Becher Handicap Chase Betting Tips


Horse Racing - Fantastic Friday Raceday - Newbury Racecourse

Alan King’s Ziga Boy gets the Oddsguru’s vote for Saturday’s Becher Chase

Betfred Becher Handicap Chase 3m2f Aintree Saturday – The two stand out statistics for Saturday’s contest have to be that the last seventeen winners were rated under 149, and the last six to pass the post in front, were rated lower than 138, emphasising, that both The Last Samuri (159), and Vicompte Du Noyer (154) have a mountain to climb at the weekend. Age has been no bar to success with the race going to an animal aged 11 or older six times, since its inception in 1992. Indeed, both Oscar Time, and Hello Bud, (for his second win) were teenagers when collecting. Nigel Twiston-Davies has been the most successful trainer with five victories, followed by Paul Nicholls with three. Apart from two wins by the late lamented Dessie Hughes, Black Apalaci (2008), and Vic Venturi (2009), Irish stables have drawn a blank but, they mount a serious challenge for this year’s renewal, not least with the Eric Mc Namara trained 9yo Dare To Endeavour.

He was beaten 2 1/4L in last year’s contest by Highland Lodge, and meets him on 4lbs better terms on Saturday. He further demonstrated his aptitude for the Aintree Spruce, when completing in the Topham Trophy in April, and having pleased his trainer with a decent run in a Limerick 3m chase eight weeks ago, he comes here with plenty of stable confidence behind him, particularly if it comes up soft.

The 8yo Ucello Conti was trained in France until joining the Elliott Academy at the end of last year. He had won eight of his thirteen starts across the channel, including a 3yo chase at Auteil, but was never tried beyond 21f. Shrewd trainer that Gordon Elliott is, he recognised the animal as a stayer, and he duly ran a very solid race in his first attempt at a trip, when finishing third in the 25f Thyestes Chase last January, in bog like conditions. He was sent off a 25/1 shot for the Grand National next time out, and demonstrated that the Aintree obstacles held no fears for him when, he ran a great race to finish 6th off a mark of 149. Retired for the season, he had a nice pipe opener over hurdles at Navan twenty days ago. He doesn’t look badly treated on a mark of 148, and coming from this yard, which can do no wrong at the moment, looks worthy of his prominent position in the market.

Fergal O’Briens tough staying veteran, the 11yo Alvarado, has been placed twice in the National, and, having run another fine race in the Scottish equivalent last April, where he finished 2nd, off a mark of 135, upped stumps for the season.


Fergal O’Brien’s teak tough Alvarado also has a strong chance in Saturday’s race

He made a highly satisfactory reappearance behind Saturday’s opponent, Viconte Du Noyer at Cheltenham three weeks ago, where, having lost his place at the 15th fence, ran on well from the 3rd last to finish 6th, 7L behind the Tizzard horse. He meets Viconte Du Noyer on 10lbs better terms at the weekend and with only 10st2lbs in the plate is another to make plenty of appeal.


Mouse Morris runs his Irish Grand National winner Rogue Angel and the 8yo looks realistically treated on a mark of 145, 7lbs higher than for his hard fought Fairyhouse victory. Thought to have needed his two outings this season, in the Munster and Cork Nationals, Morris, the hugely talented trainer of this year’s Grand National winner, Rule The World, is quite bullish about the chances of Rogue Angel, expecting “great improvement” from his last run.

It is 15 years since the legendary Ginger McCain won this with subsequent Aintree Hero Amberleigh House, and I’m sure son Donald would love to emulate his dad, by winning this with the 7yo Knock House, for one of his most loyal supporters, Tim Leslie.


The great Ginger McCain’s son Donald saddles Knock House

He ran a very promising race at the Cheltenham Festival, where, despite being badly hampered at the 13th fence, rallied to finish 4th in a field of 22 runners, off a mark of 144. He disappointed 3weeks later and was retired for the season. He makes his reappearance on Saturday off a generous looking mark of 141 giving him a racing weight of 10st8lbs and as he can go well fresh is another to consider.


Read the Oddsguru’s 2015 Becher Handicap Chase preview.

Alan King runs Ziga Boy, and as he has won in December for the last two years, this certainly looks like his time of year. Having won last December off a mark of 117, he put up a real eye catching performance off a 16lbs higher mark next time, when winning a Class1 Doncaster handicap by 3 1/4L and 1/2L from the useful pair Coologue and Buywise at the end of January. He disappointed in his two following runs, both at Kempton, and was put away until reappearing in a 3m Bangor handicap chase 24 days ago. Needing the race, he finished a respectable 5th off a mark of 138 and lines up on Saturday on a 1lb lower mark. Having won this with West End Rocker in 2011, King knows what is required, and it will come as no surprise to see this good jumper, (has never fallen) involved at the business end.

Selection : Ziga Boy

E.W.       : Alvarado

Becher Chase Betting Preview

Becher Chase Betting Preview

First run in 1992 the Becher Chase is contested over 3ml 2f of the Grand National course and competitors are faced with the challenge of clearing 21 of the famous fences. 

First run in 1992 the Becher Chase is contested over 3ml 2f of the Grand National course and competitors are faced with the challenge of clearing 21 of the famous fences. It serves as a trial for the main event in April with two Becher winners, Silver Birch and Amberleigh House going on to victory in the National. In recent years with a pot of around £150,000, it is a serious contest in its own rite and is always contested by a fiercely competitive field. It has not been a race for young inexperienced animals with only two 7yo’s, Indian Tonic (1993) trained by Nigel Twiston Davies, and Silver Birch (2004) trained by Paul Nicholls winning in its 21 year history. Age and experience is further emphasised when looking at the four most recent winners, two 9yo’s a 12yo, and a14yo.

Nigel Twiston-Davies ( most successful trainer in the contest, 5 wins ) saddles the lightly raced 9yo Ben Bens. He ran quite a promising race at Cheltenham three weeks ago where, racing off Saturday’s Mark of 134 he was a good second to Charingworth, to whom he was Conceeding 9lbs. With a nice racing weight of 10st 13lbs he does seem reasonably handicapped and with these connections is well worth considering.

Paul Nicholls, the second most successful ,( 3 winners since 2004 ) is represented by Just A Par and Mon Parrain at the time of writing, and the former would seem the more likely runner. He has been dissappointing since winning a gd 2 chase at Newbury (nov 2013) but has been keeping some pretty hot company. It would’nt be the biggest surprise to see the Nicholls Magic touch bringing about a revival.

Irish horses have won two of the last ten runnings ( both trained by the late lamented Dessie Hughes ) and are represented this year by Balbriggan and Goonyella . Balbriggan, now in the care of the Irish maestro Gordon Elliott made all when winning the valuable Troytown chase at stamina sapping Navan two weeks ago. Having trained a Grand National winner, ( Silver Birch ) his very talented trainer knows what is required and it is not hard to envisage Balbriggan with only 10st 9lbs on his back setting out to make all. Gonnyella has won two of his nine chases and ran well in last years Irish National finishing seventh. He seems particularly effective on heavy ground and looks the type who might enjoy the Aintree fences.

With the stable in such devastating form last years winner Chace Du Roy must be considered. He loves Aintree having finished 2nd in the Topham and 6th in the National. He is only 6lbs higher than last year and as he won first time up last year he must have a serious chance of a repeat on what are likely to be similar ground conditions.

Having won his first three chases Lucinda Russell’s young chaser Green Flag was Stepped up in class at Kempton last December and ran a very promising race finishing second to the very useful Annacotty. He then ran well at the Cheltenham festival where despite appearing to have no chance at the third last he stayed on to be a respectable fourth behind the much vaunted Hollywell. Put away after his 6th in the Scottish National ( did’nt appear to stay ) he made a promising return 7 months later at Carlisle finishing 4th to subsequent Hennessy winner Many Clouds. His mark of 142 on Saturday seems well within his compass and is one for the short list.

David Pipe’s Our Father only got to the canal turn on his first attempt at the Nationl but may have been unlucky to unseat. He is a horse who is undoubtedly at his best first time out and on some of his earlier form he looks very well handicapped off a mark of 136. If he does indeed handle the fences he must have a serious chance of giving his trainer his first success in the race.

Richard Lee’s 9yo Knock a Hand looked promising on his reappearance at Bangor three weeks ago. He probably needed the race when just losing second place on the line in a cl2 chase and racing off the same mark on Saturday could go well.

Emma Lavelle’s Highland Lodge is racing off 132, 7lbs below his hurdles rating, and this would look very generous indeed if repeating his run in last years Hennessy where he finished 4th off a mark of 143. Things have not worked out since but he put up a respectable performance on his reappearance when 5th in a cl2 chase at Chepstow in October and is another to consider in such an open looking contest.

Across the Bay was going great guns out in front in the National until carried wide by a loose horse at the 16th. He is racing here off a mark 4lbs lower and would be worth considering except for the poor form of the Mc Cain stable.

Selection.Our Father.

E.W. Highland Lodge.