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Wyck Hill weighted to land Midlands National

JP McManus has enjoyed a great week at the Cheltenham festival and could have further cause for celebration when Wyck Hill lines up for the Midlands National at Uttoxeter on Saturday. The gelding was purchased last year with the intention of running in the Grand National but subsequently lost his form.

David Bridgwater’s gelding beat Katenko by four lengths at Ascot last year but flopped badly when favourite for the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton. Aintree plans were abandoned and he had shown little sign of a return to form prior to winning the Eider Chase at Newcastle last month.

He has been raised 8lbs for his victory over Smoking Aces but carries only 10st 6lb on Saturday with half of the 20 runners out of the handicap. The reason is the declaration of Harry Topper, winner of the Grade 2 Denman Chase at Newbury.

Trainer Kim Bailey would love to have run his seven-year-old in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but the ground went against him. Harry Topper needs to get his toe in and looks sure to run a big race despite carrying 11st 12lb.

David Pipe looks to Goulanes to continue his great week but has not been out since pulling up in the Welsh National at Chepstow. Are Ya Right Chief is the early market leader for the powerful Willie Mullins stable.

He is 5lbs out of the handicap but ran a good race when third at Punchestown last time and should relish the stamina test. Sun Cloud was a faller in the Eider Chase and it was too early to tell whether or not he would have been a factor.

Recent winners Summery Justice, Fill The Power and Bradley are all in contention. Summery Justice is trained by Venetia Williams who is joined by stable companion Emperor’s Choice.

Emperor’s Choice won the West Wales National at Ffos Las in desperate ground and battled on bravely to chase home Rigadin De Beauchene at Haydock last month. The race is due off at 3.50 and is televised live on Channel 4.