Thursday April 14th 6.30pm
Always an interesting race the Scottish Grand National run over a flat four miles and this year it looks like being on Soft ground. The 2016 version is spiced up by the closeness of the Trainers Championship with Willie Mullins saddling the favourite, Measureofmydreams, as Gigginstown try to add a third National to their Gold Cup this season and Paul Nicholls, in attempting to retain his title, fires just one arrows at the £120,000 target in the shape of Sam Twiston-Davies mount Vicente.
This is a race I’m quite happy to take on the top weights (11stone and above) as well as opposing the novices (7yo and less). Something in form, goes on the Soft and has a chance of seeing out the four miles is what I’m after. I’ve whittled it down to four, three win only and an each way selection.
Royale Knight one star win* @ 14/1 general
Dr Richard Newland was unlucky to have Pineau du Re and Royale Knight both balloted out of the Grand National but they get their chance at a big pot here in Scotland just a week later. The latter interests me most as the trip and ground are ideal, he has been well supported in the past fortnight and my only concern is whether he is classy enough.
Heathfield one star win* @ 14/1 general
Tony Martin knows all about getting one ready for the big stage and Heathfield hacked up over hurdles just a fortnight ago and he ticks all the required boxes and carries just 10st 7lbs.
Shotgun Paddy one star win* @ 25/1 general
I backed him in the Welsh National and I backed him in the Eider and he placed in both races. I can’t just let Shotgun Paddy go unsupported here.
Masters Hill two star** each way @ 40/1 @ Coral (¼ 1,2,3,4)
However my main selection is trained by the all-conquering Colin Tizzard whose yard is in fine form and he has booked one of the best judges of pace in the weighing room, James Reveley, for Masters Hill. Perhaps this horse has too often been the bridesmaid but I think that with the trip, ground and a solid recent third to Shotovodka all good that Masters Hill might this time make it to the altar!