The Midlands Grand National is a Listed handicap Steeplechase run over a distance of 4 miles, 1 furlong and 110 yards, and since 1991, has been run on the Saturday straight after the Cheltenham Festival.

Because of the proximity of Uttoxeter from Cheltenham, many racegoers, especially the Irish add an extra day onto their racing holiday to swell the bumper crowd on the day.

Since 1969 the Midlands Grand National has been the jewel in the crown of horse racing within the region.

The atmosphere is always one of excitement and anticipation as people await the biggest raceday in the Midlands. That excitement is always fuelled by the action witnessed throughout the previous Cheltenham Festival week.

Some interesting facts on the race include:

  • Widest winning margin – Another Excuse (1996) – distance.
  • Leading trainer- David Pipe Minella Four Star (2011), Master Overseer (2012), Big Occasion (2013), Goulanes (2014).
  • Narrowest winning margin – Fighting Chance (1974), Knock Hill (1988) – head.
  • Most runners – 22, in 1978, 1979 and 1981.
  • Fewest runners – 6, in 2000.

 

Runner-By-Runner Guide:

American

Won on this card two years ago but has been up and down form wise ever since. Currently sits on a mark of 155 and will have to concede weight all round. Conditions will suit him however.

 

Ms Parfois

Ran disappointingly at Newbury on her seasonal return but she can be excused that. She was consistent throughout her novice campaign and any return to that level of form will see her mixing up with the best in this. Once won a heavy ground bumper here which is a positive.

 

Folsom Blue

Finished eighth in the Welsh National before coming fourth over hurdles at Sandown last time. An extreme test of stamina is exactly what this veteran performer requires and he ticks many of the boxes here.

 

Smooth Stepper

Four-time winner over fences when trained by Sue Smith and loves testing ground. Won this time last year over 3m2f at Kelso and will be all the better for the drop in class here. The 10-year-old will gallop all day and he looks well overpriced in the betting.

 

Dell' Arca

Has amassed £250,000 in career earnings and is on a decent mark. Finished third at Haydock in December under a large weight but there are some question marks about his stamina holding out in this.

 

Ballydine

Holds decent form lines with Lake View Lad and Carole's Destrier this season and will certainly be at home on the ground. He looks just the type to figure well in a race of this nature.

 

Dawson City

Winner of the Devon National recently for the second year running and proving that stamina is no issue. Never does anything particularly flashy, he just picks his rivals off one by one at the end of his races.

 

Prime Venture

A maiden over fences and it would be a surprise if that came to an end here. Can be pretty temperamental at times and refuses to race occasionally.

 

Arthur's Gift

Won at Carlisle last time and relished the step up to three miles. This will be just his fourth chase however and could it could come as quite a culture shock to the gelding.

 

Jammin Masters

Has clocked up a sequence of runner-up finishes this season a long haul race may just be the thing he needs to tip the scales of justice back in his favour. Has scored on the point-to-point scene too in the past so the distance will be no problem.

 

Milansbar

A two-time course winner and he has twice been runner-up in this race. Bryony Frost gets the leg up and the pair famously combined to land the Classic Chase at Warwick. He will certainly see out the race and a top four offering should be on the cards.

 

Regal Flow

He was the 10-length winner of this race last year but is certainly not showing that same level of form this season. Ran the other day at Taunton, which is exactly the same route his trainer took last year before landing this. Impossible to rule him out.

 

Raz De Maree

This elder statesman won the Welsh National last season and finished fifth in this year’s renewal. A totally proven stayer and is languishing on a pretty decent handicap mark too. Has to be worthy of an each-way flutter at the least.

 

Potters Corner

Won at Wincanton on Boxing Day but has fallen a couple of times since. With doubts over his confidence being intact he is probably one to swerve on this occasion.

 

Chef D'Oeuvre

Won a distance race at Haydock in December after running a decent fourth here the time before. Gets a nice low weight and conditions will suit. Should go well for the man and wife pairing.

 

Back To The Thatch

Was well fancied for this last season but was pulled up. Ran well at Haydock last time out and connections will be looking for a change of luck this time around.

 

Get On The Yager

Won the Rowland Merrick last season but bombed out when finishing ninth in this race in 2018. Has had a recent wind-operation so improvement could quite easily be on the cards.

 

Kilkishen

Finished a good fourth behind Crosspark last time and races off just 1lb higher. Has no proven form in testing ground which is a worry.

 

Final Nudge

Fell in the 2017 renewal when right up there in contention. He is on a 10lb lower mark now and if he could reproduce some of his old form he would be a live contender.

 

Jetstream Jack

Was the runner-up in a couple of Grade Two races when he was trained by Gordon Elliott, but that all feels like a long time ago now. Gets in this now off 10st and he wouldn’t be one of the stupidest 66/1 bets in the horse racing odds you’d have this year.

 

Conclusion:

Not the easiest race to claw your Cheltenham Festival losses back on and invariably this race throws up something none too obvious at a decent price.

Raz De Maree is worthy of some interest as he always tend to arrive late on the scene, picking his way through tired horses, while I was impressed by Chef D'Oeuvre’s win whilst in attendance at Haydock and my thoughts were there was more to come from him this season.

888Sport suggests: Raz De Maree and Chef D'Oeuvre (e/w).

 

*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*

About the Author
By
Steve Mullington

Steven is a sports and horseracing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 25 renewals of the Grand National. 

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