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2019 Midlands Grand National preview - Honeyball's 7/1 chance holds solid claims of Uttoxeter success

Brian Healy 16 Mar 2019
Anthony Honeyball trains leading Midlands National fancy Ms Parfois.

Brian Healy previews the big race action at Uttoxeter on Saturday, where the Midlands Grand National goes to post, and he gives his selection for the day's feature.

Following on from four top-class days of horse racing action at the Cheltenham Festival, attentions now turn towards the traditional Saturay dessert of the Midlands Grand National which goes to post at 3.35pm on the card at Uttoxeter.

The fourth race of the afternoon, the latest renewal will be shown live as part of Saturday’s televised ITV Racing schedule, and the gruelling 4m 2f contest is going to take plenty of getting in the forecast heavy ground.

A Listed handicap, it is one of the biggest of the regional ‘National’ contests that take place throughout the jumps season, and the race was first run back in 1969. It is always a fiercely contested, stamina-sapping race featuring a strong field of runners; and recent past winners include the likes of Synchronised, Goonyella, Firebird Flyer and Chase The Spud.

Last years’s winner Regal Flow (40/1, Bet365) returns to defend his crown, and Bob Buckler’s charge will lock horns again with Milansbar (8/1, William Hill) who finished second; but despite a 105-day absence since finishing sixth in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase, MS PARFOIS (7/1, Unibet) makes plenty of appeal to make a winning return to action.

Anthony Honeyball’s charge showed hugely progressive form last campaign to win three times in succession which included a Listed chase at Warwick; the Mahler mare subsequently was far from disgraced in finding only Black Corton too good at Ascot in February prior to going down by only a half-length behind Rathvinden when stepped up to four miles at the Cheltenham Festival to contest the National Hunt Chase.

Given the subsequent exploits of that winner, as well as the third and fourth - all have won good races since - the form of that contest looks strong, and while she suffered further defeat behind Terrefort at Aintree, there were excuses for that outing.

Ms Parfois can win Saturday's Midlands Grand National.


She was only beaten four lengths though, and that winner has proven himself to be no mug; she beat the likes of Elegant Escape and Black Corton in that run so it represents another solid piece of form despite her failing to get back on the winning trail.

There was no disgrace in finishing sixth in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury on her return, where she probably needed the outing and she finished tired in a race in which very few were able to get into the contest. She can’t be judged too harshly on that outing, and the yard were under a bit of a cloud in any case so it could turn out to be a better run than it appears at face value.

She’s been absent since, but she has had a breathing operation which could help to bring about some further improvement, and the yard are in much better form. She has proven herself over a marathon trip in testing ground in that National Hunt Chase near-miss, and she looks sure to go well off this workable handicap rating.

A thorough test of stamina in the mud could be a test that is right up her street, and jockey Aidan Coleman will be keen to add further big race success to his CV following his Stayers’ Hurdle success at Cheltenham on Paisley Park; the pair can post a big run in this marathon contest, and assuming she is none the worse for the further absence following Newbury then she ought to go close.

Folsom Blue (7/1, Bet365) is respected for the Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell combination, and the Old Vic gelding is another sure to relish this test; while Ballydine (10/1,Ladbrokes) has long threatened to win a staying chase of this nature.

He was still in with every chance when blundering in the Peter Marsh Chase at the third last before staying on, and he could find this more extreme test to his liking.

Ballydine looks sure to thrive over this extreme test, and Charlie Longsdon's charge is dangerous to discount.


Dell Arca (25/1, William Hill) may have been kept for this race by a yard which has a good record in the contest. He hasn’t always been convincing over the larger obstacles though and may find his stamina stretched; while last-time winner Dawson City (18/1, Coral) is sure to get the trip but has a career-high mark to overcome.

Chef D’oeuvre (11/1, Bet365) and Back To The Thatch (11/1, Paddy Power) are both improving sorts and worthy of consideration also; but if fit and on her game then MS PARFOIS should take plenty of beating.

2019 MIDLANDS GRAND NATIONAL SELECTION - MS PARFOIS (7/1, Unibet)



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2019 Midlands Grand National preview - Honeyball's 7/1 chance holds solid claims of Uttoxeter success

Brian Healy previews the big race action at Uttoxeter on Saturday, where the Midlands Grand National goes to post, and he gives his selection for the day's feature.

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