THE PUNTER'S EYE: The 40/1 shot that could make you a fortune this weekend
Having tipped up the winner and the runner-up for last week's Aintree Grand National, our man has picked out a 40/1 shot for this weekend's Scottish Grand National. He's also advising two more bets at Ayr and Navan over the weekend.
Scottish Grand National - Ayr 16:05 (Saturday)
The Scottish Grand National has been won by the Paul Nicholls-trained VICENTE for the last two years running, and he is back to defend his crown once more. He's a worthy favourite but the value is further down the weights in the form of BENBENS from the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard. This 40/1 was third in this last year as a 12-year-old and now, as a 13-year-old, is back as the joint oldest horse in the contest. That may be a negative for some people but as we saw with BLESS THE WINGS finishing third in last week's Aintree showpiece, the veterans can often finish out their career with a considerable kick. It's also worth noting that Twiston-Davies has a distinct knack of getting the best out of veteran chasers with Hello Bud being a prime example having come so close to crowning a fabulous career in the Aintree Grand National on a number of occasions. That horse actually won this race as an 11-year-old in 2010 in what was Nigel Twiston-Davies' most recent Scottish National success. BENBENS was pulled up on his most recent start at Uttoxeter, but he endured an identical preparation for this last year. It doesn't read as ideal but he won well in the 3M 4F Betfair London National Handicap Chase at Sandown on good to soft ground in December. That was his first win since 2015, so it shows he retains plenty of ability. He was also a good fourth behind PERFECT CANDIDATE at Cheltenham's November meeting. At a huge price, this horse has the potential to spring a surprise or at least stay on under a five-pound claimer to grab an each-way place.
Earlier in the day in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at 14:55, Gordon Elliott sends BRELADE across the Irish Sea in a move that could prove significant. The horse is currently 20/1, a tempting each-way price for a horse who holds form with the likes of Petit Mouchoir and Footpad, albeit over the larger obstacles. BRELADE is a bit of a journeyman but he ran with credit to finish 7th in the County Hurdle at last month's Cheltenham Festival, finishing 12 lengths behind Mohaayed. Last year's winner of this race and the re-opposing Chesterfield was 4th in the same race run on soft to heavy ground. He ran very well in beginner's chases behind Footpad and Petit Mouchoir last year, but has been since switched back to hurdles. His latest run over timber came at Cork on April 1 when he chased home Dr Mikey to grab second place. He won two hurdles races in 2016 and also held form with the likes of Bacardys, Saturnas and Willoughby Court. He certainly has the talent and the right man at the helm to run into the frame here.
On Sunday, HAZEL BAY (Approx. 12/1) is an interesting newcomer for Dermot Weld in the 16:15 contest at Navan. She's the only newcomer in the field and while that could go against her with Aidan O'Brien having a number of more battle hardened rivals entered, it also speaks volumes about her potential. She would have to be well above average to strike first time out but she's well bred and holds a number of fancy entries, including the Investec Oaks later in the summer. To be fair, most of these hold similar entries but quite a few of them have had a few days in the sun and failed so far to hit the heights. HAZEL BAY can capitalise and at least run into the places for top connections.