A maximum field of 30 will contest tomorrow’s Scottish Grand National with dual winner Vicente BetVictor’s  market leader. I was delighted with the form of the Neil Mulholland runners at Cheltenham on Wednesday and the drying ground is a plus for his Doing Fine (five places) who I have long thought would have a big race in him.

Top class cards at Newbury (flat) and Ayr (jumps) this afternoon and I cannot believe the ground will be soft come post time at the Berkshire track given the recent wall-to-wall sunshine.


John Gosden has trained the winner of a division of the 10f fillies’ maiden on four occasions since 2010 and his Oaks entry Lah Ti Dar (3.00) is out of Dar Re Mi and is a sister to the talented So Mi Dar. Owned by musical impresario Lord Lloyd-Webber it is a family I like and I hope she can make a winning debut with Frankie Dettori in the saddle.

Godolphin’s White Light and Stoute’s once-raced Hazarfiya – half-sister to Derby winner Harzand – look sure to win their fair share of races and this should be a most informative maiden.

Alan King’s Coeur De Lion looks sure to be popular in the 2m 2f handicap having won well over two miles at Southwell back in February from a 5lbs lower mark. The vote, however, goes to Golden Birthday (4.05) who returned from a lay-off to be beaten 2L over an inadequate trip at Lingfield (all-weather) last month. This step back up in trip will suit Harry Fry’s seven-year-old who must go close.


Lah Ti Dar 

Golden Birthday

Copain De Claisse to star at Ayr


The ground is described as good to soft at Ayr and I hope it dries sufficiently for Silent Steps (3.15) who disappointed on soft ground in first time cheek-pieces over fences last time. Trainer Paul Nicholls has suggested he has any number of runners waiting for better ground and I hope this mare will reward each way support in a competitive handicap.

The listed two-and-a-half mile handicap chase is worth the admission fee alone with Theinval running off the same mark as when finishing second in the Red Rum at Aintree last Thursday. The Henderson runner finished second in this corresponding race 12 months ago from a 7lbs lower mark and is a worthy favourite.

Cracking Find (3.45) has finally got his act together over fences for Sue Smith and he gets the each way vote as he tries to land a quick hat-trick under a 5lbs penalty for his recent Carlisle win, which has already been franked. Nicholls’ Roman De Senam and Dan Skelton’s Value At Risk are others to consider in a cracking contest.

Copain De Claisse (4.15) is fitted with a tongue-tie for the first time by Paul Nicholls but more importantly, today’s better ground should make him a different proposition to the one who folded tamely at Kempton last time on soft ground.

The Irish raider Verona Opera won at Cartmel on good ground last summer and the booking of Richard Johnson suggests a bold bid is expected.

I hope it is a good day for West Country trainers as Colin Tizzard’s Drinks Interval (4.45) and David Pipe’s Miss Tynte must go close in the mares’ handicap hurdle over three miles. The selection is 2lbs well in having finished a good third on ground softer than ideal at Kempton last time – a run that proved she stayed this three-mile trip.


Silent Steps

Cracking Find

Copain De Claisse 

Drinks Interval 



I am going to give Master Of Finance (1.40) a last chance at Fontwell reverting to timber having run moderately over fences last time at Market Rasen. This 2n 2f trip on decent ground should suit this former 90+ rated flat horse who looks very well treated especially as his talented conditional take off a valuable 5lbs.

Rock On Oscar (3.25) will appreciate the ground be fresher than most and can score in the 2m 6f handicap chase. The selection has had his wind tweaked since he last run back in the autumn but remains a horse of some potential on decent ground.


Master of Finance 

Rock On Oscar 

Odds are correct at the time of posting

Join the discussion