Hogan hopes Young Dev can go the distance in gruelling Midlands Grand National

Horse is among four Irish hopefuls in post-Cheltenham highlight at Uttoxeter

Denis Hogan's crammed schedule is tiring just to look at but the Co Tipperary trainer will hope it pays off with big-race success at Uttoxeter on Saturday.

Hogan's Young Dev is one of four Irish hopefuls in the marathon Midlands Grand National, a traditional cross-channel post-Cheltenham highlight run over a gruelling four and a quarter miles.

However Hogan, who rode his own hope Bua Boy in Friday's County Hurdle at the festival, won't be at Uttoxeter as he continues to clock up the miles.

He rode another of his charges, Wild Hunt, to win at Down Royal on St Patrick's Day and after riding at Cheltenham dashes back to Ireland for Saturday's Thurles programme.


A trio of Hogan-trained horses will run there including Pale Blue Dot who he will ride himself in a handicap hurdle.

The big money pot, however, is the Midlands National which used to be a happy hunting ground for Irish hopes.

There were six winners trained in Ireland between 1992 and 2006 but the only scorer in the last decade and a half was Jim Dreaper’s Goonyella in 2015.

Screaming Colours, fourth to Time To Get Up last year, is back for another crack at it while Hewick and Hear No Evil also travel.

Hogan has engaged promising claimer Mark McDonagh – he won the final race at Cheltenham yesterday –to take 7lb off Young Dev who hasn’t run over fences in 10 months but was a hurdles winner for the rider in Punchestown last month.

Energy-sapping contest

The consistent grey is at the right end of the handicap on 10st for what is always an energy-sapping contest.

There is a "National" vibe to the weekend action with Downpatrick hosting its €50,000 Randox Ulster National on Sunday.

McDonagh is engaged in this too, riding Spades Are Trumps for Gavin Cromwell in a race for which Gordon Elliott’s Definite Plan is topweight.

At the other end of the scale is the novice Portstorm and jockey Denis O’Regan.

It will be just a fourth start over fences for the seven-year-old who races off a mark of 116.

That’s 3lb lower than the hurdles rating he ran well off of at Punchestown last month under O’Regan.

Local trainer Colin McBratney is also in form having saddled a 66-1 winner in Billable Grant at Down Royal on Thursday.

Blinkers transformed Memory Of Youth’s form over hurdles and could do the same over fences off an attractive mark in Sunday’s other handicap chase.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column