A brief look back at Aintree for future value . . . Back Lostintranslation for the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup at 16/1. I’m amazed that price is still available (Skybet and Betvictor). Lostintranslation beat Defi Du Seuil and was 2nd twice to him and I rate Defi Du Seuil very highly (he is likely to stay at around 20f) while racing at a trip short of his best. With 5f farther to run at Aintree he showed that was exactly what he’d been waiting for – a proper stamina test. He was travelling like a horse with a ton in hand throughout, even going to the last, and barring accidents I think he’ll be nearer 3/1 than 16/1 come next March.
Tizzard has another staying chaser that is way overpriced for next year’s Randox Health Grand National in Elegant Escape. He’s an ideal Grand National type without yet being a Tiger Roll and is 50/1 – or 25/1 with Skybet NRNB. I’d opt for the 50s in a small EW bet with Lostintranslation.
On to Ayr where the classy Forest Bihan is worth chancing on his preferred ground in the 1.25. He’s almost always handicapped out of things, as often happens with honest, consistent horses. But he is capable when things drop right, and while I wouldn’t have a ton of confidence, I’ll be having a small bet.
I have much more confidence in Verdana Blue in the 2.25 and she’s the nap. I’ve tipped her before and thought she had a fine EW chance in the Champion Hurdle where the sticky ground was against her; she finished 5th. I think this mare is on the verge of top class and with Connor Brace (12 winners over hurdles) taking 7lbs off her back, on her favourite ground, she should win this.
In the Scottish Grand National I’ve brought a longish shortlist down to three. My main bet will be Crosspark, a horse I tipped last time on the basis that the long trip would be ideal, and so it proved. He’s had a nice rest since when some of his rivals have been pretty busy. He has one of the important factors I seek in a horse, he’s improving, and such types should not be abandoned until they lose.
The same goes for saver No 1 – Beware The Bear, who has finally found an outlet for his talent through the application of blinkers in which he’s won his last two. He has a huge weight, but, like Crosspark, should not be reassessed until he loses.
Saver 2 is more an instinctive pick than something based on form. Arthur’s Gift is a horse who has regularly caught my eye. I tipped him last time in the Midlands National where he pulled up, his rider blaming the heavy ground. He has form on heavy and on soft. He acts on good ground but so far has not won on it. I think the trip here will suit him very well and he’s a big price.
1.25 Forest Bihan 9/1
2.25 Verdana Blue. 13/2 NAP
3.35 Crosspark 14/1: Beware The Bear 11/1: Arthur’s Gift 50/1
It’s worth shopping around online in the 3.35 as many bookies pay 6 places EW