Friday, March 13, 2009

Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter

Those who like a challenge (and have money left over after the Cheltenham Festival) may want to consider the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter; the starter is scheduled to send them on their way at 3.10. Twenty are set to go to post but with underfoot conditions on the soft side at least three are expected to be withdrawn - Alderburn, Dom D'Orgeval and and Martha's Kinsman. Over the years Irish runners have fared particularly well in this race so it's no surprise to see Jessica Harrington's Badgerlaw priced up as favourite with Hold The Pin and Operation Houdini also holding prominent positions in the betting; in the past eight renewals, the winner has come from the front two in the market on five occasions. I've been on the lookout for a home-based runner with a weight under eleven stones. Neither Appleaday nor Kilcrea Asla is guaranteed to stay the distance; the booking of Barry Geraghty for Gidam Gidam catches the eye but there's a suspicion the horse may prefer better ground. Companero looks like a horse who will be suited by soft ground and will stay all day - he's reluctantly passed over as he's just a little too high in the handicap for my liking, so I'll probably take an each-way chance with Flintoff who runs some good races and some bad. Owned by Andrew Flintoff and Paul Beck, he comes to this fresh and hails from a stable that is in fine form at the moment. The amateur rider takes off a handy-looking five pounds - the selection is currently priced at 16/1 with William Hill.

In the 3.40 Fiendish Flame is likely to go off favourite and try to make all but that will be no easy task with top weight on soft ground; jockey A P Lane claims three. Kadouchski is bang there on RP ratings yet is priced up at 14/1 with bet365; it's easy to forgive his last run as he probably didn't stay the two miles four furlongs at Sandown and in any case was beaten by a horse called Silk Affair which won the Fred Winter at Cheltenham on Wednesday. Having just written that, I'm going to go away and do a bit more work on that race...

In the 4.10 Ogee, formerly with Sir Michael Stoute on the Flat, is likely to go off favourite. He's a decent benchmark but has plenty of miles on the clock; preference is for Nicky Henderson's Acordeon.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Sent off at 14/1 Flintoff looked in danger of losing touch early on but Will Biddick kept the horse up to his task, so much so that he took up the running two out and was still in the lead jumping the last. However he didn't get away from that final flight as quickly as he might whereas eventual winner Russian Trigger (8/1) winged it and ran the selection down on the run-in. At the line Flintoff was two and a quarter lengths behind the winner - a sterling effort, it's just that you don't expect to lose a four mile one furlong marathon on the run-in!
After writing last night's entry, I did some work on the 3.40 but in the end decided to leave it alone. There were some in this you wouldn't trust implicitly - particularly for a Class 3 event; Venetia Williams indicated on The Morning Line that her Hohlethelonely (9/2jf) was a bit of a character and so it proved as he planted himself at the start and refused to race. Fiendish Flame attempted to make all but was passed by Fredo (won @ 5/1) and Arctic Ben (12/1). When I went back through Kadouchski's form, he appeared to have raced solely on right-handed tracks. On course he was backed in from 10/1 to 17/2 but he never travelled a yard, with the jockey 'at him' from the early stages of the race. He finished tailed off, but is better than this. I'd be interested to hear if anything came to light or whether connectons will decide to go back to a right-handed track next time.
The market took the same view as I did of the 4.10 but we were both completely wrong as 5/4f Acordeon was soundly beaten sixteen lengths by Ogee (3/1).