Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Benny to bag National pot

Old Benny must be backed to secure a second successive high-profile victory in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.

Alan King's improving gelding enjoyed his moment in the sun when winning the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month and is fancied to repeat the dose north of the border.

His Prestbury Park victory showed he possesses the requisite stamina and the ability to travel well in a big field.

For many years the National Hunt Chase was not viewed as a stellar contest, but recent history suggests it is fast becoming a race for future stars - as illustrated by respective 2006 and 2007 winners, Hot Weld and Butler's Cabin.

The former subsequently secured the Scottish National and Betfred Gold Cup, while Butler's Cabin claimed the Irish National following his exploits at Cheltenham.

There have been plenty of Classic clues at Newmarket this week and a few more should be unearthed at Newbury, where the Bathwick Tyres Greenham Stakes takes centre stage.

Preference is for Shallal, a colt of great promise hailing from the talent-laden stable of Peter Chapple-Hyam.

This son of Cape Cross takes a big step up in class, having won his maiden when last seen in July, but holds all the right entries and looks just the type with which his trainer excels.

Shallal was quietly impressive when scoring at Goodwood and there were plenty of smart horses like Dream Eater and Moynahan in behind.

The fillies get their chance to impress in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes, in which any support for Michita could prove telling.

John Gosden's team appear to be firing on all cylinders and this one is already proven on ground with cut.

Muthabara has been all the rage in the ante-post markets for the 1000 Guineas and while she could easily prove a cut above, it might be unwise to take a very short price about her first time up.

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