A TOTAL of 58 horses have been entered for the 50th running of The Marston’s 61 Deep Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter Racecourse this Saturday (March 16).
The feature race of the season at the East Staffordshire course, will be run over 4 mile 2 furlongs and has a total prize fund of £150,000.
The Class 1 chase has once again attracted some of the top staying steeplechasers from across Britain and Ireland, with 19 entries carrying a BHA rating of 140 and above.
The entries are headed by Venetia Williams’ 155 rated YALA ENKI, winner of a Class 2 three-mile Handicap Chase at Bangor in November. Not far behind in the ratings with three at 154, the race has attracted Collin Tizzard’sROBINSFIRTH and SIZING CODELCO, along with Harry Fry’s AMERICAN winner at this fixture in 2017.
Another interesting entry is Anthony Honeyballs’s MS PARFOIS, a clear stayer having come second to Rathviden in a 4m Novices’ Chase at last years’ Cheltenham Festival.
2018 Midlands Grand National winner, REGAL FLOW, may bid to defend his crown once more and could be up against the horse he beat for the £70,000+ winner’s prize that day, MILANSBAR, trained by Neil King. MILANSBAR has managed to secure second position in this race twice, so could this finally be his year to cross the line in first position?
Closer to home, Jane Gerard-Pearse, the daughter of Sir Stanley Clarke the previous owner of Uttoxeter Racecourse, runs SHANTOU VILLAGE who has had previous form over two and half miles, so the Midlands Grand National will be a step up in distance.
Uttoxeter Racecourse’s leading Trainer, Dan Skelton, has two entries with 133 rated GET ON THE YAGER andANGE DES MALBERAUX rated 126.
RAZ DE MAREEE has previously enjoyed success over long distance chases having won the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow in January 2018 following its abandonment in December 2017 when he was ridden by up and coming star of the weighing room, seventeen-year-old James Bowen.
Trainer David Pipe has an outstanding record in the race, having won four times in a row between 2011 and 2014, and has entered a total of 2 this year, including the quirky DAKLONDIKE who refused to race at the Eider Chase in Newcastle but has plenty of guts and finesse when he’s on form. DELL’ ARCA seems to like the ground at Uttoxeter having won here twice.
Gordon Elliott could be a strong contender making a trip across the Irish Sea FOLSOM BLUE , whilst 2017 Midlands Grand National winning trainer, Fergal O’Brien, enters three with BARNEY DWAN,PERFECT CANDIDATE and LOVELY JOB.
Four races from Uttoxeter will be broadcast by ITV Racing, including the Marston’s 61 Deep Midlands Grand National.
Uttoxeter Racecourse Executive Director David MacDonald commented, “We’re extremely pleased with this year’s entries for the 50th anniversary of the Midlands Grand National and once again it looks set to be another competitive race.
“I am also absolutely delighted to forge and extend an already fruitful partnership with Marston’s for the Midlands Grand National. They have been tremendous supporters of racing at Uttoxeter, and it gives me great pride to see such a fantastic national brand based just down the road in Burton take the top spot at our biggest meeting of the year.”
As it’s the day before St. Patrick’s Day there will be live music from Irish band, Radio Murphy, before racing within the all-new Marston’s 61 Deep Rugby Village located in the Centre Course.
Rugby followers at the meeting will also be able to enjoy all three Six Nations matches on a giant screen within the marquee, including the full England vs Scotland match.
There will be additional entertainment from Mr Wilson’s Second Liners with their collective musical talent, they pay homage to the diehard days of the Hacienda, 90s club culture and its greatest hero, Mr. Tony Wilson.
Children from schools across Uttoxeter will also be making an appearance within the Uttoxeter Learning Trust Choir.
Tickets for Saturday’s meeting start at £15 for centre course, £25 for grandstand and paddock or £35 for Premier.
There is limited hospitality available with just a few tables left within the paddock marquee.
For full details, visit https://www.uttoxeter-racecourse.co.uk/whats-on/marstons-61-deep-midlands-grand-national