A Look at the Main Contenders for the Scottish National
Just a week after a thrilling Grand National at Aintree where we saw Tiger Roll make history, we have another top quality staying chase this weekend with the Scottish National. At four miles, this race offers a very similar test to the big race at Aintree, and is often seen as a race for those who are just short of getting into the National, either in terms of ability or staying power.
This year the race looks to be a typically competitive affair, with plenty of runners in with a chance. We are likely to see a favourite with a starting price of around 6 or 7/1, which is far bigger than the 4/1 that Tiger Roll was sent off. We are not allowed 40 runners in this one, but we do still have a very big field of 28 going to post in what is sure to be a fast paced, exciting renewal.
The Scottish National Contenders
The first horse we have to talk about here is certainly Vintage Clouds, who was a runner in the Grand National last week. He fell at the first fence and this race is certainly a backup plan for him, but one that has a chance of coming off if he can get into his rhythm around Ayr. Owner Trevor Hemmings has previously won this race with a horse that fell at the first fence in the Grand National with Vicente, and what a remarkable double it would be if this horse gave him the same feat here.
Vintage Clouds was fancied for the National and assuming that he is none the worse for his fall then he looks as though he should go very close here. Jumping is not his strongest point, but once in a rhythm he jumps well enough to win races, and is a big contender.
While we are on the subject of suspect jumpers, we may as well talk about Big River, a horse who is currently the favourite for this contest at 7/1. He ran at Cheltenham over 3m1f behind Beware The Bear, a horse who we will get to in a minute. Based on that run, and what we have seen from him before, there is no doubt that Big River needs further than that nowadays, and this four mile test will be something he will relish.
He is certainly prone to the odd mistake though, and loses lengths at the fences he doesn’t quite catch right. He is weighted to win big races like this one right now, will love the test of stamina that this race brings, but you do have to worry about his jumping.
The horse that beat him at Cheltenham was Beware The Bear, and he won nicely that day. He has gone up in the weights as a result of that, but there was a lot to like about his attitude, and he has previously ran pretty well over extreme distances like this one.
He comes here on the back of two victories, and perhaps more importantly, this is just his fourth run of the season, meaning he will be one of the fresher horses in this race, which could play a part. This is a horse in great form, with a win recently, and one who should run well again.
The final horse to mention is Dingo Dollar, a horse who has ran with credit in some big races already this season. This will be the first time we have seen him over a distance greater than 3m2f, so there is a question mark about his stamina, however he has shown no signs of slowing down and not getting home so far.
The big problem with him is that he continues to go without a win this season, but he is running well enough to remain on the same handicap mark. He is just one pound lower now than he was at the start of the season despite losing four races, and the feeling is he may need a little more help from the handicapper to get his head in front.
Scottish National Tips
I’m going to take a chance here and side with Vintage Clouds. There is no doubt the horse has talent, and let’s hope he gets into a rhythm which he was unable to do last week. If he does that then I get the feeling that he goes very close in this race.