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Harry Topper out to prove Bailey right in Midlands National

| 15.03.2014

Harry Topper had a Gold Cup entry before the ground hardened and will likely be vying for favouritism to justify that lofty assessment in the Midlands Grand National.

Kim Bailey’s charge was a winner on his seasonal reappearance and made it two from four for the campaign with a 25-length demolition of Al Ferof in the Denman Chase in the second week of last month.

That performance obviously made connections feel it was worth taking a chance in the Festival showpiece and will understandably encourage punters here in turn.

Unsurprisingly, there are no shortage of alternatives, notably in Willie Mullins’ Are Ya Right Chief. Ante-post investors wouldn’t have been thrilled to see Ruby Walsh break his wrist yesterday but Mullins has no shortage of able deputies and the son of Flemensfirth will arrive with strong claims.

Some would question the fact that the nine-year-old has only crossed the winning line in twice once in 14 starts, but he is generally a very consistent performer, placing five times.

Venetia Williams has been enjoying extremely prosperous weekends recently and the sagacious saddler will be hoping that the reliable Emperor’s Choice can keep the good times going.

In 21 starts the seven–year-old has found the money more times than not and with the stable going so well another son of Flemensfirth requires serious consideration.

Finally, Goulanes deserves a mention for the high-flying David Pipe team. Pondhouse enjoyed an excellent Festival with three winners but perhaps most pleasing will be the riding performances of Tom Scudamore who looks to have come of age in the Cotswolds.

Their charge has been disappointing this term having only beaten three home on his reappearance and after being pulled up on his subsequent and last start.

However, Pipe takes after his father in being able to rekindle these types and it would be no surprise to see the eight-year-old at the forefront of affairs when it matters most.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Sam Foster