Seymour Biz believes that Warren Greatrex’s charge can make light work of winning the Becher Handicap Chase, at Aintree on Saturday. Here are all of his tips, for your Lucky 15 bet.
Some really good chasing action to look forward to this Saturday especially the seasonal reappearance of the great Altior. He has proved himself imperious in two mile chases and bids to land the Tingle Creek at Sandown to add to his list of honours. He is unbeaten over obstacles going back to 2015, fourteen races in all, a fabulous record. After a wind op early last season he came out and won the Celebration Chase here at Sandown then went to Cheltenham and defended his crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, it will be a pleasure just to watch him race. Also on the card runs one of the new kids on the block, Lalor, he won really well at Cheltenham three weeks ago in an Arkle trial. He impressed so much that day he is favourite for the big race itself in March so is expected to win the Henry VIII Chase here at Sandown. At Aintree Definitely Red will prove popular with one half of Liverpool if he can reprise his victory in the Many Clouds Chase, the Evertonians won’t be so happy. His fine win earlier this season in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby was a great performance and he will be a short price to follow that up. So there we have three fine chasers to follow in the television races, unfortunately I don’t think we will get rich by backing them. Instead I have chosen four tricky handicaps, two at each meeting, to try and find some value bets in the other televised races and here are my thoughts.
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Starting at Aintree with the Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences. This is a 3 miles 2 furlongs Class 1 Chase which was won by Blaklion last season, he didn’t really go on to fulfill that early season promise. He managed second behind Yala Enki in the National trial at Haydock but was then brought down at the first fence in the big race itself. In his final race at Sandown he was pulled up due to the surface being too soft, I would prefer to watch him here to see if he can be trusted. Crosshue Boy is well fancied after a prep run over hurdles for Irish trainer Sean Doyle. He won four times in Ireland at the back end of last season but has never faced these fences. Paul Nicholls has Present Man entered, he is a horse with a fine record and won at Wincanton on his seasonal reappearance. He prefers good going and Aintree’s good draining soil should suit him. Harry Fry’s The Last Samurai has his first run of the new season but he was pulled up in the National and doesn’t seem to like it round here. At the bottom of the handicap is Theatre Territory who ran a very good third in the Topham here in April. His first run of this campaign was a second at Cheltenham last month and trainer, Warren Greatrex, is reportedly very pleased with him, he could well be the answer to this off his low weight.
At 3.15 is the Aintree Grand Sefton Handicap Chase and the racecourse staff will have to work quickly to redress the National fences after the Becher Chase to get ready for this. Dan Skelton’s Born Survivor is the bookmakers choice here on the strength of his Wetherby win in November but he is something of a course specialist there and has never been over these fences. Captain Redbeard has started this season well with two third places at Haydock and Carlisle but I don’t think he is strong enough for this tough contest. Paul Nicholls has two runners declared, Romain De Senam and Warriors Tale, who raced against each other here over the Mildmay fences in November finishing third and fourth respectively. Romain De Senam has since unseated his rider at Cheltenham and this pair do not seem to be the answer. Catamaran Du Seuil had a good season last year and won first time out at Wetherby, he is expected to put up a good performance but this young horse may have better days to come. However there is another 6-year-old I particularly like the look of and that is Nigel Twiston-Davies’s Crievehill. He has only been out of the first three once in his last eight races winning twice, second at Uttoxeter last September in his only race this season he has been laid out for this and he is my choice.
Moving south to Sandown at 2.25 we have the Jumeirah Hotels And Resorts December Handicap Hurdle. This is a very competitive two miler with some fine young horses involved. Nicky Henderson has a strong hand here and sends Apple’s Shakira out for her seasonal debut. After four victories she was a let-down at the Festival at Cheltenham finishing only fourth in the Triumph, then third in the juvenile hurdle at Aintree. I think she may be best watched here. Henderson also has Call Me Lord in the line-up who has won here at Sandown three times however he is saddled with top weight and is having his first run of the season. Totterdown won here easily in November beating Nelsons Touch however this is a much stronger contest and he goes up in the weights for that win. I like the look of Ben Pauling’s A Hare Breath, last year’s winner, even though he is now a 10-year-old. He has been laid out for this race once again, he had a prep run at Cheltenham last month finishing fifth and has a whopping 22lbs less than he carried to victory last year.
The final race on the card at Sandown at 3.35, is the Betfair London National Handicap Chase and Royal Vacation from Colin Tizzard’s yard is the bookies choice for this. He ran a fine second behind Rock The Kasbah last time at Cheltenham a month ago, however he hasn’t won for nearly two years and I can’t really see him ending that run here. Red Infantry won well at Haydock last time but I don’t think he beat much that day, he would have to work much harder to take this. Caroles Destrier is a course and distance winner but he hasn’t won for three years, his fortunes are unlikely to change. A winner last time out is Lucy Wadham’s Shanroe Santos and he is my idea of the winner. He won the Southern National at Fontwell last month and although he has risen 5lbs in the weights for that, I think he can defy that penalty. Loose Chips won here last month but has risen in the weights for that win. At a bigger price Tenor Nivernais from Venetia Williams‘s yard has dropped down the handicap since being pulled up in last year’s Grand National, he finished ninth here at Sandown in Loose Chips’s race on his seasonal reappearance in November. He can improve on that and may run into a place.
Saturday Lucky 15
1.30 Aintree. Theatre Territory
3.15 Aintree. Crievehill
2.25 Sandown. A Hare Breath
3.35 Sandown. Shanroe Santos