One of Catterick Racecourse’s biggest days in the racing calendar arrives on Thursday with the North Yorkshire Grand National and a prize pot of more than £20,000 is up for grabs.
The National is one of seven races on the card on Thursday, which gets underway at 12.10 with a maiden hurdle and rounds off at 3.40 with a handicap hurdle to close the card and all will be shown live on Racing TV.
Up first is the opener at 12.10, where 15 runners are set to tackle the 1m7f distance. Phone Home, for trainer Jamie Snowden, wears a tongue-tie for the first time and is taken to bounce back to the form shown at Huntingdon when finishing second in November, which was followed by a remote fourth at Lingfield last time out. The main threat could come from Looking As You Are, who showed good form in bumper races on the Flat and could take to hurdling well on debut here.
Race two of the afternoon (12.45) is a mares’ handicap hurdle and should go the way of It’s Maisy, who was a fortunate winner of a five-runner novice at Sedgefield last April but is stepping up in trip at Catterick and is unexposed in this sphere. Minniemum has hit the frame twice in her last three runs and has the chance to go one better at Catterick in a competitive race.
The third race on the card (1.20) sees 11 runners head to post for the handicap chase where connections of Time For A Pint could well be raising a glass to a win, despite disappointing over hurdles at Catterick previously. Now switching to the bigger obstacle fences, the Irish point-to-point winner is taken to improve and get the victory.
Hasthing is clearly the one to beat in race four (1.55) for trainer Jonjo O’Neill. Hasthing showed great potential when finishing third in a grade two bumper race at Aintree back in April 2023 and backed that up with a smart win over hurdles at Leicester on his seasonal reappearance on November 20.
Race five is the feature of the day – the North Yorkshire Grand National at 2.30 – and eight runners tackle the marathon 3m5f race with £10,744 heading the way of the winner. Track And Trace should be well up there, getting off the winning mark over hurdles on just his second run having been purchased from the Irish point-to-point sphere.
The David Easterby-trained Court At Slip is in form, winning three times last season and resuming that form on seasonal debut at Newcastle in December, while Ladronne is another to hold a solid chance going back down in trip having finished second in the north east last month – and is a previous course winner at Catterick.
The sixth and penultimate race on the card (3.05) is a competitive handicap hurdle, where The King Of May is lurking on a dangerous mark going back over hurdles, while Spice Diva will be there or thereabouts as well having finished a strong second in a 22-runner event at Punchestown in December.
The card comes to a close at 3.40 with another handicap hurdle. The consistent Harel Du Marais is still looking for his first win and that could come on Thursday, while Thunderclap can also build on a winning maiden race in April at Sedgefield to get off the mark.
Catterick selections – Thursday (via Cheltenham Festival betting)
12.10 – Phone Home
12.45 – Minniemum
1.20 – Time For A Pint
1.55 – Hasthing
2.30 – Court At Slip
3.05 – The King Of May
3.40 – Harel Du Marais
Preview provided by Racing TV.