ITV Racing tips: can Time To Get Up win the Midlands Grand National?
The 2021 Cheltenham Festival is over, it’s only 12 months to the next one. Some will already be holding ante-post vouchers on Appreciate It, Shishkin, Bob Olinger, Monkfish, and the likes.
With luck we may get to see them again at Aintree and or Punchestown but between then and now there is plenty of racing to get through.
Saturday’s action is much lower key from Kempton and Uttoxeter, with Kempton staging a series of consolation races for horses that missed the cut at Cheltenham, and the Uttoxeter coverage climaxing with the 22 runner marathon that is the Midlands National.
It all unfolds from 1.30pm on ITV4 which will show seven races live. We have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing tips.
After a bruising four days at Cheltenham, Britain’s trainers will be glad of some respite and a chance to take part in some televised domestic competition in which there is no risk of a pummeling from the Irish.
This is a competitive contest in which a case can be made for any of the nine runners.
Two years ago De Rasher Counter won this, going on to win the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, and his trainer Emma Lavelle has another candidate in the progressive Eclair Surf, a two-time chase winner who scored at Sandown last time.
Shanty Alley is on a similar trajectory and was a wide margin course winner in December before following up at Doncaster and whose last time out second to Midlands National favourite Time To Get Up looks notable.
Sam Drinkwater won’t have had many terrestrial TV winners but he has a very good chance of earning a little bit of publicity with Nightboattoclyro, who has helped take the young trainer’s career on an upward path.
Nightboattoclyro was balloted out of the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and this will be much calmer waters for the winner of all three starts since he joined the stable, which has led to a 16lb rise up the handicap.
This will still be a stiffer test but one he is capable of passing against the likes of Son Of Camas, who ran in the Ballymore at last year’s Festival, and Didtheyleaveuouttoo, who seems to have lost his way a bit since his promising Bumper days.
Who better to follow in a race of this complexity than one of the British trainers who actually had a winner during the Cheltenham Festival, Jonjo O’Neill.
Back in 2010 O’Neill captured this prize with Synchronised who went on to win the Welsh National, Lexus Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup, also for J P McManus.
Time To Get Up is in the early stages of his chasing career but has made a good fist of things since moving to Jackdaws Castle from Joseph O’Brien, for whom he finished second over hurdles behind none other than Monkfish.
His last time out victory at Wincanton was his first over fences, but he showed he relished his first try over three miles and although 4m2f is a different kettle of fish, this is a stable that knows what it’s doing in these types of races.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday 20th March
13:50 Uttoxeter – Handicap Hurdle
14:05 Kempton – Novices’ Handicap Chase
14:25 Uttoxeter – Novices’ Handicap Chase
14:40 Kempton – Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle
15:00 Uttoxeter – Handicap Hurdle
15:15 Kempton – Handicap Hurdle
15:35 Uttoxeter – Midlands Grand National
All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.