Midlands Grand National horse-by-horse runners guide

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Midlands Grand National horse-by-horse runners guide

At The Races senior form analyst Jamie Lynch has a horse-by-horse guide for Uttoxeter’s Midlands Grand National – live on Sky Sports Racing.

The field may be smaller than usual for the bet365 Midlands Grand National (3.00). Let’s look at the contenders for the Uttoxeter feature…

1. MR INCREDIBLE

Jockey: B Hayes, Trainer: W P Mullins

He’s less Mr Incredible and more Mr Indelible from the stains on his character, once refusing to race and then refusing to concentrate up the run-in when having one hand on last year’s Kim Muir, after which he was sent off only 14/1 for the Grand National, only to unseat a good way after the Canal Turn. It’s impossible to know whether we’ll get the talent or the temperament, but it would count amongst magician Mullins’ most wondrous works to him to win a Midlands National first time out under top weight.

2. BEAUPORT

J: Jordan Nailor, T: N A Twiston-Davies

Relished his first marathon when outrunning all bar staying specialist Truckers Lodge in the London National at Sandown in December, but that was a solo spike in an otherwise frustrating fencing career that’s perhaps better typified by his subsequent shocker in the Classic Chase. He has the ability to go far but apparently not the attitude, so much so that it’s a surprise they haven’t reached for headgear for him.

Iron Bridge is the favourite for the Midlands Grand National

Image: Iron Bridge is the favourite for the Midlands Grand National

3. IRON BRIDGE

J: Jonjo O’Neill Jr, T: Jonjo O’Neill

Probably had this date in the diary ever since he was edged out by Autonomous Cloud in the novice event on this day last year, and he’s made the greater graduations of that pair in their second season, finishing second in the Welsh National (albeit not in the same parish as Nassalam) and third in Haydock’s Grand National Trial. He’s a profiler’s dream for this race as a stamina-stacked, second-season chaser.

4. TRUCKERS LODGE

J: Freddie Gingell (5lb), T: P F Nicholls

It’s worth marking and even marvelling for a moment that this will be his fifth straight appearance in the Midlands National, having won it at the first attempt, and finished seventh, sixth and eighth in the intervening years. Success at Sandown (in the London National) showed he’s still got fire in his belly at the age of 12 and he’s gone back to the trusty old routine of staying fresh for this since the Welsh National, though he was pulled up at Chepstow.

Truckers Lodge

Image: Truckers Lodge will be making his fifth appearance in the Midlands Grand National

5. FARCEUR DU LARGE

J: G Sheehan, T: Jamie Snowden

New lease of life upon transfer from Ireland and quick marched his way to the Military double at Sandown, where improved jumping prompted the improved form. This is a different level altogether, but a reassessed mark of 136 is by no means harsh considering he beat next-time winners both times, and it’s worth remembering that Noel Meade did try him in an Irish Grand National. We don’t know his limits whereas we do with most of the rest.

6. AUTONOMOUS CLOUD

J: P J Brennan, T: F O’Brien

When Nassalam ran away with the Welsh Grand National he was joint-favourite with which horse? The very fact that question is being posed here tells you the answer, but it did seem legitimate at the time that Autonomous Cloud was so much in focus because of his profile and preceding performances at Uttoxeter, in the mud. Given he bled at Chepstow, is it safe to forgive or dangerous to forget, the pivotal problem for punters in assessing him, also in a tongue tie here, but one dark brushstroke doesn’t necessarily take away from the brighter bigger picture.

7. GUETEPAN COLLONGES

J: R P McLernon, T: C E Longsdon

Fourth as favourite in this race last year when within striking distance on the home turn before succumbing to stronger stayers, or so it seemed. While it remains to be seen if he has increased his endurance this season, he has certainly increased his rating and finished third in the Classic Chase at Warwick, one place better than 2023. The stable is suddenly going better than at any other point this campaign, and a tongue strap is another reason for another rise.

8. ASK ME EARLY

J: J J Burke, T: H Fry

The fire looked to have gone out before he was reignited by first-time cheekpieces at Exeter, the pivot to his slide in the handicap. There’s obviously the make-or-break question as to whether the headgear will energise him to the same extent a second time, but he appeared made to measure for the Midlands National as far back as when he won the novice handicap chase at this fixture in 2021.

Ask Me Early winning the 1834 Novices' Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter racecourse back in 2021

Image: Ask Me Early winning the 1834 Novices’ Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter racecourse back in 2021

10. MY SILVER LINING

J: James Best, T: E C Lavelle

In a week in which most of the handicap winners at the Festival have benefited from keeping their powder dry, her campaigning has been both refreshing and reassuring, as well as a reminder of what regular racing can do even with staying chasers, as every time she has come to the track she has raised her game, encompassing five races, 16½ miles and 105 fences, never out of the first two. The best ability is sometimes durability and she’ll be there or thereabouts once more.

11. YOUNG DEV

J: Daniel King (3lb), T: D Hogan

Runner-up in the 2022 edition off a mark of 133, and now he’s 122, but justifiably so, even if there was a temporary rebound by him when he won at Navan in February. Beaten favourite only last week in a race that bears little resemblance to this one and easy enough to pass over at his stage.

Young Dev came second in 2022's renewal of the race

Image: Young Dev came second in 2022’s renewal of the race

12. FOXBORO

J: Harry Kimber (3lb), T: R Walford

In his element with a slog but on his terms and his second in the Devon National last time was about as hollow as it gets, beaten no less than 60 lengths by the winner Mr Vango. The bigger the field the sooner he tends to get demotivated.

13. GOLD CLERMONT

J: Phillip Armson (3lb), T: A Irvine

In the form of her life this season and showed her trademark qualities of spirit and stamina when she finished fourth in the gruelling Eider. However, this is harder still – she’s as much as 7lb out of the weights – and she’s probably biting off more than she can chew.

JAMIE LYNCH’S VERDICT

Jonjo O’Neill’s second-season chaser Iron Bridge is an easy sell, but it may pay to give a pass to AUTONOMOUS CLOUD for Chepstow and focus not on what went wrong there, but on what went right to get him to a Welsh National with a leading chance, especially as his qualifying work came at this course under similar conditions, and we’re yet to see all of his stamina.

Watch the Midlands Grand National live on Sky Sports Racing.

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