Topper A National Treasure
Horse Racing – Midlands Grand National, Uttoxeter 3.50pm
Following one of the most thrilling Cheltenham festivals it’s been my privilege to remember, the National Hunt scene moves to Uttoxeter for the Betfred Midlands Grand National where top-weight Harry Topper bids for a third win of the season. He sidestepped yesterday’s Gold Cup for this easier assignment – and should capitalize.
The extra seven and a half furlongs of this race should take the pressure off Harry Topper’s questionable jumping technique, as should the Uttoxeter fences which are easier than Newbury’s and Wetherby’s – the two course that he’s already won around this season.
Harry Topper’s trainer Kim Bailey describes his inmate as the best horse he’s had since 1995 Welsh National and Gold Cup winner Master Oats and, despite carrying 11-12, he may just be too good for his opposition. 8/1 or better looks a price worth taking to find out whether he is.
Next in the weights is Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot winner Junior who carries 10-7. He may not have won since January 2012, but this once short-priced Grand National fancy has never had the chance to carry such a light-weight over a marathon trip – and the combination may just spark some into him. The Pipe stable have been in great form at Cheltenham this week and jockey Connor O’Farrel has won on him. 25/1 looks worth an each-way saver.
Harry Topper win 8/1 and Junior each-way 25/1
Golf – European Tour – Trophee Hassan
After two rounds, Alejandro Canizares (-14) and Seve Benson (-13) have opened quite a cushion over third-placed Rafa Cabrera-Bello (-9), but the pressure of playing in the final group tomorrow for these infrequent winners may mean there’s some value to be had elsewhere. David Horsey (-8), Michael Hoey (-6) and Marcel Siem (-6) are all previous winners of the event and are respectively priced on Betfair at 13.0, 46.0 and 50.0 at the time of writing. Back all three in the hope that they will be much shorter prices tomorrow if the leaders don’t push on – then make a decision whether to trade or let them run before round four.
Back to Lay David Horsey 13.0, Michael Hoey 46.0 and Marcel Siem 50.0
Football – Premiership
Manchester City’s and Arsenal’s 2014 Champion League’s aspirations died this week at the hands of Bayern and Barcelona, and both will be keen to boost their Premiership challenge with victory this weekend. Manchester City visit Hull (Saturday 12.45pm) and really should reward punters with victory at 4/7. Arsenal have a sterner challenge as they visit Tottenham (Sunday 4pm), but the Gunners have a habit of bouncing back instantly after a disappointment – and 6/4 looks too tempting to pass up. Backing the double looks a value shout.
Double Man City 4/7 and Arsenal 6/4