Midlands Grand National returns to Uttoxeter racecourse

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Thousands of racegoers are set to cram into Uttoxeter racecourse to watch the Betfred Midlands Grand National on Saturday, March 19.

The race is the second longest steeplechase in the country at four miles and one-and-a-half furlongs.

The 20-horse race, starting at 4.10pm, has been a favourite in the racing calendar with previous winners even going on to win the Aintree Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The prize fund on the day has been increased to £225,000 with the winner of the National banking £130,000.

Racing at Uttoxeter

Racing at Uttoxeter

Executive director of Uttoxeter racecourse, David Macdonald said: “After Cheltenham has died down, which has been a fantastic week of racing, people will be surprised when they open their papers on Saturday morning to see the standard of horses.

“We increased the prize money to attract the better horses.

“It’s one of the top 20 most bet upon races in the UK jump calendar.

Punters watching on at Uttoxeter

Punters watching on at Uttoxeter

“It’s an incredible day for the town of Uttoxeter with 16,000 people coming into a town with a population of 13,000.

“Hotels are fully booked – the nearest you can get now is Burton.”

Macdonald even gave a tip to watch out for horses trained by David Pipe who has two horses running and won the race four times in a row from 2011 to 2014.

Katkeau and Standing Ovation are being ridden by jockeys Tom Scudamore and Conor O’Farrell respectively, who have both have experience of winning at Uttoxeter.

This weekend is also important for the racecourse because it sees the opening of the new £600,000 1907 restaurant.

Midlands Grand National day not just about the horses as businesses are boosted with the influx of punters.

Daniel Crew, manager of the Dapple Grey pub in Uttoxeter, said: “It’s actually our busiest day of the year, we normally have 400 or 500 guests on a Saturday, tomorrow we’re expecting about 1000.

“It’s great for such a small market town that we have a big event like this, a lot of diverse people come in and spend a lot of money, so it’s great for us.”

(Photographs by Nathan Stirk)

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