Henry Daly’s inmate may have gone down in the Eider, but Seymour Biz won’t duck-out of backing him in the Midlands National on Saturday!
Well, the saying goes “After the Lord Mayor’s Show………”, and while over the weekend we won’t be seeing the likes of Altior, Footpad, Buveur D’Air or Samcro, we still have a fine meeting to look forward to at Uttoxeter. This lovely friendly course will host ITV on Saturday and among the four televised races they are showing is the Bedfred Midlands Grand National, a Class 1 Listed race. Also on the card are two Class 2 races, so although they may not have the prize money to be seen at Cheltenham, the pots are not to be sneezed at, hence they have attracted some pretty good handicap entries. The cameras are also nipping down south to show a minor race from Kempton Park to fill in their schedule, as I presume they will give us a review of the Festival, I wonder if they will review the slanging match between Chapman and McCoy. I wonder what happened behind the scenes? I’m sure we will find out eventually.
The 2.05 at Kempton is the Matchbook VIP Chase and here we come across a horse, Kayf Blanco, who has not won in his last seven starts despite being favourite on several occasions. Last time he was only beaten a neck here at Kempton and his luck must have to change sometime. Vocaliser will be fancied after his two wins at the end of January and the beginning of February, but he flopped badly in his next race at Ludlow. Valhalla has been victorious in his last two contests on heavy ground at Wincanton and Exeter, perhaps the quicker going here will not suit him. Paul Nicholls has Copain de Classe entered but his last race was a match and he looked very awkward when winning that. I will look to Graeme McPherson’s charge to finally break his duck.
The 2.25 at Uttoxeter is the Betfred Supports Jack BerryHouse Novices Handicap Chase over three miles, contender Behind Time is another whose time is due. He was well in contention last time at Ffos Las, but a poor jump three out let him down, he stayed on after but did not trouble the winner. Ian Williams has a strong hand with Red Infantry, who is stepping up in grade but has good form running second at Doncaster last time behind Sharp Response, he will have a light weight. Looksnowtlikebrian has won his last two but I don’t know how considering his jumping, which leaves a lot to be desired. I can’t see him getting away with his dodgy jumping over the Kempton fences.
The 3.00, the Betfred “Treble Odds On Lucky 15’s” Handicap Hurdle looks a classy affair. Melrose Bay for Harry Fry has run well this season winning at Fontwell and Cheltenham, he was third last time to Topofthegame in a Class 1 race at Sandown, he must have a chance with this drop in class. Apples and Pierre’s has run well in his last two races without quite lasting home, he has won at this course, but we would need to see an improvement to see him take this. Fleminsport’s wins have come in low grade contests, and connections are trying him at a higher grade, he is best watched, likewise with Jerrysback. I will go along with Melrose Bay to take this contest.
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Finally we come to the Betfred Midlands Grand National at 3.35. Over this 4 mile 2 furlong trip in heavy conditions, I will be looking at those down the bottom of the handicap and the stand out horse is Back To The Thatch, Henry Daly’s six year old. He fell last time in the Eider Chase at Newcastle when looking to make his run on the inside, he looks a solid contender if he stays on his feet. Get On The Yager had two good wins in December but has yet to tackle this distance. Dr Richard Newland sends West Of The Edge here, he is a prolific winner, he ran second in the Eider and second before that at Haydock, he seems to find it hard to win this season. Sneaking into the race at the bottom of the handicap is another Henry Daly runner, The Artful Cobbler who ran up a hat-trick last time over 3 mile 5 furlongs, this race is a big step up in class and distance however he has a chance of chasing the selection home giving Daly a famous one-two.
Saturday Lucky 15
2.05 – Kempton Kayf Blanco
2.25 – Uttoxeter. Behind Time
3.00 – Uttoxeter. Melrose Bay
3.35 – Uttoxeter Back To The Thatch
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