Cheltenham may be over but there is still plenty of mileage in the National Hunt season and a hugely competitive Betfred Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter should help with punters’ withdrawal symptoms.
The Midlands National is one of the most gruelling races on the fixture list and chasers simply won’t get home if they don’t stay every inch of the trip. Stamina won’t be a problem for Master Overseer (8/1 with bet365) as he won the race last year, just getting the best of a protracted duel with Major Malarkey (12/1 with bet365 and Betfred). He’s won again twice this season, over 3m2f and 3m4f, but has also failed to finish on a couple of occasions and has been known to sulk if he can’t get his own way on the head of affairs. He was pulled up when Monbeg Dude (8/1 with Betfred and BetVictor) won the Welsh National in January and, a massive 21lb higher this time around, is surely worth taking on this time. The stable also run Big Occasion (12/1 with bet365) from out of the handicap, however, and he could be interesting. Though still a maiden over fences, his two most recent runs suggest he’s suited by a real test of stamina and a useful amateur rider takes off 7lb.
Chac Du Cadran enters the equation following his victory in the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick. But the bookmakers have taken no chances with Chris Bealby‘s seven-year-old at a best 9/2 (Stan James) as he’s gone up 11lb in the weights since and is taken on much better opposition now. The hat-trick-seeking Cool Operator (a general 8/1) tackles a Class 1 race for the first time at the age of 10 and also looks too short in the betting while One In A Milan (11/1 with BetVictor) has never been beyond 3m before and simply doesn’t look good enough.
I’d rather have an each-way interest in Fill The Power (12/1 with BetVictor and Stan James) or Global Power (16/1 general) who both give the impression they’ll stay as former Hennessy winner Carruthers (9/1 with Betfred and BetVictor) would have to be at his very best to carry a welter burden into the frame and I need more evidence before determining whether Silver By Nature (a general 20/1) is anywhere near as good as he once was after injury.
At the odds (14/1 with bet365 and Betfred), I like the look of BRADLEY. He was never travelling when pulled up in a Grade 3 at Warwick last time but, if we take that as a one-off, Fergal O’Brien‘s former hunter chaser has a big chance at the weights in this. A huge 18lb better off with Master Overseer than when fifth at Cheltenham earlier and 17lb better off than when only beaten a neck by Monbeg Dude in November, all of his four previous victories have come in the spring and we’re hoping for another masterclass in waiting tactics from Timmy Murphy to get him home in front.