A tricky time for punting with the Flat horses not loving testing conditions and the jumps horses coming to the end of a busy season.
However, I’m confident we will find a few more winner this weekend in a continued bid to make Paddy’s like as miserable as we can. Hear me Paddy?
The weather means Newbury is off on Saturday so we’ll concentrate on Ayr and there’s a handicap chase to check out at 1.50pm.
I like CULTRAM ABBEY, who was out of his depth at Uttoxeter last time having fallen at the first in the Eider. Prior to that he had been in good form and he could be good enough here for Nicky Richards. Next up at Ayr is a Grade 2 Novices’ Chase over an extended 2m4f at 2.25pm.
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The one I like is BRISTOL DE MAI, who really should be good enough after a fine second to Black Hercules at Cheltenham. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge will enjoy the more testing ground and can prove good enough.
It’s the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr at 3.00pm. Despite the slow ground this is usually a real speed test and I’ll have a few quid each-way on the improving CLOUDY DREAM, right at the bottom of the weights for Malcolm Jefferson and Noel Fehily.
This six-year-old was hugely impressive at Market Rasen last time and has been shoved up 11lb as a result. The ground is a worry. But he’s improving unlike a lot of these and should have a good gallop to come off.
The Listed handicap chase at 3.35pm over nearly 2m is a tricky little heat, but I’ll have the clean jumping ALWAYS ON THE RUN for Tom George. He was impressive last time at Kempton and his racing style will be suited to this track.
The big betting race of the day is the Scottish Grand National over four miles at 4.10pm. It’s an ultra-tricky renewal, but the one I like is VICENTE for Champion trainer Paul Nicholls who is locked in a trainers’ title battle with Willie Mullins and really needs a big pay-day here to have any chance of retaining his crown.
The selection was fifth behind Minella Rocco at the Festival and is proven over extreme distances. Ground conditions are no problem and he has a bit of class. Interesting each-way at a decent price.
Let’s hope he gives us a Yeeehaaa as the jumps season enters its penultimate weekend.