IF you’re hoping to recoup Cheltenham losses at Uttoxeter today, it won’t be easy. A total of 18 runners have been declared for the featured Midlands National and it’s 5/1 the field.
As usual, the ground is soft at Uttoxeter for this marathon and that will suit top weight Iwilldoit. Bizarrely unqualified for the Grand National, this Welsh National and Warwick Chase winner comes here instead. Up 8lb for his Warwick win, he is racing off a mark of 155 and it’s a worry that subsequent Gold Cup winner Synchronised is the only Midlands National winner of the past 20 years to carry more than 11st 3lb to victory in this event.
Second in that Warwick race was Mr Incredible, who gave the form a boost when finishing third in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham on Thursday. Willie Mullins has declared him again here but we can assume he won’t run.
Synchronised’s trainer Jonjo O’Neill won this race in 2021 with Time To Get Up and he tries again but it’s surely significant that the trainer’s son and namesake has deserted that horse to instead ride the overnight favourite Gutepan Collonges.
Trained by Charlie Longsdon, this horse finished fourth in the Warwick race won by Iwilldoit prior to winning over an extended three miles at this track last month. The form of that win was slightly let down by Mister Coffey at Cheltenham this week.
If we’re going to look for a light weight winner, the two to concentrate on are The Two Amigos and Secret Reprieve. Both of them are Welsh National winners, The Two Amigos is just 5lb higher than when winning at Chepstow last Christmas. He has a very big chance again.
Secret Reprieve should be thereabouts as well. He is actually 2lb lower now than when he won the 2020 Welsh National (run in January 2021). Lightly raced since then, he has been in good form this season and caught the eye when third at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day over a shorter trip. Dropped 2lb for that run, he deserves another big win and is the selection.
The Galloping Bear was fancied for the Welsh National this season but was a faller there. A most consistent sort in these races, he subsequently finished a good second in the Eider Chase at Newcastle and would have to be respected.
Willie Mullins has also declared Captain Kangaroo. He looked a thorough stayer when he won the Cork National (3m 4f) in the autumn on very soft ground but nothing has gone right for him since.
You could possibly excuse a few of those efforts and he’s worth a small bet back over an extreme distance.
Notachance actually does have a chance, albeit an outside one. His third-placed effort in the Warwick Chase in January suggested he should win something similar, and his subsequent flop in Haydock will help his starting price today.
Earlier on the card, the three-mile handicap hurdle at 2.25 is very competitive. Bottom weight Lord Snootie catches the eye. This point-to-point winner landed a touch on his handicap debut over Christmas and looks an extreme stayer.
The novice Collectors Item has good graded race form and finds plenty under pressure. He is the choice of Jonjo O’Neill Jnr, leaving Kevin Brogan to partner stable companion Flight Deck, who made a big impression when winning on heavy ground over Christmas. He was unfancied when down the field subsequently but this big unit should be able to carry his 11st 11lb and deserves another chance.
Over at Kempton, Outlaw Peter is worth a small wager in the 2.05, a handicap hurdle run over the same course and distance as the Lanzarote Hurdle in January. Outlaw Peter was pulled up in that race but actually travelled like a winner for a long way. It’s interesting that connections are having another go in what is a much easier race.
Pull Again Green is interesting too in the same race. He reverts to hurdles after two disappointing chase efforts.
Outlaw Peter, 2.05 Kempton, 1pt win.
Lord Snootie, 2.25 Uttoxeter, 1pt win.
Secret Reprieve, 3.00 Uttoxeter, 1pt win.