Nick hardman’s back to take a look back over the Scottish national weekend:
Following the highs of Aintree we had the inevitable lows and I can’t help thinking it was a weekend of missed opportunities. Astonishing was well beaten in the John Porter Stakes, finishing 4th and beaten by 3 lengths in all. Valdez jumped badly right in the Novice Chase at Ayr, but he would not have beaten Eduard in any case who was just too good. At least William Hill refunded my stake. In the Fred Darling, J Wonder was given an honourable mention last night as the each-way bet of the race @12/1. However, she turned out to be the bet of the race, heavily gambled into 4/1, edging out my selections Al Thakira and Joyeuse who finished 2nd and 3rd. Although it does not line the wallet, the two selections lost little in defeat and will surely do well this season.
The Scottish Champion hurdle was a doubly frustrating race as hot favourite My Tent Or Yours was beaten by both the horses I mentioned would capitalize if he failed to reproduce his form. Cockney Sparrow flew home @12/1 to win from Court Minstrel @8/1 and I really was kicking myself. An each-way play against the favourite would have been a wise choice from the aforementioned pair. Mind you, hindsight is a wonderful thing and I truly thought My Tent Or Yours’ class would see him home. Perhaps all “honourable mentions” might be worth a couple of quid in the future.
The Greenham Stakes was a race for watching only and what an impressive run by Kingman. I truly believe that racing needs superstars, horses that capture the imagination of the public. Let’s hope that Kingman turns out to the one of those. John Gosden’s stable are flying at the moment and he had a treble on the card to add to yesterdays’ four-timer.
Things went downhill from there as Manyriverstocross was soundly beaten in the Handicap Chase back up at Ayr. The Spring Cup saw a bit of place money for Brownsea Brink, but more frustration as 22/1 shot Charles Camoin was beaten into 6th place, just missing out on some nice place money. One Word More travelled nicely but faded into 12th and he may just have needed that run. The Lincoln form was well and truly franked by the winner Gabrials Kaka, Ocean Tempest (4th), Sweet Lightning (5th) and Spa’s Dancer (2nd).
If ever we needed to find a winner it was in the Scottish National. Alas, the only horse who gave us a run for our money was Green Flag who jumped the second last in the lead and then emptied out completely to stagger home in a fashion not dissimilar to myself after Gold Cup day. Fair play to anyone who backed the winner Al Co as he was one I did not even consider.
That just left the non-televised race at Thirsk and Breton Rock @4/1 finally gave us something to cheer about, but the damage had already been done. One winner, one place and a refunded stake was more in keeping with a typical Saturday’s racing than the exploits of Aintree. Still, having survived Cheltenham and smashed into Aintree, all is good. Onwards and upwards and I will be back next week…………..