Nigel Twiston-Davies, who enjoyed a Cheltenham Festival double on Wednesday, has his string in fine form at present and Cogry (4:10) can provide the Naunton-based handler with a second Midlands Grand National.
Fourth in a decent contest at Cheltenham earlier in the campaign, the seven-year-old shaped well over an inadequate trip behind Taquin Du Seuil last month and should relish this stamina test, having finished sixth in the National Hunt Chase last March.
This looks a fairly decent renewal and the selection is worth each-way support at double-figure odds (trading at 10-1 at the time of writing, on Friday morning).
Earlier on the card Sakhee’s City (2:25) looks on a fair mark for his handicap debut, having won a Catterick maiden hurdle last time.
Third behind the useful Paddy’s Field at big odds on debut, Philip Kirby’s five-year-old showed some useful form in bumpers last season and he looks capable of following up here.
Down at Kempton, both A Hare Breath and the Willie Mullins-trained Townshend are greatly respected in the Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle, but hopefully Simply A Legend (3:15) will be available at an each-way price and Alan King’s runner is marginally preferred.
The plan had to be to run this seven-year-old in the Martin Pipe but, given his record racing right-handed and especially at this track, it might well be a blessing in disguise that he failed to get in.
A good ground novice winner here back in May 2014, he finished runner-up over course-and-distance on Boxing Day (Imperial Cup winner Flying Angel back in fifth and the sixth Sugar Baron has also won since) before shaping well in a warm race at Ascot last time. Conditions should be ideal for Simply A Legend this afternoon and a big run can be expected.
The Silver Bowl Handicap Chase looks slightly less competitive and Atirelarigo (3:50) is interesting on his British chase debut, off a fair looking mark.
Philip Hobbs’ six-year-old has plenty of experience over fences in France and made a really pleasing debut for his current connections when third in a decent novice hurdle at this track last month.
If he would have hurdled more slickly he might well have beaten Ballyhenry (runs later on the card) and Grade 2 winner Label Des Obeaux. So, assuming he jumps proficiently, a mark of 123 might well be on the lenient side.
2:25 Uttoxeter: Sakhee’s City; 10/1 betfred
3:15 Kempton: Simply A Legend; 22/1 Boylesports
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