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Lucky Loader Previews ITV Racing at Kempton and Uttoxeter

It has been a punting marathon this week, but the Midlands National is always a highlight of the National Hunt season and it is also a fascinating puzzle to solve.

1.35 Kempton – Beau Balko (Win)
I liked the way Beau Balko won at Musselburgh last month. He showed a really good attitude to put the race to bed and looked like he won with a bit more in hand than the winning margin suggests. The six-year-old gelding now finds himself off a 4lb higher mark, but I think going right-handed again will really suit him, and he’ll be fine with the ground as long as it doesn’t rain too much. For me, he’s one of my strongest fancies of this afternoon.

2.10 Kempton – Kateira (Each Way)
This is a very competitive race, but Kateira is an interesting runner for Dan Skelton. Last season, she was second in a Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle behind Irish Point, and that piece of form is right up there with the best of these. She is returning from a break, but she has gone well fresh in the past. The daughter of Kayf Tara runs off a mark of 136, which looks workable. I think she has a great chance of being in the mix for a yard that is hitting top gear.

2.45 Kempton –  Flegmatik – (Win)

Flegmatik loves it around Kempton, and he’s arguably been in the form of his life in the last couple of months. Back in January, he beat the subsequent Cheltenham Festival, the Chanti Classico, at this venue, and then the next time he ran well here again to finish fourth in a competitive handicap. If those races haven’t left a mark, he looks like the one to beat.

1.50 Uttoxeter – Canty Bay (Win)

This looks like a trappy race, but I’m going to give my casting vote to Canty Bay, who hacked up last time to win at Ludlow for Emma Lavelle. The handicapper has raised him 7lb for that success, and he could have easily more to offer with ground conditions likely to be in his favour. Jagwar has a big reputation, but I didn’t like the way he scrambled home at Carlisle last time out, and he looks opposable.

2.25 Uttoxeter – Lord Snootie (Each Way)

Christian Williams looks to have had this race in mind for Lord Snootie after he finished second in it twelve months ago. This horse is still quite young by National Hunt standards, and he ran a very good race behind Cuthbert Dibble in a Pertemps Qualifier at Haydock last month. He seems to love the mud, and you’re going to need to stay well to land this valuable pot. With the yard starting to blossom, I think he has a cracking each-way chance.

3.00 Uttoxeter – Guetapan Collonges (Each Way)

There are a few old favourites in here and a couple of cliff horses, and that’s the way I am going with Guetapan Collonges. He has been knocking on the door in a few of these big marathon trips after placing in the Classic Chase at Warwick in January. He ran in this race last year, finishing a well-beaten fourth, but I think he’s more streetwise this season, and he’s had a nice little break to prepare for this. He should handle conditions, and I’m hoping this can be his day. 

3.35 Uttoxeter – Val Dancer (Each Way)
It might have only been a small field when Val Dancer won at Catterick last time out, but he showed a great battling attitude to get the better of the in-form Tom Cody on soft ground. Quite a few of these have stamina doubts, which puts me off the likes of the Irish raider Evies Vladimir, who is stepping up in trip. Overall, I think Mel Rowley has found another good race for the seven-year-old gelding, and I believe he can bring up the four-timer.

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