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Although Cheltenham has now finished, the national hunt road continues to Uttoxeter and the ever popular Midlands Grand National due off at 3.35.
The weather forecast looks absolutely terrible and on the top of the prevailing ground there is a chance that the meeting may not survive the heavy rain making its way to the track.
More than any other National in the racing year this one requires stamina and more stamina, probably even more so than the Welsh National and despite a poor run in this race last year, Back To The Thatch has to be considered this time around.
Henry Daly’s charge was going to run in the Eider Chase at Newcastle but was withdrawn as the going was just a shade too quick for him. This ground will suit him so much better, but based on last year’s run and his previous attempts at this trip I am not quite sure he stays this kind of distance.
He is rightly feared, but I thought a better value bet and nap was BALLYDINE, the type of horse that Nigel Twiston-Davies does so well with.
He is slightly out of the handicap, but I think that his light weight more than makes up for that and he has been crying out for a test of this nature and the ground shouldn’t be a problem either.
In a typically open renewal the likes of Folsom Blue, the in-form Dawson City and Kilkishen could all run well, the last named of that trio looking as though he needed a deeper test of stamina when running well until the closing stages of the Eider Chase before being outpaced; this ground will suit him better and he too has a light weight.
The rest of the races on this valuable card look just as difficult to solve for the punter, but I will be having a hefty each-way play on TARA FLOW in the 2.25 up against the boys.
Having a light weight in this ground is going to count for plenty and this daughter of Kayf Tara will relish splashing through the mud. Her record in testing going is 1216 and she has been crying out for this step up in distance.
THEO’S CHARM (NAP) is gradually being shown some mercy by the handicapper and he looks ready to strike off a mark of 1.30 in the staying handicap hurdle due off at 3.00, while I fancy a big run from BOB FORD off top-weight in the two-and-a-half mile chase at 4.45.
Over at Kempton Park, there are some nice post Festival prizes on offer and BURROWS EDGE may be able to defy top-weight for Nicky Henderson in the 2m5f handicap hurdle at 2.40.
If he puts in a clear round of jumping Nigel Twiston-Davies should saddle the winner of the big two-and-a-half mile handicap chase, EL TERREMOTO at 3.15.
There is a really interesting card at Wolverhampton this evening as well which is worth a second look and I have picked up a couple of entries well worth a play.
DON’T DO IT (nb) is a young horse on the up and with the weight he is set to receive from Citta D’Oro in the 5.40 I anticipate a massive run. He also has a cracking draw and the stable remains in really good form as well.
Later on at the Dunstall Park track, the mile and three quarter handicap at 7.45 looks wide open, but the solid investment has to be on LOVE RAT, a winner last time out at Lingfield Park.
This son of Mawatheeq takes plenty of driving along and doesn’t do anything quickly so this extra quarter of a mile should be perfect for him and I will be massively surprised if he is not involved in the finish tomorrow.
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