The Scottish Grand National is the feature contest, at Ayr this Saturday, while important flat action takes place south of the border. Seymour Biz has run the rule over both meetings and has picked-out a 7-year-old to go first past the post, in the big chase. Here are his Lucky 15 selections. You can find all recent analysis from Seymour Biz in his weekly Saturday Horse Racing Tips column.
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The jumps action moves north of the border this week to the beautiful seaside town of Ayr where the highlight of the week is the Scottish National. The card is fully backed up with some fine racing that includes the Scottish Champion Hurdle and the ITV coverage on Saturday features five races. As the flat moves to the fore, Newbury has four more televised races that include their 1000 and 2000gns trials. I was really looking forward to see how Too Darn Hot has wintered. But the Greenham Stakes will be run without him. He would have had some lively opposition here in the shape of course and distance winner, Mohaather. Besides these trials Newbury also has the Spring Cup, which is the next big handicap of season and it features several of the runners from last months Lincoln.
I will start with the MansionBet Spring Cup Handicap at Newbury with an off time of 3.15. Many of the protagonists here ran in the Lincoln at Doncaster at the end of last month. The dead heated third that day was Alan King’s Beringer. King states of his gelding that he wants the ground to dry up, but I think he is better over 10 furlongs plus he has a couple of pounds more to carry here. I think the best of the Lincoln runners could be Richard Fahey’s Third Time Lucky who finished eighth, beaten just over 5 lengths. He was keeping on at the finish after being held up. Exec Chef ran well in the Spring Mile and was only beaten half a length despite not getting a clear run with Gulf Of Poets back in fifth. But the one I like here is Roger Varian’s Ibraz who is having his first run of the season. He won twice last year at Nottingham and Sandown before running poorly at Newmarket in July when well fancied. Varian could offer no explanation for the colts performance but he has given him a good break since then and it is reported he has been working well at home.
The first race I will look out on an excellent card at Ayr is the J and D Pierce Novices Champion Handicap Chase at 1.55. The current bookies favourite is Henry Oliver’s Kilfilum Cross who ran an excellent second in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham, but I think he is a better horse aimed at amateur riders races. De Rasher Counter is at the top of the handicap, he has had a very good season but I think has risen too high in the weights to take this. Molly The Dolly won twice in the autumn but was then beaten here at Newbury in December. She has not been out since and I think is best watched at this stage. Azzerti is stepping up in distance for trainer, Alan King, and I think this is in readiness for next season and he is best watched. Ibis Du Rheu won over three miles in November and Paul Nicholl’s charge comes back after a short break. This classy individual could be the answer here.
At 2.25 it’s the CPMS Scottish Champion Hurdle which is a Limited Handicap. The bookmakers choice is Nube Negra from Dan Skelton’s stable. His early season promise seems to have faltered after a good run at Aintree last April in a Grade 1. His latest run run at Newbury showed some improvement but not enough to take this. Nicky Henderson’s Verdana Blue was unable to trouble the leaders in the Champion Hurdle and has plenty of weight here. Seddon won at Stratford in November and has been highly tried since going down to the likes of Angels Breath, Ballymore and City Island. He drops back in distance and is well handicapped here so must have a chance. But the one I especially like is Mister Fisher, Dr Richard Newland’s charge had two victories under his belt before turning up at Cheltenham for the Supreme Novices where he weakened before the last. That was a disappointing run and he can gain some recompense by taking this contest.
The main attraction, the Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase is at 3.35. Beware The Bear is at the top of the handicap after his two wins at Cheltenham including the Ultima, however he has lumps of weight for a four mile contest. Dingo Dollar from Alan King’s yard is the bookies choice. King states he has had this race in mind since his run in the Ladbrokes Trophy in December. This front runner has run twice since at Doncaster, in the latest run he ran second to Chidswell who was exceptionally well handicapped that day. Big River has run well this season without much joy and Lucinda Russell will have him primed for this, but I do not think he is quite good enough. Lower down the handicap there are several with chances including Geronimo trained by Sandy Thompson. He won a veterans Chase here in January and was then put away for this. Also at the bottom of the handicap is Jonjo O’Neill’s Cloth Cap who comes here after two victories in the autumn, he has been waiting for better ground but may be rather ring rusty. I will side with Dingo Dollar in what should be a very intriguing contest.
Saturday Lucky 15
3.15 Newbury. Ibraz
1.55 Ayr. Ibis Du Rheu
2.25 Ayr. Mister Fisher
3.35 Ayr. Dingo Dollar
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