“If past history was all it takes to play the money game, the richest people would be librarians” – Warren Buffett
Sto me readers will know that in addition to my various racing and betting jobs, I am also a certified librarian. Unfortunately, I’m not rich – so I guess Buffett must be onto something there. That said, it is interesting and sometimes useful to use history when trying to choose the winner of a major race like the Scottish Grand National (3.35 Ayr).
I was looking at the age profile and noticed that no six year old had won since the Earth Summit in 1994, which doesn’t bode well for favorite Kitty’s Light, but in all honesty , horses of this age have been quite rare lately.
They have a good place record, and although I would normally do my best to avoid the favorite in a race like this, I think Christian Williams’ gelding has a great chance and I’m happy to take the 11/ 2 first doors available.
Even though it’s been a year Kitty’s Light won a race, he was particularly impressive when he finished second last time out in a third-year handicap at Kempton, returning to form after a lull. He’s grown 3 pounds which isn’t too hard and is partnered with Jack Tudor, who recently made his case.
Of course, it’s not much fun if you don’t have an underdog in a race like this, and 66/1 shot Strong Economy will also bring a few pounds for me each way for Ian Duncan under Derek Fox.
The 10-year-old has a good record at Ayr and has raced here on several occasions, including a decent effort in January when he finished second at a handicap of 117.
He fell the last time he was seen here three weeks ago, but he’s still ranked 117 for today and sits bottom of the leaderboard at 10th. It’s actually 4 pounds off the handicap – but even so it’s not without a chance of a place at least at a very big prize.
In the Scottish Champion Hurdle (2.25), Anna Bunina ticks the right boxes at 6/1. Trained in Ireland by John McConnell, she finished second last year with a rating of 135.5 pounds heavier than today.
Although she couldn’t make an impression as a second year at Doncaster in January, she appears to be returning to form, judged on her third place on 133 in a handicap at Musselburgh last time out.
Another in Ayr that I like is rock bass, 11/4 at the time of writing Tennent’s Handicap Hurdle (4.10) for Sandy Thompson under Ryan Mania. He won that race last year with a mark of 115, and although he is much higher today at 130, he has done enough to justify that rise with another win and a place this season. A descent while traveling should be fine.
We now have a handicap for second year novice mares at Newbury (2.45), and Corey’s Courage looks a little value around 5/1 for Olly Murphy, with Aidan Coleman taking the reins.
Successful on her outstanding debut last year, she has now won all three hurdle starts and looks like a strong prospect. While life may soon get tougher in handicaps, for now his opening rating of 117 seems forgiving.
In the John Haine Memorial Novices’ Hurdle (1.0 Newbury), Malakahna is a worthy favorite and should trigger around 4/11. Ian Williams trains the four-year-old filly, who had winning form in France before coming to Britain, where she has now won two of her five wood races, including a novice race at Kempton recently. She made a mistake at the end but recovered well and should have more to come.
Finally, 5/1 seems way too high for Olympic honor in the Bet Boost At bet365 Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow (4.37). I’ve mentioned Christian and Ian Williams before in this column, but this one is trained by Evan Williams. For good measure, his daughter Eleanor Williams will ride, claiming 7 pounds.
A reasonably talented chap, he was a little stretched when last seen in Wincanton on 2m5f, but he’s sure to be fine here now on his favorite trip.