American tops weights for Midlands Grand National

American heads a final field of 20 runners for the Marston’s 61 Deep Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter.

Harry Fry’s nine-year-old was an impressive winner of the novice handicap chase on this card in 2017, but returns on Saturday with plenty to prove – albeit on his favoured deep ground.

He finished down the field in the Cheltenham Gold Cup 12 months ago and was pulled up on his only previous start this season in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in early December.

Fry said: “It looks like he’s finally going to get his conditions, which is good. He ran no sort of race at Newbury – and with top-weight, it’s obviously a tough ask. But he will like the ground and he has form at the track. Fingers crossed, he can bounce back.”

Second in the weights is Anthony Honeyball’s star Ms Parfois, who makes her first appearance since finishing sixth in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

Other leading contenders include the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Arthur’s Gift, Charlie Longsdon’s Ballydine, Polly Gundry’s Dawson City and Chef D’Oeuvre from Sam England’s yard.

Champion Hurdle-winning trainer Gavin Cromwell saddles the 14-year-old Raz De Maree. He is one of three Irish challengers, along with Gordon Elliott’s Folsom Blue and Shark Hanlon’s Kilkishen.

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