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Uttoxeter

  • 15:35 Betfred Midlands Grand National 4m 1f 92y

  • (Listed Handicap Chase) £125,000 added 5yo+ 20 ran
  • Winner £70,338 2nd £26,500 3rd £13,262 4th £6,625
  • Going: Soft
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 9m 11.00s
  • Off time: 15:35:55

Michael Scudamore sweet on Mysteree in Midlands National

Last Updated: 17/03/17 12:40pm

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Mysteree bids for the Midlands National

Mysteree bids for the Midlands National

Michael Scudamore bids to keep up his good record in long-distance chases this season with Mysteree in the Betfred Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter.

The nine-year-old is seeking to continue his own rise through the staying ranks in the Listed contest, having bounced back from defeat in the Sussex National at Plumpton with victory in last month's Eider Chase at Newcastle

Scudamore said: "He has come out of the Eider better than we expected. He has come out of it better than he went into it.

"We thought this race might come too soon, but he seems in great form.

"Hopefully the Eider won't have left too much of a mark, but we won't know that question until he gets to the track..

"He is a good, improving stayer and is at the right age to continue. I suppose he hinted what he could do in the Eider last year and he has strengthened up a lot since then.

"He proved how well he stays last time and the test of stamina should suit him. The trip should hold no bars for him.

"They are saying it is good to soft and as long as it didn't dry up that would be fine, but if they did have a shower it would help."

Evan Williams is counting on the application of headgear having the desired effect in reviving the fortunes of Firebird Flyer, as he attempts to create history and become the first horse to win successive renewals of the extended four-mile-one-furlong prize.

Since clinching victory 12 months ago, the 10-year-old, who is back on last year's winning mark of 138, has failed to fire in four subsequent starts, leaving the Llancarfan handler to reach for the cheekpieces.

He said: "He has been out of form in his last few runs. We are putting sheepskin cheekpieces on in the hope that they might help him, but he wants to start putting his best foot forward.

"He has worked in the headgear which and it has been a big help in sharpening his work up.

"I just think sometimes with these older horses need a bit of the spring weather on them. It was like Buywise, he went a bit like that in the winter and ran a good race at Cheltenham this week.

"He is off the same mark as last year and I'm happy with the horse. I'm not really worried about the ground and if he runs well that would be great."

The Venetia Williams-trained Houblon Des Obeaux heads the weights ahead of the progressive Final Nudge from David Dennis' stable.

Dennis said: "It is a step into the unknown with the trip but he appears to stay three miles well so we are hopeful he will stay.

"He has got winning form on good to soft ground and it is such a test of stamina that should counterbalance the need for heavy ground.

"His jumping was a bit of an issue but the cheekpieces have ironed that out and they will be back on Saturday.

"I think the steadiness of the race will help him get into a good rhythm. Running in smaller fields has helped his confidence and hopefully he can bring that to the table on Saturday.

"He has been in good form at home. He goes there fresh and well and we are hopeful of a good run."

Court Frontier has been in tremendous form for Cardiff-based trainer Paul Morgan, completing a hat-trick in impressive style at Huntingdon earlier in the month.

He is sent back into battle less than a fortnight later, but Morgan is confident his charge is ready for the fight.

He said: "Everything is good and we're looking forward to it.

"We could do with a bit of rain, but other than that we're very happy.

"He's in good form and it's great for anybody to have a runner in a race like this."

Nigel Twiston-Davies fires a twin assault in a bid to win the race for the first time since striking gold with Baron Windrush 10 years ago.

Cogry, who finished third 12 months ago, is joined by stablemate Benbens.

"Cogry ran a very good race in it last year and both horses are in good form," said Twiston-Davies.

Two Irish challengers have crept in at the foot of the weights.

Patrick Griffin's veteran Portrait King was brought down at the first fence when bidding for a second Eider success last time out.

Griffin said: "We're very happy with the horse and we're just hoping they get the rain that's forecast as that will increase his chances.

"He was very unlucky in the Eider, so hopefully we can get some compensation on Saturday.

"Staying is his forte and we're hoping for a big run."

Mad Brian is an interesting contender for trainer Gillian Callaghan, having made the most of a lenient mark over hurdles when bolting up at Navan a month ago.

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