Scottish Grand National 2018 Preview


By Samantha (21/4/18)

A small slice of history could be made in this race. Vicente is looking to become just the fourth horse to win the Scottish Grand National on three occasions. Sam Twiston-Davies parterned him to his two previous victories and he rides the gelded son of Dom Alco for trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Trevor Hemmings again. Horses by Don Alco have a good record in this- three of the last four renewals were won by son of his. Vicente has 11st7lbs to carry this time around but that shouldn’t be a problem as he carried 11st10lbs to victory last year. There are question marks about his recent form. In November, he was just a neck behind Perfect Candidate, who fell at the first in the Grand National, bringing down Sam Twiston-Davies’ mount Blaklion. Then he unseated in the Welsh National and was pulled up in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He comes here fresh from that after bypassing the Grand National in favour of this and better ground. Last year, he put up some not brilliant performances last season before coming into his own at Ayr so he does have a chance.

In last year’s renewal, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained pair- Cogry and Benbens– took the minor places. Cogry was eleventh in the Ultima Handicap Chase arc Cheltenham last time out. His best performance this season was first time out when he won a handicap chase at Cheltenham on one if the opening meetings of their season over three miles one. He stays because he finished a neck behind Vincente last year. Benbens was two lengths back in third on that occasion and, since then, like the other two, hasn’t shown great form lately. He was pulled up in the Midlands Grand National but two starts before that, he won the London National by a neck. They both have decent weights but don’t look like they can recreate last year’s efforts.

Like Vicente, Gold Present was taken out of the Grand National because of the ground. He won his first two this season but was pulled up in the Ultima at Cheltenham. He has never contested a race of this length so that is a worry for his chances. Nicky Henderson also has Beware The Bear. He was twenty six and three quarter lengths behind Tiger Roll in last year’s four miler at Cheltenham, finishing seventh. He was fourth in the opening race on this card last year behind Label Des Obeaux. Beware The Bear kicker the season off with a win in Listed company. He had Yala Enki and Wakanda, who have won since, behind on that occasion but has failed to show much since he was pulled up over three miles five furlongs in the Welsh National. He will like the ground more than what he ran on last time in the Ultima at Cheltenham.

Gordon Elliot won the Grand National and he has Fagan in this race. This good looking grey was last seen in October finishing second behind Black Corton at Cheltenham. He likes good growing but he might not stay.

Sue Smith has Vintage Clouds in this and Straidnahanna. Straidnahanna, the older of the two greys, won last time out over three miles and a furlong. He has been pulled up in the last two renewals of this race and looks up against it. Vintage Clouds was fourth in the Welsh National with Silsol one place behind. He didn’t stay in that race so I don’t think he can take this.

Ballyoptic won the Grade Two Towtown Novices’ Chase with Vintage Clouds behind in February. He then went to Cheltenham and finished fourth in the RSA. He has only ever ran over shorter trips but the step up in trip will suit him.

Sizing Tennessee looks the pick of the Colin Tizzard trio. He finished a good third in the four miler at Cheltenham when the front two pulled miles clear of the rest. The trip seems to suit him and he could show improvement here.

Regal Flow impressed in the Midlands National.

REGAL FLOW will definitely stay the trip after romping home over four miles two furlongs in the Midlands Grand National. He has never won on good ground but has won on firm so he won’t have an issue with the ground. His ability to stay and good recent form makes him my selection in this.

Get On The Yager runs here for Dan and Harry Skelton. He was ninth in the Midlands National behind Regal Flow and Silsol. He didn’t seem to stay the four milestone two furlongs. This is two furlongs shorter so this will never better for him. He was a seven length winner over three miles one furlong and look like he would suit a step up in trip so there is a possibility he will stay but not likely. Silsol stayed on before two out at Uttoxeter so this drop in trip may suit him.

Henri Parry Morgan has been a good servant for Peter Bowen, who won this in 2014 with Al Co. His runner this year is now ten and he won over three miles three furlongs last time out and stayed on well up the run-in. He was ninth in this last year and didn’t seem to like the trip then.

Doing Fine was fourth behind Benbens in the London National and has ran over three miles five. Not sure he will stay. The Young Master last won in 2014 so looks up against it.

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