Midlands Grand National Tips 2022: Fry to strike at Uttoxeter

A competitive field will line up for the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter
A competitive field will line up for the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter

Following an action-packed Cheltenham Festival, the National Hunt eyes veer to Uttoxeter for the Midlands Grand National, and Steve Chambers previews the marathon contest and picks out his best bet...

Jonjo O'Neill's Time To Get Up producing a stunning staying performance to win this race 12 months ago, and the Jackdaws Castle inmate will return to the Staffordshire venue again on Saturday to try and retain his crown. Clear at the head of the betting, the nine-year-old will line up off a 4lb higher mark in this year's event, so he will need to improve to get his head in front again.

He was last seen finishing a creditable third in the Grand National Trial at Haydock, and has since been dropped 2lb for that effort, so a mark of 142 looks feasible, as he is one of the contenders that will relish the real test of stamina that this race offers, and it's hard to not see him make the frame at the very least.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Truckers Lodge was a fine winner of this race back in 2020, but failed to follow up when seventh in this race 12 months. A third placed finish at Ascot sees him head into the event in decent form, but he's 8lbs higher in the 2022 renewal than his winning mark of 141, so it's hard to see the Ditcheat raider landing the prize again.

Last seen winning the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle, Wholestone will return to the chasing game on Saturday, and having only had three career starts over fences he's somewhat of an unknown quantity over the larger obstacles. Arguably, the class act of the race, Wholestone has proven a real star over three miles down the years, but this extreme distance could stretch his stamina, and he may just falter in the closing stages.

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Carrying top weight will be the veteran Yala Enki, who is one that relishes these sort of stamina tests, and he heads into the event on the back of a brace of wins at Cheltenham and Taunton, but this is much tougher than both of those events, and off 159, he's going to find it extremely tough to give significant weight away to all his rivals, and he's worth ignoring.

Harry Fry's MOMELLA was last seen chasing home the leading Grand National contender Snow Leopardess at Exeter over three miles, and the ten-year-old who racked up three wins last season, is a fascinating contender stepping up in trip. A workable mark of 134 has given him a notable chance to strike here, and while stamina is a slight worry at double-figured odds he marks a decent each-way play.

Of the others, Shark Hanlon's Hewick heads into the event in fine fettle having won two of his last three races, and he was an excellent winner at Sedgefield last time out, while Screaming Colours was a decent fourth in this event 12 months ago, but lines up off a considerably higher mark today.  Final Nudge, Captain Drake and Achille are all dour stayers, but they will find it tough to land a blow in a race that can to the way of the Sherwood yard.

Midlands Grand National
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