Saturday’s Race Of The Day – Midlands Grand National tips
Jon Vine takes a look through the runners in Saturday’s race of the day and provides his Midlands Grand National tips on Saturday 14th March.
The come-down after the Cheltenham Festival is lessen somewhat at Uttoxeter on Saturday, with the Midlands venue staging an excellent card. The race of the day is undoubtedly the Midlands Grand National. I’ve taken a look at each of the runners to find my best bet.
Midlands Grand National Preview
Winner here over hurdles. Ended last season with a run at the Punchestown Festival. Has only won one of four starts over fences. Unseaded his rider at Exeter and Ascot. Ran up to an RPR of 143 when securing his only victory, though, and this has been the target all season.
Christmas In April
Has shown great consistency this season, winning three times and placing twice in five starts. Hacked up to win over three-and-a-half-miles at Exeter the last day, powering to victory on heavy ground. Quite experienced despite holding novice status. Looks a worthy favourite.
De Rasher Counter
Emphasised his immense ability with an excellent win in the Ladbrokes Trophy. Was then well-beaten in deeper water at Cheltenham, losing out by 33-lengths in the Cotswold Chase. Even with Ben Jones’ three-pound claimer, he’ll give over ten pounds to the field. A big ask.
An early faller on his chasing debut at Carlisle. Then secured back-to-back victories in novice contests at Chepstow. Finished third of six in the Towton last time, but never really got involved after a poor round of jumping. Should love the ground, but this extended trip is a slight worry.
Has been beaten miles on four of his five starts this season. Showed he had potential when securing a 28-length victory at Doncaster in January though. Was running off 118 then, now up to 131 just to take part here. Not much going for him.
A former Scottish Grand National winner, so cannot be ruled out. Lightly raced for a horse of his age too. Both his runs this season have been good. However, all his wins have come on decent ground. Heavy going will not suit.
Just Your Type
A second-season novice, who fell in last year’s National Hunt Chase. Won a match-race on reappearance at Hexham. Has been easily beaten twice since then and was pulled up in the Towton. Not for me.
Another 11-year-old who’ll carry just 9-7 on his back. Won twice this season. Finished second over three-and-a-half miles at Exeter and stayed on for third in the Classic Chase at Warwick. Can see why the money has come for him.
Has been beaten four times since returning from lengthy absense at the start of the season. Ran a blinder to place third in BetVictor Handicap at Cheltenham’s November Meeting. Aidan Coleman has won on him in the past. Could be an outside each-way bet.
Still a maiden over fences, but has run well in big races like the Welsh Grand National. Looked to have the ideal opportunity to win last time out, but finished second of three as the 4/6 favourite. Not a very reliable finisher, but will enjoy the heavy ground and could still be well handicapped.
Se Mo Laoch
The sole Irish raider for Brian McMahon. Won well on his most recent start at Navan, where he just looked to be getting going as he secured a four-length victory. Step up in trip should suit, as will the ground. Whether he’s open to further improvement, I’m not so sure.
Ran up a hat-trick of wins in Mares’ Chases in the winter. Then proved she could beat the boys with an easy win at Bangor. A strong stayer with proven form on heavy ground. Another who could run beyond her odds. The form of her latest win is working out badly though.
Managed to finish second on just his fourth start over fences in the Welsh Grand National. Had won one of his three starts prior to that, beating seven rivals at Chepstow. Looks a worthy challenger at the head od the market. Price is a little short for me, though, and Paul Nicholls has never saddled the winner of his historic handicap.
Very First Time
Another who’s be running off a rating four pounds higher than his official mark just to get in at the bottom of the weights. Has managed to win three of his five starts this term, and looked impressive at Doncaster last time out. Weights are not really in his favour. Better options around his current price.
Midlands Grand National tips – Verdict
De Rasher Counter’s presence leaves many very capable stayers carrying little weight on their backs. Christmas In April and Trucker’s Lodge hold appeal, but I’d rather side with one at an each-way price.
If I had to pick two against the field, I’d go with PRIME VENTURE and Captain Drake. Although he’s yet to win over fences yet, I think Prime Venture is the more dependable of the two and sits at the most appealing price.
Evan Williams and Stayers’ Hurdle winner-jockey, Adam Wedge teamed up to win this with Firebird Flyer in 2016. Prime Venture stayed well enough to place in the Welsh Grand National on heavy ground, and first-time blinkers could aid his quest to claim a first win of his chasing career. 10-4 looks a very workable weight.