horse racing

Scottish Grand National Meeting Trainer Trends: 5 to keep on your side…

Ayr’s Scottish Grand National Meeting is always a richly contested affair with a wide array of raiders making the trip from South of the border.

But who are the trainers we should be focusing our punting brains on and under which circumstances should we be looking to side with their runners?

Do the South send up enough firepower to plunder the bulk of the valuable prizes on offer or do the North keep something up their sleeves especially for these 2 days to fend off the southern raiders?

Lets take a look at a clutch of trainers (North & South based) + 1 jockey that we should keep a keen eye on over Friday and Saturday and exactly where they have excelled at in recent seasons at this high octane mini-festival…

Figures from seasons 2007 – 2012 and sourced from the excellent ProForm database


Ferdy Murphy

As highlighted by myself on a couple of occasions this appears to be a meeting that good old Ferdy targets every season and his overall figures stack up well –

7/32 | 22% S/R | +£49.87 BFLSP – Win & Place 11/32 | 34 % S/R

Regular followers of the Blog will know I have a very specific angle that I like to utilize with the Murphy string over these 2 days and that is his runners returning within 14 days of their last run…

Murphy runners returning to track within 14 days of last run (at Scottish National meeting)

6/10 | 60% S/R | +£56.90 BFLSP – Win & Place 8/10 | 80% S/R

6 of his 7 winners can be found using this simple filter. The fact that 8 of the 10 qualifiers won or placed suggests this is a well devised plan on the go from Mr Murphy.

Last year there was only the 1 qualifier, DE BOITRON, who ran a sound 2nd at 12-1, collecting some decent E/W shekels for followers of the angle (the horse actually hit 2.04 In-Running from a BFSP of 16.74). The previous year he had 2 qualifiers, with BEGGARS CAP winning at BFSP of 18.58 (ISP of 14-1).

I’ve had a quick squint at his entries this year and unfortunately it looks like he won’t have any qualifiers on this angle this time around 🙁

There are, however, other angles with which we can attack Ferdy’s Ayr Scottish National meeting runners and the market tells it own story, once we start digging.

All 12 of his runners that started in the top 2 of the market at this meeting have been beaten, with only 1 even managing to place. If you want to source a Ferdy winner over these 2 days then looking at his runners that start 3rd or higher in the betting is the place to start…

Murphy runners starting 3rd or higher in the market (at Scottish National meeting)

7/20 | 35% S/R | +£61.77 BFLSP – Win & Place 10/20 | 50% S/R

It isn’t a huge surprise to see the above figures as Ferdy is well known for ‘sneaking one in under the radar’ but nevertheless it’s an interesting angle to keep in mind.

To be honest Ferdy has had a pretty miserable year of it. Since the start of October 2012 he has sent out 175 runners with only a measly 10 of them making the winners enclosure, for a sub-standard 6% S/R and a -£73.55 Level Stakes Loss. His strike-rates and the prize money his horses have won have taken significant hits in the past couple of seasons and at present he doesn’t seem the ‘force’ of old.

Will he manage to change his fortunes before the season comes to an end?


Nicky Henderson

The Seven Barrows trainer generally sends up a sturdy looking team to do battle at this meeting and the signs are he will be well represented again this year. Here are his overall figures –

10/46| 22% S/R | +£9.44 BFLSP – Win & Place 17/46 | 37% S/R

The overall figures are strong enough but we can dig deeper and find plenty of eye-catching sub-angles…

  • 10/10 winners were aged 7 or less
  • 8/10 winners were ridden by Barry Geraghty
  • 8/10 winners started in the top 2 of the betting
  • 7/10 winners recorded a top 3 finish last time out

Also pay particular attention to his bumper runners –

Henderson Bumper runners at the Scottish National meeting

3/4 | 75% S/R | +£3.01 – The other runner ran 4th behind one of the Henderson winners.

The profits are not life changing but Henderson clearly likes to use this race as a winnable stepping stone for his bumper runners. Heck he even took the mighty SPRINTER SACRE up for this race in 2010. He isn’t afraid to take future stars on the lengthy trip up to Ayr and it is something we should keep in mind….


Pauline Robson

The Northumberland based trainer is very select with her runners from her small string but when she makes the effort to come to this meeting it is worth taking note –

2/8 | 25% S/R | +£25.15 BFLSP – Win & Place 3/8 | 38% S/R

She only had the one runner at last years meeting and that was RIVAL D’ESTRUVAL who she pitched straight into Grade 2 company for his Chasing debut. He ran a credible 2nd and clearly wasn’t pitched in on a whim.


Nigel Twiston Davies

The ‘Twister’ doesn’t send as many as you may think to the 2 day meeting but the select few of his string that have made the trip more than hold their own –

3/10 | 30% S/R | +£11.65 BFLSP – Win & Place 5/10 | 50% S/R

  • All 3 winners came over 3m+ (both placed horses also came over 3m+)
  • All 3 winners  finished in the top 2 on their last start
Last year he had 2 runners with BALLYFITZ finishing a credible 4th in the Scottish National at 33-1.

Paul Nicholls

The champion trainer is an interesting one at this meeting. He sends plenty on the long trip but overall his runners have been slightly under-performing, backing them all would have left a small dent in your betting bank…

11/60 | 18% S/R | -£16.85 BFLSP – Win & Place 27/60 | 45% S/R

Nevertheless he is still the winning-most trainer over the 2 days at recent Ayr National meetings and his figures are well worth a bit of closer scrutiny…

  • 10/11 winners started in the top 2 of the betting
  • 9/11 winners had been off the track for 32 days +
  • 9/11 winners were ridden by Ruby Walsh
  • 8/11 winners started in the top 2 of the market last time out
  • 7/11 winners came over hurdles

In amongst all that, and with a couple of tweaks, there is 1 strong mini-angle (or Money-Shot if you will!) that is a great source of finding winners from the Nicholls string at this meeting…

Nicholls trained | Ridden by Walsh | Fav or jnt Fav | Off track for 30 days+ | Aged 4 or 5

6/7 | 86% S/R | +£10.15 BFLSP – Win & Place 7/7 | 100% S/R

Granted these are pretty stringent rules and won’t leave you with many qualifiers at all but at least you have a solid chance of a Nicholls winner at the meeting!! 6 winning and the other placing is not to be sniffed at! Last year there was one qualifier in the shape of PACHA DU POLDER, a winner at 11-4.


Jockey in focus: Timmy Murphy

Murphy has an exceptional record at this meeting and his haul includes 2 Scottish National’s on MERIGO and a Scottish Champion Hurdle on-board the ever popular OVERTURN. Here are his overall figures at the meeting since 2007…

8/28| 29% S/R | +£66.45 BFLSP – Win & Place 16/28 | 57% S/R

The track clearly suits his smooth style of riding and that 57% Win & Place strike-rate is impressive to say the least.

Although I would never suggest taking these type of stats as gospel they are a good pointer as to which yards are likely to be targeting the meeting and bringing some lively ammo with them for an Ayr spring-time raid.

Best of luck if you plan to get involved over the 2 day Ayr Scottish Grand National meeting (Friday 19th and Saturday 20th of April).

Ben (NTF)


2 responses to “Scottish Grand National Meeting Trainer Trends: 5 to keep on your side…”

  1. Thanks Ben, this was a really good enjoyable read and very interesting stuff. Hopefully the stats will throw up a winner or two…I’m going to keep a close eye on Pauline Robson’s runner in tomorrow’s bumper….:)

    • Thanks for your comment Martyn, glad you enjoyed the post.

      This sort of analysis has served me well at the past few Scottish National meetings so hopefully it will continue this year. Heavy ground always a potential to throw a spanner in the works but fingers crossed it will dry out a little (it’s meant to be decent weather on Friday).

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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