Now we all know the Midlands Grand National on this Saturday is in complete contrast to the week just experienced at The Festival.
And no race portrays that better than the gruelling, four mile two furlong trip at Uttoxeter.
Ms. Parfois could take all the beating based on her novice form having only been defeated to horses that have won Grade 1’s at that level.
The mare’s performance in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in 2018 would also bring her bang into this. She ran well for a long way in the Ladbroke Trophy, but she seemed to tire late on for her first start of the season. Another long absence of 126 days isn’t the most inspiring and the Grand National could be the main target in three weeks time.
Instead, I really like the look of lightly raced nine-year-old, BALLYDINE, who could be just the right type for this kind of slog. He has long been held in high regard by his trainer Charlie Longsdon and remains unexposed at this sort of trip.
He was entered in the four mile National Hunt Chase last season as a novice having picked up a three mile race at Sandown in testing conditions last February, and he also has form against Barters Hill in a Grade 2 as a novice hurdler; so might possess a touch of class.
Ballydine progressed from his opening start of the season to run Carole’s Destrier to a close second at the winner’s specialist track of Newbury.
That was followed by a really eye-catching performance in his last start in the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase, when he made a bad blunder three out, and should have been out of the race.
But I loved the way he steadied himself at the next, before rallying and staying on into third over 3m 2f.
Ballydine was racing five pounds out of the handicap at Haydock and has been kept on the same mark of 140 by the handicapper, which means he carries a really nice racing weight of 10st 10lbs.
With only six appearances over fences Ballydine could show big improvement on his first attempt over a marathon trip and I think that he has a cracking each-way chance off a workable mark.
1pt each-way Ballydine @9/1, 15:35 Uttoxeter, Saturday (1-7 places, 1/5 odds with William Hill)