Stat of the Day, 14th February 2013
Love was in the air yesterday, as the gorgeous - at least for five minutes just before four o'clock! - Shirley Teasdale persisted with dear old The Lock Master to ensure the old boy improved his course/distance record to 31222211 at an extremely satisfactory 9/1. Lovely.
Not much to go at today, and I'm siding tentatively with the Scottish borders, and the...
I'm going after a big'un this afternoon, and although we could come unstuck, there are reasons to have a crack at the price. In fact, this fellow is a dual Scottish Grand National winner, the second of which was as recently as last April.
Merigo's record on this afternoon's heavy ground is three wins from four runs, and all three were in February or March. His race record consistently shows how he needs a few runs each season to either get fully fit and/or back to a winning mark, and he's on just that today.
To wit, his official peg for this contest is 134, the very same level off which he won last year's Scottish National. Although the trip - just the three heavy miles - may be on the short side, he's won over 3m1f as recently as last March, and the long run-in could play to his stamina strengths.
His seven pound-claiming rider, Mr J Hamilton, may be a new name to many - including me - but he was good enough to win yesterday in a hunter chase up at Ayr, so he comes here in confident mood.
This Class 3 grade holds no fears for a horse which has five of his seven career victories in more elevated company. The other two were in Class 3. Yes, he's twelve years young now. But he was eleven when notching back-to-back wins this time (ish) last year. The first of those was at 11/1 in a smaller field than this, so similarly unexpected.
He's 28/1 today. Twenty. Eight. To one. And that's worth an optimistic nibble each way (BOG, with BetVictor - worth signing up for an account for even), especially if the remaining eight in the contest all stand their ground giving us three places to aim at.