Back To The Thatch bids to put matters right in Midlands National
Marston’s 61 Deep Midlands Grand National (Listed handicap chase) | 4m2f | ITV4/Sky
A real slog in the Uttoxeter mud over 4m2f is never for the faint-hearted. Back To The Thatch, who looked the ideal candidate for this marathon 12 months ago only to be pulled up behind Regal Flow, gets another chance to shine.
Runner-up to Chef D’Oeuvre at Haydock in December, he appears to have been primed for this day.
Trainer Henry Daly said: “Soft ground won’t be a problem and nor will the trip. Everything seems to be about right.
“We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting, and missed the Eider because it wasn’t soft enough at Newcastle. Hopefully that patience will pay off.”
Ms Parfois could 'take all the beating'
Ms Parfois was strongly fancied for the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury in December but ran below expectations.
Runner-up to Rathvinden in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last March, she competes off the same rating this time, and trainer Anthony Honeyball, who has his team in much better form now, is upbeat about her putting that Newbury disappointment behind her.
“Conditions should suit and she’s got good form in the book,” he said. “If she runs to somewhere near her novice chase form from last season she will take all the beating. That form suggests she is capable of winning this race off what looks a very workable mark.”
Twiston-Davies believes Arthur’s Gift will stay
Nigel Twiston-Davies, who won this race with Baron Windrush in 2007, has another strong candidate this time in recent Carlisle winner Arthur’s Gift.
The strong-galloping eight-year-old powered up the hill over 3m that day to slam Len Brennan by five lengths, looking the type who could find further improvement for this step up in trip.
He has a nice racing weight of 10st 10lb and Twiston-Davies said: “He was an encouraging winner at Carlisle over three miles last time and jumps and stays, so it will all be good for him. The ground won't be a problem either.”
2018 hero Regal Flow beginning to fire again
Regal Flow landed a memorable double in this week last year when following up an impressive Taunton win on the Monday by taking the Midlands National by ten lengths from Milansbar.
He hasn’t recaptured that form so far this term, but there were more encouraging signs in that same Taunton race five days ago when he finished third to Samuel Jackson.
Can lightning strike twice?
What they say
Gary O’Brien, of the Core Partnership, owners of Folsom Blue
It will be the first time this season he’ll have the really testing ground he wants. We know he stays, so there will be no excuses.
Alex Hales, trainer of Smooth Stepper
He ran quite well at Ascot last time behind some real good horses. That performance showed us that he needs further – he was doing his best work at the finish. He’ll like the ground and goes there in good order.
Charlie Longsdon, trainer of Ballydine
He’ll relish the very soft ground and the step up in trip. He should run very well.
Evan Williams, trainer of Prime Venture
He’s an interesting one. I can’t tell you if he’ll stay, but have a hunch that he might. Some of his form isn’t too bad and we feel the Midlands National is worth a punt.
Warren Greatrex, trainer of Jammin Masters
It's the first time he'll have his ground all season. I'd be pretty confident he'd get the trip and he's probably one of the least-exposed horses in the field, so fingers crossed he can run well. His form's okay, but the ground is key – he really does need it soft and he's better being ridden from behind and taking our time with him, so this race should suit him a lot.
Neil King, trainer of Milansbar
He’s in nice form. I was pleased with his run at Newbury. He stayed on well there over an inadequate trip. He's run well in this race twice before and has a more competitive weight this time. He’s got a proper each-way chance.
Sam England, trainer of Chef D’Oeuvre
He should have his ground and is in good form. I hope we’ve got a real each-way chance.
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