IT’S a marathon racing day on the main ITV channel Saturday with nine races shown from the big Scottish National meeting at Ayr and on the Flat at Newbury.
There’s something for everyone, so let’s get straight to it, and the 1.25pm at Ayr is a handicap chase over an extended 2m. FOREST BIHAN was a good fourth behind Croco Bay at Cheltenham in the Grand Annual and this is just the type of race he can run well in. He’s not got anything in hand at the weights but has an each-way shout for Brian Ellison.
The 1.55pm at Ayr is a handicap chase over 3m. KILFILUM CROSS ran huge in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham for Henry Oliver and has a big shout here to make amends. Jumps and stays well. Next at Ayr is the Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle, a handicap over 2m at 2.25pm.
VERDANA BLUE has a tough task under top weight. However, her running style is suited to this event and her young jockey takes off 7lb for Nicky Henderson. So back her for a place at least.
There’s a Grade 2 novices’ chase over an extended 2m4f at 3.00pm. SECRET INVESTOR has been a bit of slow learner over fences and been expensive to follow. But he came good for Paul Nicholls last time and can follow up. And finally at Ayr the big one, the Scottish Grand National over 4m at 3.35pm.
GERONIMO is up 12lb for a recent success but is right down the bottom of the weights for Sandy Thomson. Stamina seems to be his forte and while there are bigger names in the field, I have a feeling he will run a cracker and is another fabulous each-way bet where Paddy’s paying 6 places.
Meanwhile, over on the Flat at Newbury coverage starts with the 1.40pm, the Group 3 John Porter over 1m4f. Defoe and Young Rascal may well both make up into Group 1 winners this term, but getting 3lb over this trip I have to be with DEFOE who technically has 4lb in hand. He was good in this last year and has a great chance of following up for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni.
Next at Newbury is the 2.10pm, the fillies’ Classic trial which is the Group 3 Fred Darling over 7f. A wide-open renewal with So Perfect having stamina doubts. I’ll have a few quid each-way on STAR TERMS, who tackled top company as a juvenile and stays this trip strong. She is vulnerable to an improver and there may well be one in here. But she gives Tom Marquand a big chance of hitting the frame.
It’s the turn of the Colts next with the Greenham Classic Trial over 7f at 2.40pm. This might also go to Hannon with BOITRON, who does not have the highest rating but may well improve. He looked good until being beaten into fourth in Group 1 company in France. However, he’s now running for the first time since a wind operation and could be much better than we saw that day.
And finally the 3.15pm at Newbury is the competitive Spring Cup over 1m. EXEC CHEF ran a great race behind my hope Petrus in the Spring Mile at Doncaster and has every chance of going one better here.
He’s raced up to 10f, so stays strong and is surely hard to keep out the frame.
A great each-way bet at decent odds even if he’s at the head of the market.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?