With Cheltenham over for another year and Coronavirus decimating the sporting calendar, it’s down to Uttoxeter and Kempton to fill the spotlight on ITV this Saturday.
We’ve got a magnificent seven races to look forward to live on the box, culminating in the Midlands Grand National, where Christmas In April and Truckers Lodge will bid to emulate 2019 winner Potters Corner.
Can either of them do it? We’ve had our say on each and every race in our ITV Racing Tips.
NAP – Truckers Lodge – 3:35 Uttoxeter
There aren’t many more demanding races than the Midlands Grand National. The 4m 2f slog, which looks as though it’ll be run on heavy ground, requires a real dour stayer who can win a war of attrition.
Truckers Lodge could be the answer for Paul Nicholls. Our pick has form in the book after finishing an excellent second to 2019 Midlands Grand National winner Potters Corner in the Welsh Grand National in December.
He’s had a nice bit of time off since to prepare for this, and off just 2lb higher than his runner-up berth at Chepstow, we’re expecting a big run from the eight-year-old over just 4f further.
NB – McFabulous – 2:05 Kempton
McFabulous looks set to go off as a warm favourite in this big field Handicap and there’s every chance the Ditcheat runner will justify his status as the ante-post jolly.
The six-year-old is a Grade 2 bumper winner and has made his presence felt this season with a frame finish and a taking success at Market Rasen either side of bombing out in the Supreme Trial last December.
This contest represents a much easier task for the selection, who will go Handicapping for the first time off an attractive mark of 132 given his career exploits so far.
Lively Longshot – Sensulano – 3:15 Kempton
You can make a case for a number of chances in this wide-open Handicap but it’s Sensulano who takes our fancy after finishing second to 2019 Grand National runner-up Magic Of Light at Ascot last time out.
Granted, that was over sticks, but the seven-year-old has shown ample form over fences this season too, landing a double at Fontwell and Warwick in impressive style under Leighton Aspell late last year.
Jonjo O’Neill Jr. will take the ride this time, and with the young jockey seemingly liking the spotlight in these big Saturday races, we reckon the pair can give us a good run off a fair mark of 138.
ITV Racing Tips:
1:50 Uttoxeter – Tambura
2:05 Kempton – McFabulous (NB)
2:25 Uttoxeter – Sam’s Adventure
2:40 Kempton – Tamaroc Du Mathan
3:00 Uttoxeter – Kateson (each-way)
3:15 Kempton – Sensulano (Lively Longshot)
3:35 Uttoxeter – Truckers Lodge (NAP)
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication