Midlands Grand National Tips: Back The Two Amigos to star at Uttoxeter

Midlands Grand National Tips: Truckers Lodge won the 2020 renewal.
Midlands Grand National Tips: Truckers Lodge won the 2020 renewal.

Steve Chambers previews the Midlands Grand National, which is the showpiece event at Uttoxeter on Saturday, and he picks out his best bet for the marathon contest...

Steve Chambers' Midlands Grand National Tip

The Two Amigos (each way) at 14/1 with bet365

National Hunt fans may feel a little flat after four spectacular days of action at the Cheltenham Festival, but Uttoxeter's card on Saturday afternoon should quickly improve the mood and the feature race of the day is the Midlands Grand National, which this year is a hugely competitive-looking betting heat with a maximum field heading to the 4m 2f 8y start for a real marathon test.

Paul Nicholls trained the winner of the race 12 months ago with Truckers Lodge bounding to glory and the Ditcheat inmate will look to retain his crown this weekend and has to come into calculations. Relishing the heavy ground in last year's renewal, the nine-year-old will not only have to deal with much quicker conditions this time around, but is a whopping 12lb higher for this year's renewal, so it's hard to see him replicating last year's win.

Jonjo O'Neill's Time To Get Up is the market leader, at the time of writing, and this lightly-raced eight-year-old was last seen winning at Wincanton by five lengths. Upped 8lb for that success, which may not be enough to halt his progression, and while he steps up in distance again he shaped like that shouldn't be a problem, and he is the one to beat.

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The Venetia Williams-trained veteran Achille has been a real model of consistency in top notch handicap chases this season, and having finished second in the Classic Chase at Warwick, he then followed up with a runner-up spot in the Grand National Trial. One that will relish this extreme distance, the 11-year-old has been given another 4lb rise, and a mark of 142 looks tough. 

While the Nicholls team will saddle Truckers Lodge, their arguable first string is Headland Hunter, who is piloted by Harry Cobden. A taking win at Carlisle was followed by a decent second placed finish at Exeter, and he looks to be a stayer on the upgrade, while the Harry Fry-trained Captain Drake was a superb second in this race 12 months ago, and off a meagre 2lb higher mark has to be respected, and could be one of the most solid each-way options.

Another regular in staying events is Nicky Martin's The Two Amigos, who was last seen finishing third in the Grand National Trial at Haydock. Prior to that he put up a bold effort to finish second in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow, and running off the same mark as his third at Haydock then he could capitalise on a mark of 144. A winner on good to soft in the early part of his career, The Two Amigos has become a real model of consistency in long distance races, so at double-figured odds looks a superb bet.

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Screaming Colours will make the trip over from Ireland and has been running excellently of late racking up a trio of second placed finishes at Punchestown, which included a runner-up spot in the Punchestown Grand National Trial in February. 5lb higher for that performance, he could still have some improvement and looks an eye-catching contender, while Dan Skelton's Tommy Rapper was last seen running well over hurdles, but had previously picked up a win over fences at Exeter and a return to the larger obstacles could see him at his best.

Ramses De Teillee, Coo Star Sivola and Prime Venture all have some decent form on their CVs, with the former showing his abilities when winning a competitive heat at Cheltenham in November. He's failed to build on that success, but David Pipe's charge appears to be the most likely of the aforementioned trio to go close here.

Golan Fortune and Acting Lass add more depth to the contest, with the former returning to fences having been seen over hurdles last time out, while Acting Lass has been a little out of sorts of late, but has stamina in abundance to play a part if on a going day, but it's The Two Amigos that can strike gold for the Martin team in a thrilling renewal.

Selection:

Midlands Grand National, Saturday 19th March - back The Two Amigos (each-way) at 14/1 (bet365)

Midlands Grand National
The Two Amigos silk

The Two Amigos (EW)

lost
Midlands Grand National Odds

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