April 16th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

I cut right back on Crabbies Grand National bets when the ground changed and it was just as well. Saint Are ran well under the circumstances but could not go on in the closing stages and the task was always going to be too great for Many Clouds, especially when he made his one fairly serious mistake. What this particular National told us is that, on soft ground especially, ANY good National form will count for plenty – Rule The World had finished second in the Irish version last year and Goonyella, by no means disgraced last week, had won the Midlands.
I continue in very patchy form, Double Czech at Windsor on Monday promising better things at 6/1, only for a couple to run disappointingly later in the week, though everyone should have been saved by the truly dreadful, even ridiculous price about Eric Alston’s filly at Bath on Friday evening.
In all probability Willie Mullins has the trainers’ title all sewn up and he has chances in the Scottish Grand National this weekend. However, before that takes place, Paul Nicholls may have inched back a bit more of the deficit with VIVALDI COLLONGES, who has top weight in the opening novices’ limited handicap chase but is fit and fresh and ready to go in again. I have always liked him and even his defeat this season came about on barely raceable ground. Keep an eye on the conditions but if they say it’s no worse than good to soft he is a horse to support.
As far as the National itself is concerned, at long last SHOTGUN PADDY gets some sort of chance at the weights. He is not that much lower but has less lead in the saddle and will think he is running loose after shouldering welter burdens in marathons on bad ground. He will be a decent each-way price.
Like everyone else I applaud initiative when it comes to saving prestigious fixtures, though moving the Newbury card to Cheltenham hasn’t quite worked in terms of numbers. It may seem surprising but I can see BLUE SURF going close in the John Porter. He stays further but will find a mile and five just about perfect, handles artificial surfaces and could catch some of these on exactly the right day.