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Truckers can drive to a win

Lodge can land the Midlands National for trainer Nicholls

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CRUISING: Truckers Lodge (right) – with Harry Cobden aboard riding to victory at Chepstow last October – can get back to winning ways at Uttoxeter today. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

CRUISING: Truckers Lodge (right) – with Harry Cobden aboard riding to victory at Chepstow last October – can get back to winning ways at Uttoxeter today. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Getty Images

CRUISING: Truckers Lodge (right) – with Harry Cobden aboard riding to victory at Chepstow last October – can get back to winning ways at Uttoxeter today. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

After what has been a helter-skelter week at Cheltenham and beyond, just about the only sporting action to keep going seems to be racing.

There's still live action coming to us live this afternoon with some decent racing from Uttoxeter and Kempton.

The Marston's 61 Deep Midlands Grand National is the feature race of the day and Paul Nicholls' TRUCKERS LODGE (3.35 Uttoxeter) looks to hold excellent claims.

This lightly-raced novice was a good winner of a Beginners' Chase at Chepstow over three miles in October, when he gutted it out to get his head in front, before having his sights significantly raised in the Welsh Grand National over the Christmas period.

With the mud flying, as it will be today, he was an excellent second in the gruelling test, beaten just a length and three quarters by Potters Corner off a mark of 139.

He hasn't been hammered at all by the handicapper for that effort, raised just 2lbs for it. With a lovely racing weight of 10st10lbs today and with Lorcan Williams retaining the ride, he looks a solid selection.

Bryony Frost didn't have much joy at Cheltenham this week but she can bag another Saturday winner in the Marston's Brewery Lady Riders' Handicap Hurdle with OSTUNI (1.50 Uttoxeter).

This seven-year-old looked like he could run up a bit of a sequence when winning at Fontwell a couple of starts back, but it all went horribly wrong last time at Southwell when the gelding unseated the rider at the first hurdle.

Frost is still the best pilot in the race, however, and with the Nicholls' string still in good form she can boot Ostuni home.

The Nicholls' team think a lot of McFABULOUS (2.05 Kempton) and he can win the European Breeders Fund Paddy Power 'National Hunt' E.B.F. Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

The winner of last year's Aintree Grade Two Bumper has taken his time warming to the task over hurdles but impressed last time when stepped up to today's trip and he could be underrated stepping into handicap company off a rating of 132.

Connections would have been hoping to end the season much higher rated than that, but he can make up for lost time here.

Finally, Eamon An Cnoic (3.15 Kempton) has been given a break and was a good second at the Cheltenham Festival last year.

He is just one pound higher than then and could bounce back to form here with a victory.