Scottish Champion Hurdle
|Dingo Dollar||16/1||Ante Post
Scottish Grand National
|Milkwood & Dingo Dollar||186/1||Ante Post
Date of Tips: 30/03/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (12:28 30/03/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
As we enter the late stages of spring, race meetings are coming along at a rapid rate of knots that we were deprived of last season, and rather heart-warmingly, each one is greeted with a sense of relief and joy that we can savour such great sporting entertainment.
Aintree, Fairyhouse, Sandown and Punchestown of course can all lay claim to being the focal points of the spring festivals, but Ayr’s Scottish Grand National meeting is included quite readily in that list. Year in, year out, it is the battleground where southern raiders come knocking, to be greeted by hardy northern battalions on the beautiful west coast of Scotland.
The big races I think could be split evenly, with my Scottish Champion Hurdle fancy being trained in Wiltshire, and my idea of a good bet for the Scottish Grand National is housed just across the border in Berwickshire.
You have to go back 20 years to find a trainer other than Philip Hobbs, to have won the Scottish Champion Hurdle more than once in that time, and there could be a new name etched on the trophy this season, as Neil Mulholland’s Milkwood looks to have an outstanding chance, and at 12/1 each-way with Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook or Sky Bet, he should be supported.
Since a smooth win at Ffos Las on his seasonal debut, Milkwood has taken in four of the most competitive handicap hurdles this season. An eye-catching fourth in the Welsh Champion Hurdle was followed by a luckless run in the Gerry Fielden, when he would have surely won but for being almost brought to a standstill two out. The Betfair Hurdle didn’t work out for him, as he was perhaps asked to do too much in the hottest part of the race.
His final start to date came in the County Hurdle, and ridden a little bit more prominently, he ran a huge race to hit the front at the last, on a track that I never thought would play to his strengths. Milkwood stuck on gamely to finish third in the end, and now that he has displayed admirable versatility in terms of tactics and to a certain extent ground, I think he can finally land the big one his talent deserves. Ayr is a much more favourable track and the ground will surely be on the decent side – at 12/1, Milkwood is an outstanding ante-post each-way bet.
Just over an hour later, and the Scottish Grand National will be underway – a race with a famous tradition, and one that so far has eluded Berwickshire trainer Sandy Thomson. Not that he has had many suitable bullets to fire at the race mind, but what has not eluded the attentions of many, is the amazing ability of Thomson and his team to rejuvenate and improve all manner of different types of horse.
Recently, he has brought the mercurial Yorkhill back to winning form in the Rehearsal Chase, orchestrated the wonderful Seeyouatmidnight to fever pitch for the Veterans Final, and racked up multiple wins with horses new to his care.
One such horse who is yet to rack up multiple wins for Thomson is Dingo Dollar, but should he win the Scottish Grand National then he would, after a smooth win on his stable debut at Newcastle. At 16/1 each-way with Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook, who are both offering five places already, Dingo Dollar is a very likely type for the race.
Previous trainer Alan King thought as much, as he was actually declared for the 2019 renewal, only to be taken out on account of unsuitable ground. Second in the valuable novice handicap chase at this meeting in 2018, third and fifth in two attempts at the Ladbrokes Trophy, second in a Grimthorpe Chase and fifth in a Sky Bet Chase – Dingo Dollar has a solid record in many big races, but has strongly looked like the sort of horse that would gallop forever if kept sweet.
Clearly, his debut effort at Newcastle for Thomson, suggested he was not just being kept sweet, but positively overflowing with zest in the new tongue-tie/cheekpiece combination fitted that day.
Dingo Dollar could have done without the 8lb rise in the handicap for that win, but I am happy to put my faith in Sandy Thomson coaxing out much more improvement for the big day, and at 16/1 each-way with Paddy Power or Betfair Sportsbook, Dingo Dollar can keep the prize on the right side of the border for the proud Scotsman.