Apart from the drastic change in the weather there’s not a lot going that might be of interest to my lone reader …me. It has been blooming cold up here let’s hope the Spring sunshine is back before too long.
So, leaving aside the Ukraine the Oscars and “Partygate” it is probably wise to stick with what we know a small amount about.
Having an idle ten minutes I was having a look through the jump jockey stats as we head into the last two and half weeks of the season. Brian Hughes was sitting on 189 winners from just over 870 rides his nearest pursuer Sam T-D has just hit 100 winners. It has been obvious for a while that Hughes would regain the championship, but it looks like he may struggle to hit the two hundred. Hughes seems to follow the late Arthur Stephenson philosophy “little fish are sweet” as he seems happy to pick up winners at the lesser tracks and steer clear of the bigger ones. Meanwhile Kevin Brogan looks nailed on to be champion conditional which is pleasing as we mentioned him last season as one to follow.
The weekends action looks pretty good with the Scottish Grand National the centrepiece. 24 declared and the usual wide-open race.
Selection – 3:35 Ayr – Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase
I have been a devoted follower of Kitty’s Light for the last two seasons and have some hard luck stories to recount but they are for another day. Christian Williams gelding is still only six and the long final straight will suit but at around 9/2 I will have to reluctantly pass him over. Although having said that come Saturday I will no doubt have a few quid on him for old times’ sake…. sound of violins in background. I think the three seven-year-olds all have good chances Fantastikas, Stormy Judge and Major Dundee. They are unexposed and have only run in five six and three chases respectively. My choice from the three would be the lowest weighted of them Alan King’s Major Dundee as the other two would seem to need deeper ground than the good to soft which is forecast for Saturday. All three are around the 10/1 mark so even if you back one of the other two you should get a decent run at good odds. However Sandy Thomson and Iain Jardine will be doing their best to keep the prize money north of the Border and the booking of red hot Irish conditional Mark McDonagh for Thomson’s top weight Hill Sixteen catches the eye. The gelding is up nine pounds for a decent run last time at Kelso, but McDonagh takes off a valuable five. At around 18/1 he will do for me to keep the pot in Scotland.
1. Hill Sixteen
Selection – 1:15 Ayr – Scotty Brand Handicap Chase
The first race at 1.15pm is a good quality two-mile listed event with ten declared although Gordon Elliott’s Coach Carter is also declared on Friday so might be missing. The in-form Tom Lacey sends Sebastopol on the long trek North and this last time out winner won’t be far away but at around 2/1 he’s not for me. Better value could be Iain Jardine’s Gold Des Bois, the eight-year-old’s chance is not immediately apparent, but his owner Raymond Anderson Green loves a winner at this meeting. His doughty stayer Merigo won the big race in 2010 and 2012 and was second in 2011 so Gold Des Bois might just be primed to strike. He is down 10 lbs from his opening race this season so a price of around 8/1 looks tempting.
1. Gold Des Bois
As I said not a lot to write about but hopefully a home trained winner of the Scottish National will keep the Press boys occupied in the run up to Aintree. I see this week my selection Fidddlerontheroof is down to 16/1 from 25s which is hopefully a positive ……there again.
Have a good weekend and roll-on Aintree.
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.