Matt Brocklebank's best bets for Kempton and Uttoxeter on Midlands National day

Potters Corner wins the Midlands National
Potters Corner wins the Midlands National

Brother Tedd is taken to enhance his good Kempton record on Saturday and he features among Matt Brocklebank's three weekend fancies.

Recommended bets: Saturday March 16

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BROTHER TEDD (11/2, General) is fancied to enhance his excellent course record at Kempton in Saturday’s Matchbook Silver Bowl Handicap Chase.

The last time Philip Hobbs’ grey ran at the track he was only fourth to Yala Enki but that came in the 2016 Lanzarote Hurdle when he was rated 153 and he’s yet to return to hurdles since that season, when he signed off with a Coral Cup seventh at the Cheltenham Festival and a creditable fifth at Haydock.

Prior to that, Brother Tedd’s Kempton tally read three impressive wins from three visits, including a four-length defeat of Silviniaco Conti, so it looks fairly significant that the Hobbs team have lined him up for this weekend's prize.

Last month's comeback run at Ludlow – his first public appearance since June 2017 – had the look of a pipe-opener and if that was the intention then it could hardly have gone any better.

Held up by Richard Johnson, the 10-year-old got into a decent rhythm early on before creeping into contention on the second circuit. He was entitled to blow up a bit after being hampered coming to the penultimate fence, but he definitely got his second wind on the run-in to grab second in the final strides.

So the fire still burns bright within Brother Tedd, he’s been eased another 1lb in the ratings – to a career-low mark of 133 - and we know he loves the place at Kempton.

Ground described as good to soft on Friday afternoon is seemingly ideal, too, and while he’s now undeniably heading into the twilight stage of his career, Hobbs' patience and willingness to persevere with what is a very talented horse on his day can pay off in a race lacking obviously progressive rivals.

The one potential sleeper who would have to be feared if increasingly strong in the betting is Onefortheroadtom, who accounted for Lalor at Exeter in his novice hurdling days.

He's been relatively quiet on the form front since being switched to fences but has come down 15lb from 137 to 122 in just four starts and the bare form of his 10-length sixth to Kildisart at Cheltenham on Trials Day isn’t disgraceful in the context of this race.

It’s a leap of faith with him at 5/2, though, in spite of Barry Geraghty returning to the saddle, and Brother Tedd looks an altogether more reliable horse to carry your cash the day after Cheltenham.

HONEST VIC (6/1, General) should go well for Henry Daly in the Matchbook VIP Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle earlier on the same Kempton card.

He bounced back from the first major disappointment of his career at Wincanton in January to post a fine second to Brio Conti at Ascot last month, going down just a head after the winner slightly impeded him close home.

The fitting of a visor seemed to spark him back to life at Ascot, the six-year-old finding plenty for pressure to stay on from near to the back of the field when they turned for home.

Moving up a furlong and a half is bound to suit on that evidence and a 4lb rise doesn’t look beyond him based on his progressive profile, and how the form of the race has worked out subsequently.

Brio Conti and third home Ballyandy finished fourth and third respectively in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in midweek, and the Ascot fourth, Malaya, went on to land the Imperial Cup at Sandown, beating Monsieur Lecoq.

There’s a chance Honest Vic could face another hike in the weights based on that collateral evidence so getting him out again quickly off just 4lb higher makes plenty of sense.

PRIME VENTURE has evidently got to grips with jumping fences based on his last two starts and he looks to be sitting on a huge performance, which may just arrive now presented with a severe test of stamina in the Marton’s 61 Deep Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter.

Evans Williams' novice remains a maiden in this sphere but he’s got some experience under the belt now, running down the field behind Bags Groove and Kilbricken Storm at Ffos Las on his first two starts over fences.

He blotted his copybook when refusing at the first obstacle at Ludlow in November but shaped really well when second to Ramses De Teilee in the Welsh National trial at Chepstow, and proved that to be no fluke when third back there over Christmas.

He was sticking to the task all the way to the line that day and looks worth a small bet at 25/1 (General) as he tackles another mile and a quarter here.

It’s a tall order but having won in really deep conditions over three miles at Ffos Las as a six-year-old, a proper test of this nature promises to suit at this stage of his career.

He’s certainly considered overpriced for a trainer-jockey combination which struck gold in this race with Firebird Flyer in 2016.


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