Kevin Blake

Scottish Grand National Tips: 33/1 Iron Bridge can bounce back says Kevin Blake

Betfair tipster Kevin Blake
Kev has gone for a 33/1 outsider in the Scottish Grand National

The Scottish Grand National is the feature race this weekend and there's more riding on it than usual this year. Kevin Blake explains as he delivers his big race verdict...

  • Scottish National can have impact on Trainers' Championship

  • Mullins, Nicholls and Skelton all have runners

  • Kevin Blake fancies a 33/134.00 outsider


Rachael Blackmore Superboost

If you fancy Betfair Ambassador Rachael Blackmore to go well in today's Scottish Grand National at Ayr at 15:35 then you can back Whacker Clan to finish in the top 10 at the super-boosted price of 6/42.50 (from 8/11]).

Back Whacker Clan to finish Top 10 in Scottish Grand National (15:35 Ayr) @ 6/42.50

Bet here

The National Hunt season only has a couple of weeks left to run, but the stakes have risen significantly in Great Britain with Willie Mullins' bid for the trainer's championship set to be a major focus point.

The Scottish Grand National at Ayr (15:35) on Saturday will be a key battle ground, as the £200,000 prize pot has the potential to have serious ramifications for the trainer's table. Mullins has declared six runners, Paul Nicholls has two and Dan Skelton has one. The battle lines have been drawn!

Strong pace a possibility

In terms of pace, it looks set to be run at least at an average pace for the trip and quite possibly faster than that.

Whacker Clan is a regular front runner. Macdermott made most to win a handicap chase at Fairyhouse last time. Inis Oirr made all to win a marathon handicap chase at Musselburgh last time. Stay Away Fay has mostly made the running over fences so far, albeit in small-field weight-for-age races rather than big-field handicaps. Mr Vango has been making the running in smaller fields in recent starts. Egbert made the running on his latest start.

No room in this game for emotional selections

Now, onto the contenders. This race presents some uncomfortable punting conundrums to me which I'm sure many of you will be familiar with.

When a horse reappears after disappointing when you fancied them, the temptation to go with them again is usually there to one extent or another.

The reasons why you fancied the horse on its penultimate start are still intact in most cases, but the new evidence of the most recent run and how much if any compensation you are receiving for that disappointing run via their price for their upcoming start have to be strongly considered before stubbornly sticking with them.

There are psychological factors at play too, as the fear of the sting if said horse wins after you desert them is something that will inevitably play on the mind. However, emotions aren't your friend in this game, so we'll look to keep it all business and assess each conundrum of its unaffected merits.

Last week's exertions a negative for Mr Incredible

The first one is Mr Incredible. He was my selection in the Grand National last Saturday, but for the second year in succession in the last, Lady Luck pushed him into the gutter.

At the Chair he jumped into the back of the exiting Mahler Mission and unseated Brian Hayes. He continued loose for quite some way and his day out would have been a fair exertion, so the quick back-up to this race is hardly ideal, for all that this test should suit him well.

However, more so than anything else, I couldn't help but note that he hadn't been travelling with much kindness up to his departure at Aintree and might not have been in the most cooperative of form on the day.

When all of those concerns are coupled with his current price towards the head of the market, he is a swerve for me.

Market going against We'llhavewan

The other conundrum isn't quite as easy to sort out. It involved the Willie Mullins-trained We'llhavewan who was my selection in the Irish Grand National three weeks ago.

It all went a bit Pete Tong from the outset, as he was selected in the hope and anticipation of a return to a quieter, stamina-preserving ride. Alas, his connections weren't reading from the same page as me and he was bucked into a prominent position.

His jumping was a bit inconsistent and while he didn't run at all badly in finishing a 26-length sixth, he was never really in with a winning shout.

Now, his connections might belatedly opt for more patient tactics here, but this is an even longer trip and he finds himself 6lb out of the handicap. In contrast with Mr Incredible, the betting market is offering ample compensation to anyone that wishes to persevere as he is a very big price, but I'm going to pass on him.

Outsider can bounce back from poor run

The one I've landed on is the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Iron Bridge.

The eight-year-old hasn't exactly been a model of consistently in his chasing career thus far, but his good days have suggested for quite some time that a race like this might well be within his reach.

He has already demonstrated the depth of his stamina this season, finishing a distant second to Nassalam in the Welsh Grand National and an even better third in the Grand National Trial at Haydock. On both occasions he shaped as though even stronger tests of stamina would suit him.

Unsurprisingly, he was sent off as the favourite for the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter off the back of that run, but he proved very disappointing and came back with post-race heat stress.

While that is hardly an ideal preparation, he has quickly bounced back from very disappointing runs in the past and those that keep the faith will enjoy the benefit of a very big price. I'm happy to take my chances and all being well he will hit the frame at the very least.

Back Iron Bridge E/W, 6 Places, in the 15:35 Ayr @ 33/134.00

Bet here

Now read Paul Nicholls on his Saturday runners here.


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