FOLSOM BLUE can use his staying power to win the Midlands Grand National.
Even this marathon 4m2f distance is hardly far enough for Gordon Elliott’s 12-year-old who comes here fit from a spin over hurdles at Sandown last month.
His last chase effort came in the Welsh National where he was fancied before never really getting into it until the final half-mile when he picked up several places in the home straight.
He gets to go even further today which will bring his bottomless stamina into play and Davy Russell takes over in the saddle — and that’s never a minus.
They are building arks in the Uttoxeter area with plenty of rain forecast in the hours leading up to the race. The Staffordshire track is one of the most punishing in the country when it’s soft and, while Folsom Blue only has one gear, he can keep going for days.
His best effort over fences came in last year’s Irish Grand National when he was an unlucky fourth after meeting trouble in running. The quality of the opposition isn’t as strong here so he should run well.
American can dream. Tall order to win this marathon with so much weight on his back but he is high in the handicap because of some good runs in stronger races than this. He was out of sorts last time so has something to prove now.
MS PARFOIS 4/5
Par for the course. She looked in need of the run in the Ladbroke Trophy last time but has some classy form in the book, including in Grade 1 company. Has lots of stamina as she showed when second in the four-miler at last year’s Festival and has won around here before. Should run well.
FOLSOM BLUE 5/5 – Pinstickers’ top tip (Click here to compare odds and place your bet)
True Blue. Real stayer who will be doing his best work at the finish of this marathon trip. Was an unlucky fourth in the Irish Grand National at his peak and soft ground brings out the best in him. Should get a nice patient ride from Davy Russell today.
SMOOTH STEPPER 1/5
Smooth looks lumpy. Soft-ground performer who didn’t get going over 3m at Ascot last time out. Can make jumping mistakes and best form has been in lesser races than this. Has a fair bit to prove at the moment.
Dell could be the boy. Comes from David Pipe who does well in this race and finished a solid third at Haydock last time. Stays 3m and won’t mind the ground so has chances if getting home over this testing distance.
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Dine’s fine. Might have won the Peter Marsh at Haydock last time but for a late mistake and he stayed on well over 3m2f so this distance should hold no fears. Likes testing ground best and should be still there in the closing stages.
DAWSON CITY 3/5
City slicker. Stayed 3m6f really well when winning easily at Exeter last time and has been hiked 8lb for that convincing success. Needs to find a little more because of that but handles cut in the ground and is clearly in the best of form.
PRIME VENTURE 2/5
Prime suspect. Didn’t show a lot off this mark over 3m at Chepstow last time but looks the type to improve for a marathon distance. Has shown best form on soft ground so should be at home in these conditions but has something to find.
ARTHUR’S GIFT 4/5
In his Gift. Relished the stiff uphill finish when winning at Carlisle last time and wasn’t stopping over the 3m distance. Looks the type to stay and stay and one of the more progressive types in the field although he is creeping up the weights a little.
JAMMIN MASTERS 1/5
Jammin sounds bad. Has been second four times in a row but took a step backwards when well beaten in a four-horse race at Chepstow last time out. Didn’t seem to get home over 3m4f there so this test of stamina has to be a concern.
Bar could star. Was second in this 12 months ago and is 5lb lower in the weights today. More rain would help his chances as he will keep going when others have cried enough. He wasn’t disgraced at Newbury last time and could run into the places if and when this turns into a slog.
REGAL FLOW 3/5
Go with Flow. Hasn’t won since taking this last year and has less weight on his back this time. We know he stays and don’t be put off about him running just five days ago because he did exactly the same 12 months ago. His form has been below par this year but he’d have every chance if bouncing back.
RAZ DE MAREE 2/5
Don’t go on the Raz. Finished 10th in last year’s Grand National and hasn’t shown a lot since, including when beaten in the marathon Eider Chase at Newcastle last time. Won Welsh National at best but has plenty of miles on the clock now.
POTTERS CORNER 2/5
Corner flags. Was going well before falling late in the Eider but also took a tumble the time before at Wincanton. Shapes like a real stayer but has gone up the weights and those jumping problems are a big worry.
CHEF D’OEUVRE 3/5
Chef’s cooking. Consistent type who won at Haydock before a good third in the Grand National trial there last time. This distance should suit and his best form has come with some give in the ground. In good heart and could go well.
BACK TO THE THATCH 3/5
Back for more. Just behind Chef D’Oeuvre at Haydock last time and stays well, particularly in soft ground. Can make the odd jumping mistake and needs to improve although he’s only seven and has a top jockey in Richard Johnson on board.
GET ON THE YAGER 2/5
Yager’s bombing. Landed a couple of fair handicaps last season and back off that sort of mark again. Best form has come on soft ground but has looked badly out of form on his past two runs including when well beaten at Ascot last time.
Kil could thrill. Good fourth in Eider last time where he saw out the 4m trip well and he goes on any ground. Is almost a stone higher in the weights than his last win but he’s taken a big step forward since being fitted with cheekpieces which he sports again.
FINAL NUDGE 1/5
Nudge won’t budge. Has had a breathing operation but it’s made little difference to his modest form including when hammered at Wincanton last time out. He is coming down the weights but he
fell in the Grand National last year and his jumping will come under pressure again.
JETSTREAM JACK 1/5
Jack ain’t alright. Showing little over hurdles lately including when well beaten at Chepstow latest. He didn’t seem to stay when tried in the Irish Grand National and may find this distance too far once more.