Braveheart Mark Johnston is definitely not Mr Personality. His motto is always trying, but with some of his runners (handicappers), it is often difficult to tell how they are going to run. However, the Scottish trainer has had plenty of success over the years and he can campaign his horses sensibly when he has a good one. A good one is exactly what he may have in the form of the 3 year old Scots Piper. A son of Shamardal, the horse won his sole start, and looks very well treated off a mark of 71.
Scots Piper made his debut towards the back end of last season at Musselburgh, in what was, admittedly, a weak race. He was sent off odds on and won like an odds on shot should do – making all, eventually scoring by just over 2 lengths. The horse was subsequently gelded and has been off the track until now. The debut win came over 7 furlongs on Musselburgh’s very sharp course, and there is stamina in this one’s pedigree, so the step up in trip on a more galloping course should yield some further improvement. Johnston has entered his runner in a handicap on Monday at Leicester, so is perhaps looking to turn him out under a penalty.
Mark Johnston has a very profitable record with his runners who share a similar profile to Scots Piper. Those contenders who are 3 year olds, have had just one start and have been off the track for 150+ days do extremely well; 20/72 (28%) for £14 LSP, with the runners winning 57% more often than they should do based on odds. We expect to see support for the son of Shamardal and he is the NAP At odds of +350 with Bet365 and BetVictor.
Neil Mulholland is a trainer we rate highly here at SBO Racing, and whenever he has runners, we stand up and take note. The National Hunt season has ended and we are now entering the ‘summer jumping’, with better ground and less competition in the races. Mulholland’s entry in the 3mile handicap hurdle at Aintree is Knight of Noir, and while this race is an open affair, he is the pick at odds of +700 with Bet365 and BetVictor.
Knight Of Noir is fairly lightly raced for an 8 year old, having just had 14 runs under rules. Hosed up on debut in a point to point and then showed some very good form for David Pipe before switching yards. Before the switch, the horse had been off the track for 18 months, so something clearly went wrong with the horse. He had been pulled up twice for Neil Mulholland on soft ground, but improved greatly last time out when switching to good ground at Ffos Las. The horse is better over hurdles than when running in chases and he is dangerously well handicapped based on old runs.
Mulholland does very well with his runners in the month of May; they are 37/258 (14%) for a level stakes profit of £16, with the horses winning 25% more often than they are entitled to based on odds. The horse did very well last time out finishing 3rd at odds of +3300 – and when Mulholland’s runners have been placed on their last run at odds of +1600 or bigger, they do very well; 22/109 (20%) for £40 LSP, with the runners winning 45% more often than they should be based on odds.
The market leader is the Richard Woollacott trained Beer Goggles. The horse is chasing a three timer after hosing up last time out, but has been raised 13lbs for that effort so will find things tougher this time.
13:40 Newmarket – Scots Piper to win
Friday 19th May
19:45 Aintree – Knight of Noir (each way)
Friday 19th May