Another Grand National has come and gone. You can read my thoughts on Saturdays big race. As well as a look ahead to another Grand National, the Scottish, which takes place at Ayr on Saturday. All this plus my Monday tip can be found inside….
Eye of The Tiger
When Red Rum won the last of his three Grand National’s back in 1976, just 9,000 people watched the race. On Saturday almost 70,000 were in attendance. Those figures show that the race remains in good health.
So, it was probably right that Tiger Roll should win and become the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to win the race in successive years. The 9-year-old doesn’t have the build of a chaser but he’s arguably the most natural horse over the national fences since Red Rum.
Absolutely cantering over his rivals coming to two out and soon was pushed clear. Like last season the little horse seemed to idle on the run in the final 100yds. He probably ran to something like 175 on Saturday and if that’s the case he must a have a great chance of winning the race for a third successive year in 2020
The National Continues to Thrive
The changes made to the National fences have done the race a great favour. Yes, it’s not the race it used to be but to the wider general public it remains the great spectacle it always has been.
Too many “racing folk” seem to want to turn the clock back to the so called “good old days”. I can’t subscribe to that at all. Lest we forget the “good old days” of the Grand National involved drops on the landing sides so steep they broke many a horse’s leg and the ditches were so deep that fallen horses had to be hauled out of them.
We still have a Grand National to enjoy and that's down to the race modifications introduced. It's possible without them it wouldn't still be with us today.
Horse racing made the headlines for the right reasons on Saturday with Tiger Roll's win and rumours of the death of the Grand National look premature after Saturday.
Coral Scottish Grand National
On Saturday it’s the latest renewal of Scotland’s most famous race The Coral Scottish Grand National.
There is only one Grand National but the Scottish version of the race is up there with the Irish & Welsh races.
Which horse will be adding its name to the alumni of winners this year?
Big River – The bookies ante-post favourite. He ran an eye-catching race when staying on strongly to finish 4th of 24 in the Ultima Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival. The 9-year -old could well improve for the step up to 4m. His best form has come with plenty of juice in the ground so how he will cope with good ground is a bit of an unknown.
Dingo Dollar, trained by Alan King, is next in the betting. The 7-year-old was runner-up in the valuable novices’ handicap chase at last years meeting and this race could well have been a target for the trainer.
Crosshue Boy, beat Dingo Doller 12 months ago and there shouldn’t be much between the pair again. The 9-year-old has been subject to some good support for the race over the weekend. No issues with good ground for this one and if he stay’s the 4m, the Irish trained horse can go close.
Give Me A Copper, trained by Paul Nicholls, returned from a 446-day break when 4th at Sandown, before falling in the Ultima was beaten at the time. He’s highly regarded by his trainer and remains capable of improvement over fences. A mark of 143 could underestimate him.
Ibis Du Rheu, another possible runner for the Nicholls stable. A winner of a good ground Cheltenham novices’ chase on his seasonal reappearance back in November.
Ran poorly at Warwick when last seen and was said to have bled from the nose after the race. That would be slight concern, but he looks an ideal type for this race.
He's a real stayer whose at his best on good ground. Not one to dismiss lightly should he get his favoured underfoot conditions.
Cloth Cap, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, made it 2 from 3, going over fences when winning at Catterick back in November. A 141-day absence to overcome but the 7-year-old remains open to more improvement over fences. He's well suited to good ground and a mark of 134 looks more than workable.
Geronimo, would be a popular local winner. The 8-year-old made it 2 wins from 4 runs when winning a 3m 3f handicap chase here back in January. He remains capable of more improvement over fences and could well relish this 4m trip. Best form has so far come on rain softened ground.
Verdict: A lot depends on the weather. On a sound surface both Dingo Dollar and Crosshue Boy would be strong contenders. On such going the likes of Ibis Du Rheu and Cloth Cap would also need respecting. Whilst a softer surface would bring the improving double course winner Geronimo into the reckoning.
4:20 – Gabrial The Saint, did well in the early part of last season winning at Chester and Leicester. He didn’t run to that form on his final three starts of last season. Has had a wind-op over the winter and looks on a competitive mark for his seasonal reappearance.
Gabrial The Saint – 11/2
Until next week