Horse Racing

Uttoxeter Saturday 19th March

Saturday 19th March 15:35

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview and betting tips for Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter on Saturday.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Gwencily Berbas 30/130/1 E/W (6 Places)
3.35 Uttoxeter
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 18/03/2022

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (20:00 18/03/2022) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

No rest for the wicked, as they say. For trainers, for pundits, for jockeys – no sooner has the curtain fallen on the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, than there is the small matter of £84,405 to be competed for in Saturday’s Boulton Group Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter at 3.35.

None of the 18 jockeys involved will be flying as high as Young Dev’s companion Mark McDonagh, who made his first ride on these shores a winning one – in the white-hot heat of the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle on Friday. Quite extraordinary.

It’s amazing what confidence can do, but I would be surprised if McDonagh made it 2 from 2 in this mega-valuable marathon. Last year’s winnerTime To Get Up clearly has a much greater chance for the Jonjo O’Neill senior and junior combo.

Off the back of a huge effort in the Grand National Trial at Haydock, and with some newly employed cheekpieces, he has a favourites chance, but at7/2 I’d be happy to entertain the thought that the brutal Haydock race could have left a mark.

The likes of Truckers Lodge, Yala Enki, Screaming Colours, Final Nudge and Achille are all regulars in this type of race, and will there or thereabouts again you’d imagine. But perhaps the case with some of them could be that, the more you go to the well in races like this, the less there is left each time you search for more.

So, with that in mind, despite being an evergreen 11-year-old, the David Pipe-trainedGwencily Berbas gets the vote at a whopping30/1 with Paddy Power for 6 places each-way. He may have officially entered the veteran category, butGwencily Berbas is intriguingly unexposed over extreme distances.

In a 32-race career under rules,Gwencily Berbas has only raced over 3m1f or further on four occasions, and each time he has suggested that the further he goes, the better he will be. Back in 2017, as a novice chaser, he wasn’t far behind that season’s Irish Grand National winner Our Duke in a beginners’ chase and also won over 3m1f at Roscommon.

It has been a mixed bag since, but since joining David Pipe, undergoing a wind operation and having the cheekpieces refitted,Gwencily Berbas has looked right back to his best. He was a ridiculously easy winner of a 3m6f handicap chase at Exeter at 25/1 after running on strongly over 3m2f at Kelso earlier in the campaign.

This prompted connections to have tilt at the Eider Chase at Newcastle three weeks ago, and over a trip just shy of what he will encounter atUttoxeter on Saturday,Gwencily Berbas ran a massive race.

The beaten distance of 13 lengths doesn’t tell the whole story, as it was a race dominated either by horses that raced prominently, or came with a well-timed gradual challenge, like the hugely improving and unexposed winner Win My Wings.

Gwencily Berbas set off in rear, jumped and travelled well, and found himself easing into contention a little earlier than ideal and wider than many on occasions. To still be within hailing distance of the protagonists over the last couple of fences was a big effort, and a last fence mistake accentuated the beaten distance also.

Gwencily Berbas has the inherent class as a 2m Grade 2 and Grade 3 winning hurdler, to cope with this slightly deeper race, and given a slightly more economical passage through the race, can run much better than his odds of30/1 each-way with Paddy Power for 6 places imply.

If you have one bet on Saturday, and I could imagine if you are ‘all wagered out’ after the frantic week at Cheltenham, then let it be this30/1 each-way chance onGwencily Berbas, in theMidlands Grand National.

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