Jumps Season - At The Races

Coral Scottish Grand National

    Ayr, Saturday 22nd April 2017.
  • Stats Guides

Last Year's Winner: Vicente

Sam Twiston-Davies
P F Nicholls
11st 3lb
Starting Price:
Season Form Figures:
Previous Best:
1st - Novices' Chase, Cheltenham (Nov 2015)

Novices are respected and Vicente gave them another success last year for Paul Nicholls after he finished fifth in the National Hunt Chase. The 2013 winner, Godsmejudge, (who also finished second in 2014), had previously been placed in the National Hunt Chase as had the 2011 winner, Beshabar, so that has been a cracking guide of late, as it has also been for the Irish Grand National.

Two first-season chasers dominated the 2005 running when Joes Edge beat Cornish Rebel and five years earlier Paris Pike was another successful novice. Nigel Twiston-Davies has also twice won the Scottish National with novices, Captain Dibble and Earth Summit, and also supplied a second in another novice, Sweet Duke. Earth Summit is the only horse aged under seven to win since 1932.

Those aforementioned Twiston-Davies successes were achieved during the 1990s but he added a third victory with Hello Bud who made all in 2009 to confirm his status as a trainer very much to bear in mind for future Scottish Nationals. Five of his last 11 runners have either won or made the frame. Alan King has registered a winner and four places from 12 starters which also very much catches the eye.

Philip Hobbs should also be noted as five of his last 14 runners have hit the frame and although Paul Nicholls has twice taken this prize, he has also gone agonisingly close twice more with Cornish Rebel and Ladalko who were both beaten a short-head. This has not been a successful race for Nicky Henderson being 0-13 during his career including last season’s joint-favourite, Vyta Du Roc. The fact he has run only 13 horses since he took out his licence in 1978 suggests, however, for whatever reason this is not a race he particularly targets and neither do the Irish.

The Grimthorpe Chase is of note and especially the winner as four of the last six winners at Doncaster to run here finished in the first three.

In addition to Hello Bud making all in 2009, in-running punters should note that Hot Weld performed likewise in 2007,Grey Abbey achieved the same feat in 2004 and Beshabar took up the running as early as the seventh fence of 27 five years ago. Clearly getting into a good rhythm up front counts for plenty and carries more importance than for weight carried for example as there are no significant weight-carrying patterns with horses winning from all over the handicap in recent seasons including top weights and even a horses racing from as much as 26lb out of the handicap.

Some will look to horses that contested the Randox Health Grand National and, especially those who ran prominently at Aintree, but you are advised to give that race a very wide berth when it comes to finding the winner of the Scottish equivalent as we have to go back to Little Polveir (unseated rider at The Chair) in 1987 to locate the last such winner. Auroras Encore was the latest Aintree winner to attempt the double three years ago but his exertions from a fortnight earlier took their toll and he was pulled up. Only Red Rum has completed the double in the same season in the long history of the Coral Scottish National which was first run in 1858. Ayr has been its home since 1966.

In the last 19 years a total of 47 horses have run in both events but none have won and just three have made the frame. Fewer horses attempt to run in both races these days (just seven in the last eight – eight if you include Battle Group who refused to race at Aintree) and it is notable that the most-recent three placed horses to run in the Grand National failed to complete at Aintree ensuring they did not have as hard a race as the finishers.

The Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick has been a fair guide featuring four winners since 1996 but the Grimthorpe Chase is also of note and especially the winner as four of the last six winners at Doncaster to run here finished in the first three including the 2015 surprise Scottish Grand National winner, Wayward Prince.

At a glance summary

Prominent racers
Contested the Betfred Classic Chase, Grimthorpe Chase or National Hunt Chase
Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, Alan King, Paul Nicholls or Philip Hobbs
Contested the Grand National
Aged under seven
Trained by Nicky Henderson

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