Steve Hughes previews Uttoxeter’s big day of the year on Saturday
A cracking card at Uttoxeter to follow up the Cheltenham Festival and two chases on the card take my fancy including the Midlands National.
Uttoxeter 2.25: Midnight Tune
This race could be won and lost in the first furlong and I am hoping jockey Aidan Coleman can gain the upper hand early on Midnight Tune.
A heavy ground specialist, she is also a confirmed front-runner and the key will be getting the head of the race over fellow pacesetter Clondaw Anchor. If so she is a mare that proves hard to pass. Wearing cheekpieces last time, nothing could get near her at Warwick in a quality mares handicap.
Prior to that she won by 32l over this course and distance in an admittedly modest novice. A grade 2 at Haydock was too competitive for her to dominate, but this is easier and she does not have much weight to concede even to the ones at the bottom of the handicap.
Uttoxeter 3.35: Dominateur & Truckers Lodge
The presence of De Rasher Counter in this condenses the weights for the Midlands National and that means two classy novices get a decent racing weight.
Dominateur looks a thorough stayer and a horse who could be made for these staying handicaps. He was not quick enough for 3m around Wetherby in a Grade 2 last time, but his true worth was shown in previous races on stiffer tracks. He won on both runs at Chepstow over 3m, jumping fluently on the latter occasion at the Welsh National meeting and ultimately winning through staying power. Owner Andrew Brooks had a fine week at Cheltenham and his colours can be seen to good effect again.
However the first choice must be Truckers Lodge who made a fine handicap chase debut when second in the Welsh National. His ability in these big staying handicaps is therefore already confirmed and he is only up 2lbs for that run. Kept fresh for this since he will surely have been prepped to perfection by Paul Nicholls and stable conditional Lorcan Williams keeps the ride, claiming the valuable 3lbs.
1pt each-way – Midnight Tune – 2.25 Uttoxeter – 6/1 general
0.75pts each-way – Dominateur – 3.35 Uttoxeter – 14/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 4)
1pt win – Truckers Lodge – 3.35 Uttoxeter – 5/1 BetVictor, William Hill