Irish can raid Midlands with Badgerlaw

It's back to the day job this afternoon for the week's gallant gladiators, with Uttoxeter the main arena and the Midlands Grand National the top prize. Run over nearly four and a quarter miles, this is a contest which requires as much stamina as a four-day Cheltenham Festival and produces a similar attrition rate. Over the past six runnngs 101 horses have taken part; just 42 have lasted to the finishing post.

With the horseboxes over en masse from Ireland anyway, it makes sense to put one on who can tackle the post-Festival feature, which offers a purse of £100,000. But it seems more than an afterthought for the raiders, who have produced three wins and two placings since 2002. Four take part today, Badgerlaw, Sea Diva, Hold The Pin and Operation Houdini. One quality necessary for success in what is always a dour slog is the ability to stay all day, though preferably not, as has been suggested of some of the competitors, in the same place. Last year's runner-up, Badgerlaw has proved his efficacy over course and distance and hails from the Jessica Harrington stable which took the race six years ago.

The nine-year-old had yet to win a chase when he produced his good effort 12 months ago – although he was beaten a long way, he did easily best of those who had raced close to the pace – but got off the mark at Limerick in October. Since then he has posted a series of consistent efforts over inadequate distances, including a fourth to the exciting prospect Joncol in a Grade Two contest at Naas last month. He races off a lower mark than last year, but is a more experienced, stronger horse.

Hold The Pin has made the cut with none to spare, and his shrewd trainer, Tony Martin, could do with a change of luck, having lost Clarified at Cheltenham on Thursday. The 10-year-old has not won for a year but is a dogged stayer and produced an encouraging run over hurdles at Punchestown six weeks ago. His stable, though, has been markedly out of form. The same caveat applies to another of today's likelier candidates, Companero but cannot be applied to Kilcrea Asla, whose trainer, Tom George, has sent out five winners from 13 runners in the past two weeks. The eight-year-old's recent form stands the closest of scrutiny based on results at Cheltenham; two runs ago he floundered in the mud behind Ping Pong Sivola, who very nearly won the Freddie Williams Plate, and Tricky Trickster, who did win the National Hunt Chase. And last time out he came home seven lengths clear of Character Building, winner of the Fulke Walwyn/Kim Muir Chase.

Kilcrea Asla has the assistance of Tony McCoy, but has a tough task to defy an 18lb rise since his first victory. Badgerlaw (3.10) can go one better.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
people
News
20. Larry Page: Net worth: $23 billion; Country: U.S; Source of wealth: Google
business
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A collection of 30 Banksy prints at Bonhams auction house in London
art
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness