Saturday is Becher Chase day at Aintree as the famous Grand National fences come to the fore in the Grade 3 handicap that so often is a good trial for the big one in the spring.
It’s an eight-race card at Aintree on Saturday, from 11.15am-3.15pm, with the supporting races including the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase.
You can watch all the action – alongside every race from the UK and Ireland – via live streaming when logged into MansionBet and our tipster has a race-by-race look ahead to the action on Merseyside.
11.15 – Unibet Casino Deposit 10 Get 40 Novices’ Hurdle (2m1f)
Previous winners BOMBS AWAY and Richmond Lake are likely going to prove hard to topple in this opener, despite their penalties. Donald McCain’s charge did things nicely from the front at Bangor and that form has been held up in a good light, but the Olly Murphy string are in superb order and Bombs Away impressed at Sandown despite doing plenty wrong on his hurdles bow. That looked a decent maiden and he can take the next step up the ladder.
Selection: Bombs Away @ SP
11.45 – Unibet ‘You’re On’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (3m½f)
Grangeclare Glory is in good tune and looks a key player for David Pipe in first-time cheekpieces but TO BE SURE is a viable alternative for Evan Williams. He won at Ffos Las early in November and was second back there since under a penalty. He’s rated 1lb lower now and also has Isabel Williams claiming 5lb in the saddle.
Selection: To Be Sure @ SP
12.20 – Unibet Houghton Mares’ Chase (Listed, 2m4f)
Annie Mc has won her last two, defeating Zambella by more than five-lengths at Warwick in a Listed contest in February on her most recent start, but she doesn’t have a strong record after a layoff and is now running into a smart mare in ELIMAY. She’s won 4-6 over fences, her defeats coming against subsequent Ryanair winner Allaho at Thurles in January and then in a real duel with stablemate Colreevy in the new Mares’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. The end-game will be to get back there and she can start the season with a win as she typically goes strongly off a break.
Selection: Elimay @ 4/9
12.55 – Unibet Working With Raceday RTV Handicap Chase (2m4f)
FIVE STAR GETAWAY made rapid progress in the spring, winning three times in a month, prior to failing to see out three-mikes adequately at Ayr. As he has done in the past, he shaped as if he’d be sharper for the outing at Chepstow in October and Christian Williams’ charge is on a fairly attractive mark of 130 as such.
Selection: Five Star Getaway @ 12/1
1.30 – Unibet Proudly Supports ‘Racing Is Everyone’s Sport’ Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (Listed, 2m1f)
Lots of these have potential for improvement – Aliomaana, Angels Landing and Lady Pacifico amongst them – but Irish pair Six Feet Apart and WHITE PEPPER are eye-catchers. Joseph O’Brien’s charge won a Fairyhouse maiden last time but Gavin Cromwell’s filly – who was useful on the Flat – bolted up on her second hurdles start at Galway in October and on a line through the fourth Vocito, she should hold Six Feet Apart, while this track won’t faze her given that background on the level.
Selection: White Pepper @ 7/4
2.05 – Unibet Many Clouds Chase (Grade 2, 3m1f)
Low sun didn’t help Native River in defending this race a year ago, as it became something of a glorified bumper. Colin Tizzard’s veteran is back again and will have his chance, especially if the ground is testing. Protektorat finished strongly in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham last month, though Simply The Betts should get closer now with a run behind him. IMPERIAL AURA hadn’t played his cards when he crashed out of the Betfair Chase at Haydock a fortnight ago. Kim Bailey’s charge has stamina to prove, but this is as good a place as any in that regard and he may go well.
Aintree legend Tiger Roll is probably here for a day out, with his big targets in the spring.
Selection: Imperial Aura @ 7/2
2.40 – Unibet Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3, National Course, 3m2f)
Twice a runner-up in this race Kimberlite Candy should give a solid account of himself, as should dual winner Vieux Lion Rouge despite now closing in on becoming a teenager. Grand Sefton winner Mac Tottie and Bangor winner Snow Leopardess are possibles but at a big price don’t discount HILL SIXTEEN. He’s joined the Sandy Thomson string over the summer, remains unexposed at this trip and made a satisfactory start for his new trainer at Carlisle. He should be sharper for that and could outrun his odds if taking to these fences.
Selection: Hill Sixteen @ 25/1
3.15 – Unibet – 2021 Horserace Betting Operator Of The Year Handicap Hurdle (2m4f)
Tamar Bridge is 3-4 in his career and won well at Wetherby on his comeback in October. An opening mark of 128 is within reach for the red-hot Olly Murphy squad. MARTINHAL was very much on the up prior to a flop at the Cheltenham Festival in March and this lightly-raced David Pipe inmate could soon get back on the right track this season. He’s an each-way player for the Pond House team.
Selection: Marthinal @ 12/1
*All odds correct at time of writing