Talking Horses: Iwilldoit can live up to name in Midlands Grand National
Next month’s Grand National was a natural target for Iwilldoit after his impressive success in the Classic Chase at Warwick in January, but Sam Thomas could not get a sixth run over fences into his talented but injury-prone chaser to qualify him for Aintree and will hope to make do with Saturday’s Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter instead.
Iwilldoit would have been one of Britain’s leading contenders for Aintree, having taken the Welsh equivalent on just his fourth start over fences in December 2021. That was his second run back from a 226-day break, and he spent another year on the sidelines before his latest win at Warwick.
His impressive win there saw his mark rise to 155, within touching distance of regular Grade One performers, and though he will be giving at 10lb to 17 rivals on Saturday, Iwilldoit (3.00) travels and jumps like a horse who can continue to defy the handicapper.
Uttoxeter 1.15: Jamie Snowden was one of very few British trainers among the winners at the Festival and Up For Parol could continue the good work. He went off too hard under an inexperienced rider but has every chance on earlier form with Gavin Sheehan now taking the reins.
Kempton 1.30: Any News was a market drifter before his last race at Kempton but ran an excellent race in a first-time tongue strap and the cheekpieces that Neil Mulholland has added to the mix today could see him eke out the minor improvement required.
Uttoxeter 2.25: Collectors Item was touched off in a Grade Two at Haydock in February and an opening mark of 132 could well prove lenient as he sets out on his handicapping career.
Kempton 2.05: His stamina needs to be taken on trust, but Yorksea ran an eye-catching race in the Betfair Hurdle last time, finishing fourth from well off the pace. The runner-up there, Filey Bay, franked the form in the County Hurdle on Friday and Gary Moore’s hurdler looks overpriced at around 6-1.
Kempton 2.40: Harry Derham has made a flying start to his training career, with a 25 per cent strike from around three dozen runners so far, and Fidelio Vallis, a horse who followed him from his previous job as assistant to Paul Nicholls, could give him his best payday to date. He looked as good as ever after 14 months off at Musselburgh in February and has a leading chance to pick up the £30,000 first prize on that form.
Uttoxeter 3.35: He is more exposed than most of his rivals, but Gustavian’s improvement to record a 29-length win at Exeter last time may have been underestimated by a 5lb rise in the weights, as he stopped the clock in a useful time despite having only two opponents to beat.