The Duke’s Weekend Preview – Scottish National

This weekend has a good balance of Flat and Jump action, with Newbury and Ayr the host venues on ITV.

Let’s start with the races at Newbury. Defoe has a big chance of winning the 2pm, having landed the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at the track last year. He’s not been seen since a poor run in the St Leger, but if bouncing back on his first run of the season then he will be tough to beat.

At 3.10pm we have the Greenham Stakes, which has been won by some exceptional horses in the past, such as Paco Boy, Kingman and Frankel.

James Garfield ran quite disappointingly at the Breeders’ Cup but prior to that had won the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury. At the odds, he makes more appeal than favourite Expert Eye. While the market leader might run a big race, he did disappoint in the Dewhurst Stakes last October and he hasn’t shown his face since.

The feature race on the card at Ayr is the Scottish Grand National.

Regal Flow won the Midlands Grand National but whether this veteran can handle a 10lbs rise in his rating is another matter. Fagan is very unexposed as a chaser and could have a lot of potential as a stayer.

The Young Master has dropped a lot in the weights and could be dangerously well handicapped, although he has done little to inspire confidence in recent runs. Indy Five has never raced over this far before and it will be intriguing to see how he gets on, as he is still pretty unexposed.

That has left us with a shortlist of three horses; Ballyoptic, Vintage Clouds and Vicente.

Vintage Clouds would be of interest if there’s any rain, as he probably needs a bit of cut in the ground to be seen to best effect.

Vicente has won the race for the past two seasons and he is looking for a hat-trick. He has to have a huge chance of following up, as he’s only 4lb higher in the ratings and the ground, trip and track are ideal.

Ballyoptic has put in some good runs in novice chases, including a Grade 2 victory at Wetherby in the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase. He was fourth in the RSA Chase and he has a touch of class that may flourish with this step up in trip.

My two strongest picks are Vicente and Ballyoptic, but we will need a bit of luck in such a competitive contest.

Have a great weekend.

Related Posts

This website is strictly for over 18’s. If you do have any concerns about gambling please contact GambleAware
© 2023 The Gambling Times. All rights reserved.