Saturday Racing Tips: Iron Bridge can land Uttoxeter marathon

 | March 15 | 

3 mins read

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After all the razzmatazz of the Cheltenham Festival, racing takes something of a breather on Saturday, though there's still plenty of action in store, including the traditional post-Cotswolds puzzle that is the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter.

That is one of six meetings across Britain and Ireland on Saturday. They go over jumps at Newcastle, Kempton and Thurles alongside Uttoxeter, while all-weather fixtures are from Southwell and Wolverhampton, both into the evening.

Our three Saturday fancies include Iron Bridge for father/son team Jonjo O'Neill and Jonjo Jr in the big race at Uttoxeter.

Saturday Racing Tips

  • 15:00 Uttoxeter - Iron Bridge @ 4/1
  • 16:22 Newcastle – Libor Lad @ 3/1
  • 16:30 Kempton – Il Pino @ 2/1

15:00 Uttoxeter - Iron Bridge @ 4/1

Just a head separated Autonomous Cloud in first and IRON BRIDGE in second when they had their own private battle in the three-mile Novices' Handicap Chase on this card a year ago, with the pair drawing some 17-lengths clear of everything else on what was, typically, an attritional surface.

Iron Bridge was conceding 12lb to his conqueror that afternoon and certainly didn't have a lot of fortune on his side, taking a tap on the nose from the winning riders' whip as they duelled close to the line.

Both horses were pinpointed towards coming back here for this race and are leading contenders now. Iron Bridge is now 7lb better off, while Autonomous Cloud was pulled up when last spotted in the Welsh National at Chepstow in December.

Iron Bridge, for his part, finished second in that festive showpiece behind Nassalam, no match for the winner, but battling on late to beat the rest.

In one run since, the Jonjo O'Neill inmate was third in the Haydock Grand National Trial over 3m4½f on testing ground last month, giving plenty of weight to the pair that beat him and very much shaping as though this marathon journey could be the making of him.

A mark of 140 looks very reasonable for a trainer that has won this race with Synchronised (2010) and Time To Get Up (2021).

16:22 Newcastle – Libor Lad @ 3/1

LIBOR LAD had five runs over hurdles last season and didn't come within closer than 25 lengths of a winner, but it's been a different story this season for the David Dennis-trained inmate.

Immediate improvement was forthcoming at Perth (2m4f, heavy) when runner-up in September's comeback and there have been two more silver medals and two wins in just five outings since.

He has shown a real liking for two-and-half-miles on a testing surface and will get just that now, with Newcastle to be 'heavy'.

Champion jockey Brian Hughes partnered him to a 10-length win at Doncaster last month on their first outing together, with a next-time-out winner chasing them home on Town Moor. Further success is envisaged from this new 9lb higher mark.

16:30 Kempton – Il Pino @ 2/1

A novices' hurdle around Kempton in which IL PINO is fancied to score for champion trainer Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden.

He won a 2m4f point-to-point before joining the team at Ditcheat and made a striking first appearance under Rules at Wincanton (2m5½f, soft) in November.

He was ridden forward by Cobden and merely had to be shaken up to go and put the race to bed, with the second winning his next two starts at the Somerset venue for Joe Tizzard and achieving a rating of 129 in doing so. The fourth also scored next time.

Il Pino returns now and should be well suited to this test. The presence of 130-rated Kamsinas for the Fergal O'Brien team and Dan Skelton's Be Aware will ensure this is no penalty kick.

However, there should be a chunk of improvement and Il Pino can get the job done getting 5lb from the class-dropping Kamsinas, who has struggled in an Aintree Grade 1 novice on Boxing Day and last month's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury since winning at Haydock in November.

Find more Horse Racing Tips here at Betfred Insights.

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