Saturday 18th March 2023
Author: Jordan Yates (EvRacing_)
As we sign off from the Cheltenham Festival, I’m going to introduce a slightly new style of blog where each weekend I’ll be doing a Saturday blog that’s focused on the races that are featured on ITV, with this weekend’s action coming at Uttoxeter and Kempton.
Kicking things off will be the 1:30 at Kempton which is a handicap chase that’s contested over two miles and two furlongs, I’ve sided with Any News here at 4/1 for Neil Mulholland and Sam Twiston- Davies. He returned to form last time out when finishing third at this track, just over a length behind the winner. This is competitive, however, he looks on a very appealing mark on his old form, which includes some fine efforts in top-level company. If progressing from the last run he’s got every chance.
It’s over to Uttoxeter now for their 1:50 which is a handicap hurdle that’s contested over two miles and four furlongs. This is another competitive affair where Hitching Jacking sets the standard at the top of the betting, he’ll be tough to beat for a yard that do well around here. I’ve tried to take him on though and taken a chance on Stag Horn at 9/1 for Archie Watson and Nick Schofield. He’s not been anywhere near his best on his two outings this term, however, he’s on a decent mark here in what’s a slight ease in grade for him. He won a Grade 2 Novice Hurdle last January and clearly has a lot of ability based on that effort and his flat exploits. If returning to form he could go well at a decent price.
The 2:05 at Kempton is up next and this is another handicap hurdle, this time ridden over two miles and five furlongs. In this particular affair, I like the chances of Yorksea at 5/1 who represents Gary Moore and Niall Houlihan. He’s progressed nicely since he returned to the track in November, bolting up in a handicap at Fontwell on Boxing Day before posting a fine effort in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury when staying on to finish fourth. He gave the impression that he’ll enjoy this step up in trip and if turning up in the same kind of form as his latest effort he’s a big player.
The 2:25 at Uttoxeter is where I’ll be focusing my attention next and this is more handicap action over hurdles and contested over two miles and seven and a half furlongs. I’ve taken a chance on Wilde About Oscar here at 7/1 who represents Dan & Harry Skelton. The yard have farmed winners around Uttoxeter over recent years and I think that this eight-year-old gives presents them with another live chance. He ran a decent race last time when finishing sixth of fourteen at Sandown in the first-time tongue tie, and he remains on a mark he should be competitive off. The ground shouldn’t be an issue with him as he’s won on heavy, and if he’s going to be winning again this type of race should be within his compass.
Concluding my preview will be the 3:00 at Uttoxeter which is the feature race of the day that comes in the form of the Midlands Grand National. A fiercely competitive handicap chase that’s contested over a marathon trip of four miles and two furlongs. In this year’s renewal of the showcase race at my local track, I’ve sided with Secret Reprieve at 10/1 for Evan Williams and Adam Wedge. He won the Welsh Grand National back in 2021 and connections gave him twelve months off the track before attempting to retain his title in this season’s renewal where he finished a solid sixth. He posted a couple of below-par runs following that effort before returning to form recently when firstly finishing second back at Chepstow and then finishing third at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. He’s nicely handicapped here for a stab at another Grand National, and I think he’s got every chance on ground he’ll be very much at home on.
Image credit: horseracingphoto.co.uk