By The Tote Team www.tote.co.uk
The Grand National Festival is here and there’s a glut of Grade 1s to kick off proceedings. With some small but select fields to navigate, a few unplaced favourites could result in a chunky Placepot dividend.
We’ve cast our eye over the card in an attempt at landing a share of the pool.
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The Big Trend:
The big handicap on the card is the Red Rum Handicap Chase (16:40, Leg 6) and with 18 runners set to battle it out over a frantic 2m, it’s worth looking back at the history of the race to help us narrow the field.
Those towards the top of the weights have struggled, with no winner carrying more than 11st1lb in the last 10 renewals. Course experience also looks a critical factor when picking horses to go well here, with eight of the last ten winners having previously run at the track before.
One who immediately fits the bill is Dan Skelton’s DESTRIER. A 3l third in the 2019 Maghull, he brings form at Aintree to the table and he’s been plummeting down the handicap to a mark of 136, so carries a handy 10st13lb here. He’s previously been rated as high as 151 and a return to better ground here should see him go close.
Another who fits the bill is BRELAN D’AS who makes his first start for Ben Haslam here having joined from Paul Nicholls. He’s only 1lb higher than when finishing third in the 2019 Grand Annual and finished fifth in this race the same year. If his new trainer is able to spark a bit of life into him again, we could see a big run.
CLAN DES OBEAUX (14:50, Leg 3) has placed in the last two renewals of the Bowl and looks well placed to at least hit the frame here. He was a tad disappointing last time out, but he had a hard race in the King George, so hopefully we see him back to his best here. He’s swerved Cheltenham this year, which is a positive, and his trainer should have him spot on for this.
Outsiders to Consider:
UMBRIGADO (13:45, Leg 1) might be a bit underrepresented in the pool here. He’s done nothing but improve all season and is more than entitled to take his chances here. He stayed on really strongly to land the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Newbury earlier in the month and should be suited by the track. He’ll have to be a bit quicker over his fences but he’s worth taking a chance on.
You’d definitely want to double him up with another runner but GREENSALT (16:05, Leg 6) could well run better than his potential dividend would suggest. Form over Grand National fences is very important and having finished second and seventh in the last two renewals of this race, he certainly has that to his name. He’s 13 now and hasn’t been great on his last two runs, but after a year off the track he might just have needed them.
We could be overcomplicating the 14:20 (Leg 2) but there’s certainly a case to be made for a funny result here. The stopwatch brigade have been keen to point out the slow time in the Triumph, but we’ll still put ADAGIO in as he brings proven Grade 1 form to the table.
Monmiral could well be anything, but we’re willing to take him on and FIVEANDTWENTY gets a handy 7lb allowance here. That could prove critical and Donald McCain has been having plenty of joy with his hurdlers this term.
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Tote racing's recommended Placepot Perm:
Leg 1: Umbrigado, Hitman
Leg 2: Adagio, Fiveandtwenty
Leg 3: Clan Des Obeaux
Leg 4: Abacadabras, Jason The Militant
Leg 5: Billaway, Greensalt
Leg 6: Destrier, Brelan D’As
2 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 32 lines
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