A Busy Seymour Biz has been burning the candle at both ends, this week, but he has still found time to preview Saturday’s action at Uttoxeter! This meeting is one that many punters have a soft spot for and the Midlands Grand National, as always, takes centre-stage. A Polly Grundy inmate, who has proven himself over the distance, deserves our full attention. Here are your Lucky 15 tips.
After all the excitement at Cheltenham everything moves just a bit further north to the very welcoming course at Uttoxeter. The first four races are being televised culminating in the Midlands Grand National. The cameras are also at Kempton Park for three contests including the Silver Plate Hurdle and the Silver Bowl Chase. These two races are consolation races for horses that were declared but eliminated from any of the handicaps at the Festival. That said, at this stage it is impossible to know if the trainers will run their horses also there are no markets formed, so I will leave those races alone and concentrate on the Uttoxeter meeting.
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We start at 1.50 with the Abacus Decorators Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle. A trainer with a strong hand here is Martin Keighley who has two of the favourites in the betting. They are top weight Solstice Star and Back On The Lash. The former has had a great season winning three from five, latterly at Catterick in February, where he stayed on well to take the race near the line. Back On The Lash also has good form and he won last time out at Ludlow, however this is a big step up in class for him. I also have concerns about the ground as the pair of them have been winning on good going. Fergal O’Brien runs Diamond Fort who was only beaten a nose here in February over this distance. He beat Perfect Man that day and should stamp his authority over him but he is high in the weights. Bazarov was second in a ladies race at Catterick in February and usually seems to find one too good. I like the look of Diger Daudaie from Charlie Longsdon’s yard, a winner at Newcastle in December. He ran third last time to a hot favourite at Chepstow but he was doing his best work at the end of the race, ridden with patience he can take this contest.
At 2.25 it’s the Brit Plant Direct Novices Handicap Chase over 3m 2f. At the top of the handicap is Paul Nicholls’s Captain Cattistock who won a good race at Exeter last time out. He had been beaten into third by runner up De Rasher Counter before that at Chepstow in a race won by the classy Now McGinty and I think Emma Lavelle’s gelding can frank that form even though he is saddled with top weight. Tom Lacey’s Polydora is worth a mention. He had several of these contenders behind him when winning at Newcastle at the beginning of December however later in the month he could run only third at Newbury in a race won by De Rasher Counter going down by 21 lengths. Some Chaos has had a great season for Michael Scudemore with three victories, the latest being at Wincanton in February but all his wins have come on good going and he won’t find it here. Classic Ben won last time in a hot contest at Sandown, he acts on soft but has shot up in the weights for that victory.
The Marston’s Pedigree Handicap Hurdle is at 3.00 and this prestigious race has attracted all the top trainers. Nicky Henderson has With Discretion declared for this, he was a dual winner at the end of last season. However this is a major step up in class for him and he has not been on a racecourse for 11 months,I think he is best watched. Lord Napier has top weight after winning a Class 1 contest at Sandown on soft going. He is set to carry 18lbs more than he had in that victory and that looks too big an ask for me. Paul Nicholls has a contender lower down the handicap and that is Dr Sanderson, a duel winner this year latterly at Ffos Las where he beat a hot favourite. He also runs Magoo who tried to make all at Sandown last time out. He was headed over the last but kept on to take second, 15 lengths clear of the third horse. But I like one of Evan Williams’s trio of entries and that is Bold Plan. This is a step up in class for him but he ran really well last time to take the honours at Taunton where he beat an odds-on shot, he can improve again to take this.
At 3.35 is the Marstons 61 Deep Midlands Grand National, a race that has thrown up some nice priced winners over the years.. Top weight is American from Harry Fry’s yard, he will appreciate the going but he has been struggling with high weights and was pulled up last time, his only outing this year.. Ms Parfois from Anthony Honeyball’s yard has favouritism, this lightly raced mare has not been out since the beginning of December when she ran sixth at Newbury in the race where American was pulled up. After her heroics at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals where she was runner up twice, I think she is best watched. Arthurs Gift won last time out at Carlisle but I am concerned this distance is beyond him. The same applies to many of the runners here who have never tackled 4m 2f in heavy going, so I will side with a horse who is tried and tested at this distance. That is Polly Gundry’s Dawson City, a winner over 3m 6f on good/soft at Exeter in February. He can gain a fine Victory by taking this prestigious contest.
Saturday Uttoxeter Lucky 15
1.50 Diger Daudaie
2.25 De Rasher Counter
3.00 Bold Plan
3.35 Dawson City