16/1+ Scottish National winner
Frank Monkhouse | 22 April 2017
We target a big price in the showpiece at Ayr
The Coral Scottish Grand National lines up at Ayr racecourse on Saturday at 3.55pm, with a bumper 30-runner field expected to battle it out over the gruelling three miles seven furlongs trip. Not only do we sponsor the highlight of the Scottish racing season, we also aim to nudge you in the direction of a big price winner.
Our racing team have picked through the runners and riders, and return with four selections from the race that should give you a serious run for your money at chunky odds. If you’re going to solve this race, you deserve to be well paid for your efforts.
Sugar Baron @ 16/1
Nicky Henderson has three in the race, including antepost favourite Premier Bond, but we believe his six-year-old gelding Sugar Baron looks better placed to pull-off an upset. He finished sixth in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival last time out, but deserves more credit than the bare result suggests. Encountering his fair share of trouble in the early part of the race, he rallied to pick off the stragglers at the business end, and caught the eye in doing so.
Has a couple of things going in his favour here, including trip and ground. A few question marks hanging over his head, but that has been factored into the price, and he looks well worth the benefit of the doubt at the current odds. One to keep close if at his best.
Trustan Times @ 16/1
Looks to be on his way back to form since teaming up with trainer Mark Walford, and goes to Ayr on the back of an encouraging win last time out around Kelso. That was a welcome, if unexpected, return to the winner’s enclosure for an 11-year-old who hadn’t done anything of note for a long time.
Has been hampered with injury, but boasts all-important race form, finishing third in the Scottish National back in 2014. He is a lot better treated here than when giving that effort, and if Trustan Times is over the worst of his problems – and that win at Kelso suggests that he is – we could be on for a great story here.
Fine Rightly @ 33/1
Another who hasn’t been pulling his weight of late, but it does look like connections have been aiming Fine Rightly at this race for some time now, and that could turn out to be a shrewd tactic. The nine-year-old gelding brings an impressive CV, including a couple of grade three cheers.
Punters with a keen eye won’t be in any rush to write off his third in the grade one Irish Gold Cup behind Carlingford Lough and Road To Riches last year either. Despite making the trip from his Irish base, he’s no stranger to this course, and that will go down as another positive. The pointers are there to suggest he has been overpriced and I’d make him best of the four, with value in mind.
Vivaldi Collonges @ 33/1
The fourth and final pick of our potential upsetters and Vivaldi Collenges has reserved some of his best performances for Ayr. He has scored in each of his previous two visits, including his most recent win at last year’s Scottish National festival.
If our thinking is correct he will be glad to see this place again, and happy to pick up where he left off. That is a bit of a gamble, but the 33/1 makes it a chance worth taking. Paul Nicholls pairs jockey Harry Cobden with the pick, and that looks a smart choice. He certainly deserves more respect than the 33/1, if judging this on his best efforts.