2-10 DUBAI DUTY FREE FINEST SURPRISE STAKES (GROUP 3) – 1 M 4 F 5YDS
Restorer looks to be the type that can improve into a decent sort for Willie Muir this season. He was given his first outing of the year at Kempton a few weeks ago and following a five month break, he showed there would be more to come when he stayed on to be fourth to Our Channel over a mile and a quarter. Martin Dwyer keeps the ride and having proven themselves on testing ground last year, they look a solid choice to go well here.
Sandro Botticelli has already had a run this year and he made a winning debut for John Ryan. Previously trained by Aiden O’Brien at Ballydoyle in Ireland, this four year old son of Galileo has already shown an appreciation for ground with a bit of give in it. Still only lightly raced, he is open to plenty of improvement and rates as a massive threat. Blue Surf is a wily veteran and is as versatile as they come. He will like the rain softened surface and could well outrun his double figure price. Agent Murphy has a touch of class but has it all to prove on ground this bad.
Willie Muir has sent out six winners inside the last two weeks and the yard is clearly in good form. With another season under him, Restorer should now be in peak condition and a bold effort is predicted.
3-00 QTS SCOTTISH CHAMPION HURDLE – 2 MILES
Clondaw Warrior has been lightly raced this year and following on from a smooth success at Fairyhouse three weeks ago, he should be in excellent shape to record at first win at this track. Paul Townend replaces the injured Ruby Walsh in the saddle and the duo ought to go well.
Ivan Grozny produced a career best performance when demolishing sixteen rivals at Aintree in an amateur riders race last weekend and if turning up here in the same form he looks the biggest danger. David Mullins is once again in the saddle and the recent Grand National winning jockey ought to enjoy another decent spin. Sternrubin will ensure a decent gallop as he wears his heart on his sleeve. If Richard Johnson gets his fractions right, they could prove to be just as dangerous off the front.
Clondaw Warrior is likely to be aimed at big summer staying races at Ascot and Galway once again this year and he can take this along the way. He should continue to be followed for one that has been campaigned so sparingly.
4-10 CORAL SCOTTISH GRAND NATIONAL – 3 MILES 7 F 176YDS
Milansbar looks decent each way value in the main feature of the day. He ran an excellent trial for this when only beaten a couple of lengths in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter just last month. He saw off the reopposing Spookydooky, Shotgun Paddy and Golden Chieftain relatively easily in that race and he can confirm the form here this afternoon.
Cause Of Causes looked as though he just joined in at the half way stage when romping away with with the Kim Muir Amateur Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival. Despite that success he missed the cut for the Grand National last weekend and seeks compensation here as a result.
Not since Grey Abbey won this in 2004 has a horse defied such a weight, but he is still only a nine year old and is proven over further than today’s marathon trip. Measureofmydreams ran over this trip in the four miler at Cheltenham last month where he finished third to Minella Rocco. The form of the race was given a boost by the runner up subsequently and he too has to enter the reckoning.
Neil King has enjoyed a decent year with his runners and recent wins by Unbuckled and Mercers Court mean that the yard is still in decent form. With stamina assured and a relatively lowish weight here, Milansbar ought to go very well indeed.