Steve Hughes has selections from the big races at two British fixtures on Saturday
Despite strong winds, it looks like everything will be going ahead today. In the aftermath of Cheltenham I am just focussing on the two big races today, the Midlands National at Uttoxeter and the Silver Plate at Kempton. Early Doors called time on the Festival with victory for us in the finale yesterday (advised 13/2).
Kempton 2.40: Burrows Edge
After a delayed start to his campaign, Burrows Edge made a very satisfactory return to the track here last month and although his performance that day was not enough to edge him into the Festival, he can win this pot as compensation in a race restricted to horses balloted out of Cheltenham.
He got to within a neck of Erick le Rouge that day, a terrific effort considering it was his first outing since the final day of last term. He probably found the going quick enough here, so the more balanced good to soft conditions should be perfect.
He was a progressive novice last season, winning at Market Rasen and Hereford on soft going over around 2m4f. He was then defeated over too short a trip at Ffos Las before running an excellent sixth in a big handicap at Sandown, coming from way back in the field over 2m before running out of time to catch up.
Uttoxeter 3.35: Milansbar & Chef D’Oeuvre
The Midlands National will be the usual war of attrition on heavy going and two horses confirmed with a liking for stamina and testing ground are preferred.
Milansbar had his big day in the Classic Chase last year at Warwick when making all over 3m5f. A combination of first time blinkers, more positive tactics and Bryony Frost riding for the first time probably made all the difference that day. Milansbar then ran a highly creditable fifth in the Grand National itself the other time Frost was able to ride.
This season has been a bit understated by comparison, but the ground has generally been too quick and the blinkers were left off at Newbury last time, although he did keep on late for fourth. The headgear and Frost are back on today and I expect him to go hard from the front to test the others for stamina.
However Chef D’Oeuvre could be the one to take advantage of the test. His record on heavy ground is outstanding – 3l winner of a point, 28l winner of a Lingfield Novice Hurdle, 4th in a Cheltenham Grade 2, 21l winner of a Fontwell novice hurdle, 30l winner of a Hereford beginners chase and a second in an Ayr handicap – the only poor effort being when tried in blinkers at Chepstow.
He did rather lose his way last season but a switch to Sam England has worked wonders. A fair fourth here when in need of the run has been followed by improved efforts every time. That included a win over 3m4f at Haydock over Christmas which should prove his stamina for this marathon trip. If anything his run back there last month when a narrow third in the Grand National trial was even better considering the going was much quicker than ideal.
1pt win – Burrows Edge – 2.40 Kempton – 9/4 general
1pt win – Milansbar – 3.35 Uttoxeter – 8/1 general
0.75pts each-way – Chef D’Oeuvre – 3.35 Uttoxeter – 12/1 general (most bookies 5th odds 1st 5)