Friday, March 16, 2018

Midlands Grand National 2018

Surrounded by random dog-eared notes, mostly written in HB lead pencil, losing betting slips and dishevelled racing papers, I have just watched a replay of this year's mesmeric Gold Cup and surreptitiously shed a tear.

On radio Tom Scudamore described the race as championship steeplechasing at its very best and, of course, he is correct.

Fifteen started but it effectively became a match after the first fence; a race between Native River and Might Bite to be replayed in the mind for years and years to come.

Tomorrow's card at Uttoxeter is under threat from overnight snow and rain; the going is currently heavy and an inspection is scheduled for 8.00am.

Eighteen have been declared for the Midlands Grand National (3.35) run over a trip of four miles two furlongs.

Kerry Lee saddles three while Henry Daly, Dr Richard Newland and Nigel Twiston-Davies all have two runners each.

Newcastle's Eider Chase provides a key piece of form; West Of The Edge finished second behind Baywing with Hainan fourth, Milansbar fifth, Back To The Thatch falling when appearing to hold every chance and Themanfrom Minella pulled up. That particular marathon was run just three weeks ago so there has to be a question mark over how well the participants have recovered.

This evening Dr Newland is pretty upbeat about West Of The Edge's chance and his charge heads the market; just one favourite has obliged in the past ten years.

In the same timeframe no horse older than nine has come home in front and just two have carried more than 10-12; Synchronised in 2010 and Firebird Flyer in 2016 both carried 11-5 to victory.

Those trends highlight the chances of the two Henry Daly runners; Artful Cobbler is preferred to Back To The Thatch who looked to take a pretty hefty tumble at Newcastle.

Hainan is of interest as there's a hint Danny Cook went for home a little too early in the Eider and he's 16/1 with Paddy Power who pay five places but on balance the grey has his fair share of weight.

Using the trends as a guideline I'm going to take a chance on outsider Billy Bronco who looks less exposed than a number in the field and was second behind I Just Know (declared Uttoxeter 4.10) in the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick in January.

Billy Bronco is 25/1 with Sky Bet paying one fifth the odds five places.

And in the event the meeting is abandoned?

I'll start my Cheltenham debrief post - and run that replay of Native River's victory in the Gold Cup.


Anonymous said...

Mrs Tips writes: I would just like to say that Richard Johnson’s smile
was a true delight after he won with his fabulous horse Native River. Fantastic race and congratulations to all involved.

Anonymous said...

Lots of question marks against many in the field over this marathon trip and/or ground.

154,WEST OF THE EDGE(IRE),8.56,12
154,PLUS JAMAIS(FR),7.02,14.5
153,THE ARTFUL COBBLER(GB),5.25,19.5
156,BILLY BRONCO(GB),4.93,21
154,ALFIE SPINNER(IRE),4.62,22
153,KRACKATOA KING(GB),4.59,22
153,GET ON THE YAGER(GB),4.54,23
155,RUSSE BLANC(FR),4.18,24
152,REGAL FLOW(GB),3.94,26
153,BOB FORD(IRE),2.8,36

Billy Bronco does appeal as an unexposed sort and 25/1 represents some value but a bit of concern that the form of the North Yorkshire Grand National will not stack up and/or he’ll stay.

Ballymalin comes out top on the system but with a red flag next to him because of the trip on this ground.

West Of The Edge looks the most likely winner but is not that attractive at the odds.

If you include the jockey’ claim Alfie Spinner is 7lbs better off than when 9th in this last year so could make a place but again his odds look short enough.

On balance a race I’ll sit out.

Good luck.


GeeDee said...

Regal Flow (16/1) turned the Midlands Grand National into something of a procession, scooting clear of Milansbar (16/1) three out to win as he liked; Bob Buckler's charge had obliged at Taunton just five days earlier. Ballymalin (14/1) took third, Silsol (10/1) fourth and Alfie Spinner (16/1) fifth.

Selection Billy Bronco (14/1) crept into the race as they approached the home turn, racing in third for a while but he went backwards from two out, coming home in eighth spot, beaten just under thirty lengths. On his first try beyond three miles six, he didn't appear to stay the trip.