So did you get the winner of the Grand National less weekend? Well, unless you are a huge Take That fan, or you just live Ryanair, then the chances are you didn’t. How about the tricast? Nah, with a 33/1 shot and a 100/1 shot in third, if you copped that, well, you deserve every penny of the £23181.66 that it paid. It would have been some Saturday night if you somehow landed it. Anyway, it was another classic Grand National, and we had three possible winners as they jumped the last, and it was the run in, as ever, that put pay to two of the three. Now the Grand National meeting traditionally marks the end of the National Hunt season, but we still have a few meetings left, and we’ve got the Scottish National meeting this week from Ayr, as well as the Scottish Champion Hurdle. However, now all roads point to HQ and the Guineas meeting as the flat season starts to get into its stride, as we see some familiar faces, as well as a new crop of two year-olds to mesmerise us in the coming weeks and months. As you know, I do prefer my National Hunt racing over my flat racing, but at the end of the day, horse racing is horse racing, and any chance to watch it is a good one. The big meeting at Newbury was cancelled, but Chelmsford have stepped in to help out, which is great for the big names to get a run in, even if it is on the all-weather.
The bookies are claiming victory after the Grand National, with reports suggesting it was a £75m day for them, even though a lot of hot pots romped to victory over the meeting, such as Annie Power, Douvan and Thistlecrack. Australia has the Melbourne Cup that stops a nation, we have the Grand National and, as ever, the bookies love it. Saturday April 16th, the free horse racing tips, as ever, are for Channel Four Racing, and we’ve got racing from Chelmsford on the all-weather, as well as the big Scottish National meeting from Ayr to get stuck into. And if you want to get back some of that £75m the bookies took off the punters last week, get over to our friends at Bet365, because they love their horse racing, and they will give you the best price on every horse race shown live on Channel Four if you back it from 10am on the day of the race. So wait until 10am Saturday and get the best price, as they will match their competitors. But on top of that, if you back a winner at 4/1 or more at Bet365 on any of the Channel Four races, you get a free bet that matches your stake on the winner for the next Channel Four race. Happy days!
An interesting race to start the day on the all-weather, over 1 mile and 5 furlongs. We’ve got six runners, and a couple with no experience on the all-weather, which makes things just a little bit trickier.
Sandro Botticelli is quite an interesting runner on his all-weather debut, and connections do look imposing, especially with Frankie on-board.
However, Sound of Freedom looks a very interesting recruit for Marco Botti. She gets a nice allowance from the rest of the field due to age and sex, and she has been racing in a far better quality of race that the field, competing at Group 1 level, and showing a lot of promise. If she takes to the all-weather and doesn’t have any rust, she should have enough to blow this field away.
This race really is about Bristol De Mai. We’ve followed him most of the season, and his second at Cheltenham being Black Hercules looks great. Will we be going against him in this field? Of course not! He’s had enough time off from Cheltenham that the bounce shouldn’t be a factor, and this field really isn’t up to the quality he’s faced for most of the season.
Le Mercurey could be the threat, but he disappointed at Cheltenham when in better company, and Bristol De Mai should have the beating of him without too much trouble.
A nice little Group 3 for the fillies here, and a few of live ones in the field that could put on a classy show.
Besharah stamped her mark on some really classy races last season, and was one of the top two-year-olds last year. If she takes to the all-weather and has no rust, she’ll have far too much for the field. However, she was a class act on the turf, but all-weather is a bit different. Plus, we do have some other classy sorts in the field with that experience on the all-weather, as well as having a run to get them ready for this.
Marenko has a run under her belt already this season, which was a nice win on the all-weather at Kempton. We know she can handle a surface other than turf, and she’ll be ready to go for this race. With the addition of Ryan Moore on board, Marneko appeals just a little more than Besharah, who I was looking forward to seeing this season, albeit on the turf.
The first big race from Ayr today is the Scottish Champion Hurdle, and unlike the big Champion Hurdle this one is a handicap, but still over the same distance of 2 miles.
Cloudy Dream looks to be off a nice mark right at the bottom of the handicap, but it’s a real test for him this time. He’s handicapped well, but I’m not sure if it’s a bit too much of a step up in class right now, as there are some nice sorts in this field that are well handicapped, too.
Sternrubin is one I’ve liked a lot this year, and his 3rd in the County Hurdle is huge. He’s looking well-in at the weights h ere, and I think that the Hobbs and Johnson combination will be far too powerful here on a horse I’ve liked all season.
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Another huge race here at Chelmsford, even if we’ve only got a field of four declared. However, although four are declared, it really should be a two-way shootout for this race, between two of the smartest two year olds in training. Yes, they might not take to the surface, but they’re so far ahead of the other two that it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Basically, we’re going for value here, and as Tasleet is currently the shorter price of the two, we’ll go for Log Out Island as the selection here, simply because it’s a coin toss for me, and the Godolphin star is currently the better value.
A 2 mile handicap chase is next up from Ayr, and we have seven runners declared.
Solar Impulse won the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival, and could be hard to beat is replicating that form. He’s lightly raced this season, so could still be well ahead of the handicapper. There really is a lot to like about Solar Impulse, but he’s been hammered at the weights for his big win, which isn’t going to help.
Instead, we’ll be looking to Always On The Run who has proved to be a revelation since dropping back in trip to the minimum distance. He struggled over the middle distances, but is now going for a hat-trick over the 2 mile distance, and Paddy Brennan has been on board for the last two wins, too, which is a huge plus.
It’s Power Game or nothing here. Godolphin are flying right now, and Power Game has won on the course before, which is a huge plus. Sure, he’ll go off short enough, but the field isn’t that strong, and he’s a really classy individual who should pick up some decent prizes for the boys in blue this season.
The last race of the day, the lucky last, and it’s the Scottish National, about as hard to pick a winner of as the Grand National from Aintree.
Vyta Du Roc could be exceptionally well in at the weight here after his run in the RSA at Cheltenham. He put Seeyouatmidnight in his place, even if he was a way back from Blaklion. However, it’s a big step up in trip for a novice, and I just don’t think he’ll cope with the trip. If he does, he should win, but I can’t see it.
Cause of Causes won the Kim Muir at Cheltenham comfortably, but this is a different proposition, as we’ve not got the amateurs competing today, it’s the big boys. The same applies to Measureofmydreams, the third place finisher in the National Hunt Cup. The handicapped hasn’t been kind to either of them really, and it’s a different kind of field this time round.
Instead, we’re going to be going for Golden Chieftan who was unlucky in his last two starts, falling while in command. If he can get a clear run in, he looks so well handicapped that he could turn it into a procession.