap nature of the race. Soaring Glory doesn’t look fantastic on recent form, but his last winning mark was 143. He had a good run in the 2022 Betfair Hurdle, and has raced only twice since. The mark should pay dividends and conditions won’t be a problem. Milkwood, who won the 2021 edition, is 4lbs lower than her win in this race and presents the each-way value.
3:00 – Future Champion Novices’ Chase – Balco Coastal @ 9/4 (William Hill)
Balco Coastal has been there or thereabouts this season, but the form from the Scilly Isles has, just about, worked out. The Grade One hopes haven’t worked out, so this seems to be more to his level Three pounds better than the next best at 150, he’s the one to beat. Telmesomethinggirl, for me, is overpriced with her weight allowance. She’s used to racing against other mares, but may just sneak into the placings ahead of Thunder Rock.
3:35 – SCOTTISH GRAND NATIONAL – Your Own Story @ 7/1 (General)
Monbeg Genius and Kitty’s Light have been fancied for this race for a long time, but I think they can be opposed. Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox won the Grand National last week, and I fancy them to do the double with Your Own Story. Marathon runners are the ones to side with, and Your Own Story loves a big trip. Won a marathon race at Wetherby, and nearly won one at Haydock last time out. The handicapper has been kind raising him 4lbs, and makes him very light in the weights. He’s the one for me at 7/1.
Manothepeople for Fergal O’Brien, who’s had a stellar season, is also one who’s been hammered in. Was around 25/1 in the week, has halved in price to 12/1 generally. He’s had a great novice season, and looks to be a marathon runner for the future. I’ve seen his two wins at Chepstow in person, and he was very eye-catching. The weight makes him appealing to back, and there’s 14/1 prices available, with BetUK.
Half Shot could do something at a massive price. The race that catches the eye was his run at Kelso last month, finishing a head behind Bill Baxter. Bill Baxter franked the form at Aintree, the third has finished second and won on its next two starts. Fourth finished second next time out, and the fifth won on her next start. And Half Shot finished second in his next race, but was 8-and-a-half-lengths clear of the rest. His mark may have inflated, but he could deliver some good prize money for a yard who have had a terrible time of late. 50/1, with Betfred, is worth a small each-way tickle.
The very best of luck!