Paul Ferguson has two selections from Uttoxeter for us on Saturday; Barbatos in the 2.25 and Alfie Sherrin in the Midlands Grand National at 3.00
Ian Williams’ Weird Al failed to sparkle behind Long Run in yesterday’s Gold Cup, but the trainer saddled a winner on the all-weather at Wolverhampton last night and his Barbatos (2:25) looks to have been given a chance by the handicapper at Uttoxeter this afternoon.
The grey finished third to Tuesday’s Supreme Novices’ second Spirit Son on his sole start in France and shaped with promise behind yesterday’s Albert Bartlett winner Bobs Worth on his British debut at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
On his latest start the five-year-old was a little too keen early on and that took its toll in the closing stages, as he trailed in fifth behind Mic’s Delight, who went on to run Skint very close off 130 in the EBF Final last Saturday.
He can be rated better than the bare form and an opening handicap mark of 112 looks potentially lenient to say the least.
The selection has been steadily backed overnight from 5/1 and he is still being well supported this morning, so take the 3/1 that is still available at the time of writing.
In the big race on the card, the Midlands Grand National, I can’t help having a small interest on Jonjo O’Neill’s supposed second string Alfie Sherrin (3:00) despite the fact that he was slightly disappointing last time.
Drying ground would aid his cause and with just 10-6 on his back the unexposed novice could spring a small surprise under Richie McLernon, with AP McCoy opting to ride last year’s winner and top-weight Synchronised.
The eight-year-old looked a horse of real potential when winning a handicap hurdle off 132 at Newbury last February and is one from three over fences and for current connections.
At Warwick last time he looked to be travelling best turning in and faded rather tamely, but I feel the bigger field and slightly slower pace over this trip will suit Alfie Sherrin, who is worth taking a small chance on at 12/1.
2:25 Uttoxeter: Barbatos (3/1 Betfred)
3:00 Uttoxeter: Alfie Sherrin (12/1 Hills)
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase