Horse Racing Tips

Horse Racing Tips: Stamina to win the day for Iron Bridge in Midlands Grand National

Uttoxeter Racecourse
Uttoxeter is the venue for Saturday's big race

Mark Milligan sits in for Kevin Blake and gives his Big Race Verdict on Saturday's Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter...

  • Mark Milligan gives his Big Race Verdict

  • Midlands National a real test

  • Iron Bridge a dour stayer that should see it out best

If thrills and spills are your thing, then Staffordshire is the place to be on Saturday.

At Alton Towers theme park, the iconic Nemesis roller coaster re-opens following an eighteen-month closure that's seen the thirty-year-old ride undergo a complete revamp, and thrill-seekers from all over the country will descend on it to fill their weekend with excitement.

Just ten miles down the road, thrill-seekers of a different variety will be in attendance at Uttoxeter to savour everything the Midlands Grand National has to offer, and it will be no less exciting in its own way.

With conditions heavy at the time of writing, stamina will be at even more of premium than usual over the 4m 2f trip, and it's going to need a thorough stayer with a big heart to see things out.

From a pace perspective, the gallop should be a sensible one, with the likes of Ask Me Early and Inis Oirr expected to be on the front end according to the Timeform pace map.

It's likely that Farceur Du Large, Guetapan Collonges, My Silver Lining and Truckers Lodge will be in the next wave just behind the main pace, while Beauport and Mr Incredible will be amongst those held up towards the rear.

Can top weight defy the trends?

The trends tell us that this is a race in which it's very difficult to carry a big weight to victory and that's enough for me to pass on the well-fancied Mr Incredible, for all that Willie Mullins looks to have targeted him specifically for this race.

We haven't seen this enigmatic sort for over a year, and he's not the most reliable of conveyances anyway, so I'm highly doubtful he's got the capacity to carry top weight to success in what will be a gruelling test of attrition.

Of course, the fact he's trained by the master of Closutton means he's got the capacity to make a mockery of the trends, and if you'd fancy any trainer to pull off this sort of move it would be Willie Mullins himself, but he's not for me at the current prices.

Welsh National a key piece of form

I had a good long look at Autonomous Cloud, mainly on the back of his excellent course form, winning twice at this track before being a strong fancy for the Welsh National over Christmas.

He may still be a novice but his jumping is very sound and that ought to count for a lot here, but he didn't see things out at Chepstow, eventually pulling up and also reported to have bled.

It would be no surprise were he to bounce back, particularly as he's trained by the excellent Fergal O'Brien but that las run is enough for me to pass him over.

Instead, I'm going for another that ran in the Welsh National - the runner-up in fact - Iron Bridge, who I've had on my radar for some time where this race is concerned.

This son of Milan is an out-and-out stayer, and he strikes me as very similar to Jonjo O'Neill's last winner of this race, Time To Get Up, in 2021.

Granted, Iron Bridge has had more runs over fences than that one but he's still relatively unexposed as a chaser and he built on that good Welsh National run when finishing third in the Grand National Trial at Haydock last time.

His mark remains unchanged for this race on 140 and I'm absolutely convinced he has a race of this nature in him from that sort of perch.

Iron Bridge will be staying on up the home straight when plenty of the rest have cried enough, with stamina very much his strong suit.

Back Iron Bridge 15:00 Uttoxeter @ 7/24.50

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