Paul Ferguson has two selections for us today, Maringo Bay in the 3.20 (Uttox) and Bear’s Affair in the 3.25 (Kemp); Compare odds and bet
The Betfred Midlands Grand National looks as competitive as ever and, though he’s a maiden after four starts over fences, it is worth taking a chance on Maringo Bay (3:20) for Charlie Mann and Champion Hurdle winning jockey, Noel Fehily.
The son of Old Vic, who finished runner-up in two Irish points before joining current connections, had one try over fences last January before reverting to hurdles when beating Teaforthree (winner of the National Hunt Chase on Wednesday) in a Ffos Las novice hurdle. Outclassed behind Spirit Son on his final start over hurdles at Aintree, the seven-year-old reverted to fences this term and has run three solid races behind three smart novices.
The pick of those efforts came when pushing the smart Alfie Spinner all the way at Chepstow on his penultimate start and the selection looks potentially well in off an opening handicap mark of 130. The way he goes about his business suggests the marathon trip could well bring about further improvement and the ground is the only worry, with all of his form coming on soft ground. But, at the prices, he is worth chancing.
Another worth chancing is Bear’s Affair (3:25) just five minutes later at Kempton in the best race of the day, the 32Red Handicap Hurdle. The lightly raced six-year-old represents the team of the week in Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty and he’s been off the track since finishing runner-up in a novice chase at Wetherby in December.
Expected to make up in to a smart novice over fences, things haven’t panned out as expected, but he reverts to hurdles on an attractive mark (also 130). If you look further back through his form you will see the taking son of Presenting beat the classy Champion Court (runner-up in the Jewson this week) in a bumper on debut, before easily winning novice hurdles at Southwell and Bangor.
The second of those successes, which came just under a year ago, was made easier when Our Mick fell at the last but he had just taken his measure and Donald McCain’s grey has gone on to frank the form this season, racking up three wins over fences before finishing third behind Alfie Sherrin at Cheltenham on Tuesday off a mark of 144.
The son of Presenting will appreciate the drying ground and the longer trip than he’s faced over hurdles to date, so is another worthy of each-way support.
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- AL FEROF won Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 10-1
- BENSALEM won Stewart Family Handicap 5-1
- BOBS WORTH won A Bartlett 15-8, 4/4 for year
- CAPTAIN CHRIS won Arkle Trophy 6-1
- FIRST LIEUTENANT won Neptune Investment 7-1
- (plus Grade 1 in Ireland 16-1)
- JAMES DE VASSY won Lanzarote Hurdle 8-1
- LONG RUN won King George 9-2, Gold Cup 7-2
- OSCAR WHISKY won Aintree Hurdle 6-1
- Peddlers Cross (Fighting Fifth Hurdle)
- Medermit (Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase)
- FINIAN’S RAINBOW (Maghull Novices’ Chase)
- WISHFULL THINKING (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)