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Mad about the chances of Brian in Midlands Grand National

| 19.03.2016

David Metcalf | March 18, 2016

Mad Brian has a Grand chance in Midlands National

Irish raider Mad Brian looks decent each-way value in a typically wide-open renewal of the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter (16.10).

The Gillian Callaghan trained gelding is very lightly raced for a 10-year-old and had some useful form to his name over hurdles before making a winning chase debut at Killarney back in May 2014 when beating Toner D’oudairies’ by a length.

Mad Brian went on to be placed in his next two starts, and they included a cracking second of 20 to Cootamundra in the valuable Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan off a mark of 135.

The son of Brian Boru raced prominently through and kept on strongly all the way to the line to go down by just 1/2 a length.

Terrific run given inexperience

Mad Brian

It was a terrific run given that it was just Mad Brian’s third run over the larger obstacles against battle-hardened and established chasers in what is a very competitive contest.

Mad Brian then ran as well as could be expected when sixth to the classy Carlingford Lough in a Grade 1 contest at Leopardstown, before falling at the last at Navan when in the lead and having the race at his mercy.

Injury then saw the selection on the sidelines for 734 days, but Mad Brian hasn’t shaped too badly in two spins over hurdles since returning to action and looks to be coming to the boil.

A mark of 138 makes him look well-treated on the pick of his form, and with the drying ground a plus and Robbie Colgan in the saddle everything looks in place for a big run.

Sizing Coal a big player for Dreaper

Sizing Coal

Fellow Irish raider Sizing Coal represents last year’s winning connections and looks a big danger.

Goonyella won the race 12 months ago for trainer Jim Dreaper, and like that one Sizing Coal sports the colours of owners Alan and Anne Potts.

The eight-year-old scored on chasing debut at Navan and went on to finish a cracking third of 28 to Thunder And Roses in last year’s Irish Grand National on just his fourth start over the larger obstacles.

Sizing Coal kept on strongly from off the pace to be beaten just 4 3/4 lengths off a mark of 133 and is now able to race in this off just 5lb higher.

That gives the son of Presenting every chance from a handicapping perspective, and Sizing Coal comes into race on the back of promising third over hurdle at Navan which should have blown away the cobwebs and put him spot on for this.

Coral’s top tip: Mad Brian has plenty going for him and represents decent each-way value in a wide open contest. Fellow Irish raider Sizing Coal looks sure to go well.


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David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.