Just a week on from the conclusion of the Aintree Grand National our attentions are now focused on one of the highlights of the Scottish sporting calendar, the Scottish Grand National.
As always it has attracted some of the finest staying chasers in the UK & Ireland. A field of 28 runners line up on Saturday afternoon at 4.05pm.
Not quite as far as the Aintree version, the race is run over a distance of approximately 4 miles and 110 yards (6,538 metres) and 27 fences and is open to horses aged five years old or over.
Scottish Grand National: Last 10 Winners
2018 – JOE FARRELL (33/1)
2017 – VICENTE (9/1 jfav)
2016 – VICENTE (14/1)
2015 – WAYWARD PRINCE (25/1)
2014 – AL CO (40/1)
2013 – GODSMEJUDGE (12/1)
2012 – MERIGO (15/2)
2011 – BESHABAR (15/2)
2010 – MERIGO (18/1)
2009 – HELLO BUD (12/1)
Scottish Grand National: Trends
There are plenty of pointers available over the past ten years which are all worth bearing in mind. You are looking for horses that fit the following criteria:
- Won over 3 miles or further
- Posted their career high RPR of 140+ in a long distance chase
- Won a Class 2 or 3 chase in last 18 months
- Won a chase worth £15,000 (or placed in a chase worth £45,000+)
- Run in 10 to 22 chases (or placed in the 4 mile novice chase at Cheltenham Festival)
- Course winner
- Bypassed the Aintree Grand National
- Horses that finished in first seven in this season’s Hennessy Gold Cup do well
- Ran in the Grimthorpe, 4m NH Novice Chase or Somerset National last time
- Trained in Great Britain (ideally by N Twiston-Davies, P Hobbs or A King)
- Irish trained runners do not fare well. Last winner in 1869!
- Aged 7 to 9 (won 6 of the last 10 renewals)
- Carrying 10st 6lb or less
- Officially rated 146 or lower (ideal range 134 to 139)
- Horses carrying a penalty often do well
- Run 3 to 6 times this season, 2 had not won a race during the campaign.
- Finished in the first 6 last time
- Posted an RPR of 140+ in one or all of last 3 chase starts
- No favourite in the last ten renewals has been successful although four have been placed (including joint and co favs).
- Eight winners had their preceding start in either March or April, of the exceptions one ran in the last week of February and the other in late December.
Scottish Grand National: Key Statistics
- Official Rating no greater than 146 (10/10)
- Won over at least 3 miles (10/10)
- Ran in a Class 2 or 3 race last time out (10/10)
- Aged between 8 and 11 years old (8/10)
- Carried no more than 10st 9lbs (8/10)
- Top 2 finish during last 2 starts (9/10)
- At least 10 previous races over fences (8/10)
- Last raced within the previous 43 days (8/10)
- Not won a chase above Class 2 level (8/10)
- Between 4 and 6 starts that season (8/10)
Scottish Grand National: 2019 Contenders
Vintage Clouds, a first-fence faller at Aintree last week, returns quickly to a racecourse to try and make amends for that unfortunate early departure.
Trained by Sue Smith, the grey was a popular choice in the betting for the Grand National, but his supporters knew their fate rather early as he met the first obstacle all wrong.
Vintage Clouds previously chased home the Nicky Henderson-trained Beware The Bear in the Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month, and the pair renew rivalry in this with Henderson’s charge being lumbered with the top weight.
The Alan King-trained Dingo Dollar and has been one of the leaders in the ante-post market horse racing odds for this race after finishing second in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster last month and his jockey Wayne Hutchinson believes he has a great chance.
King and Hutchinson combined to land the 2013 Scottish Grand National with Godsmejudge, and Dingo Dollar has every chance of following in his footsteps.
The seven-year-old finished runner-up to Crosshue Boy at this meeting last year and has since run a creditable third to Sizing Tennessee and Elegant Escape in the former Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November.
The Lucinda Russell-trained Big River was certainly a major eyecatcher from The Festival last month and is one of the few in the line-up who has won at Ayr before.
His Prestbury Park running-on late exertions left the impression that an even stiffer test would suit. He would probably like the ground a little bit more testing at the weekend but can still put up a bold show.
Eider Chase winner Crosspark comes here in good heart and there is no reason why the Caroline Bailey-trained nine-year-old cannot run yet another competitive race under Harry Skelton.
At a bit of a longer price Chic Name is a horse that is worth a second look as he seems to come good in the spring, winning the Highland National at Perth last April.
Trained by Richard Hobson and owned by The Boom Syndicate, the seven-year-old accounted for last year’s winner Joe Farrell last time out and has every chance of following up.
Borders trainer Sandy Thomson has been targeting Geronimo at Scotland’s richest race ever since the chestnut gelding won the Watch Racing TV Now Handicap Chase on January 20th.
Owner Ken McGarrity was quite keen on running Geronimo in the National Hunt Chase at one stage but Thomson believes this is the race the eight-year-old will excel in.
Scottish Grand National 2019: Conclusion
It’s time to play up your Tiger Roll winnings from last Saturday and have yet another “National” dabble right? These Nationals certainly come along with some regularity.
Given the patient waiting game Sandy Thomson has played with Geronimo he shall be my main each-way selection along with Chic Name who looks primed to follow up on his last run.
888sport suggests: Geronimo and Chic Name (e/w).
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*