A packed Saturday racecard features the 26 laps of Ayr that constitute the Scottish National. Yes, its a race that is fractionally longer than a Proclaimers walk, and on this occasion we think it could fall to the Welsh.
The horse in question is the (til now) hugely frustrating Henri Parry Morgan (1555 BST), who has been threatening to rediscover his fine novice form all season. He hinted at such last time when a never nearer 6th at Aintree. Good ground and a really long race could be just what he needs, and he is a good each way price.
Vivaldi Collonges is a live outsider for trainer Paul Nicholls at a big price, but Nicholls may have more luck in the other big race at the track, the Scottish Champion Hurdle. The market leaders in this race come from the County Hurdle at Cheltenham, and favourite Winter Escape has to be respected.
Nicholls, though, saddles Zubayr (1445), who has been struggling all season on softer ground, but showed plenty last time when making ground from the rear to compete at Aintree before finding the 2m4f trip too far. Back in trip here and a huge price, he just pips our regular favourite Hawk High as the lively outsider.
Over at Newbury, the Spring Cup (1540) is a usually fiercely competitive handicap, The bookies have priced this as a shoo-in for favourite Chelsea Lad. Well, we’re not sure it’ll be such a good day for Chelsea, and we will trust straight-mile genius Jamie Spencer on board Luca Cumani’s Banksea.
This horse progressed throughout last year but finished on a low-key note when beaten favourite in the Cambridgeshire. He has been highly effective first time out in his two previous seasons and this could be the best time to support him.
Zubayr, (1445 Ayr), 25/1, each way. (Paddy Power)
Banksea (1540 Newbury), 11/1. (BetVictor)
Henri Parry Morgan (1555 Ayr), 18/1, each way (Paddy Power, 6 places)
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