Becher Chase runner-by-runner guide to the 22 contenders at Aintree on Saturday

Who's the selection in Saturday's big handicap over Aintree's iconic fences?

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Chris’s Dream

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jr. Age: 9 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Has an excellent record fresh and shaped well in the Grand National when last seen in April, still in fourth when unseated rider 4 out. Needs considering.

Lord Du Mesnil

Trainer: Richard Hobson Jockey: Nick Scholfield Age: 8 Weight: 11st 3lbs

All stamina and resumed winning ways in Grand National Trial at Haydock in the mud in February. However, let down by jumping at Auteuil in May and in the Grand Sefton over these fences last season.

Kimberlite Candy

Trainer: Tom Lacey Jockey: Jonathan Burke Age: 9 Weight: 11st 0lbs

Second in last 2 runnings of this with a wide-margin victory in the Classic Chase at Warwick in between. Little went right in Grand National since and likely contender again.

Tout Est Permis

Trainer: Noel Meade Jockey: E. Walsh Age: 8 Weight: 11st 0lbs

Mixed record last season and pulled up in Grand National final start (lost place when blundered first Canal Turn). Did at least offer something to build on when fifth of 16 at Navan on return.

Mighty Thunder

Trainer: Lucinda Russell Jockey: Derek Fox Age: 8 Weight: 11st 0lbs

Vastly improved last season, bagging fourth win of the campaign in Scottish National at Ayr. Should be sharper for Cheltenham return but probably wants more of a stamina test.

Ravenhill

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: J. J. Slevin Age: 11 Weight: 11st 0lbs

Smart chaser though was out of his depth in Grade 1 at Down Royal on return. Probably high enough in the weights back in a handicap.

Top Ville Ben

Trainer: Philip Kirby Jockey: Thomas Dowson Age: 9 Weight: 11st 0lbs

Three-time Wetherby winner, including in 2019 Rowland Meyrick, but clearly hard to train these days and would appear to have deteriorated considerably judged on both starts this term 6 months apart.

Domaine De L’Isle

Trainer: Sean Curran Jockey: David Bass Age: 8 Weight: 10st 11lbs

Back to his smart best after a wind op when landing handicaps at Kempton and Cheltenham in the spring. However, offered little short-term encouragement at Cheltenham on return.

Vieux Lion Rouge

Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: Tom Scudamore Age: 12 Weight: 10st 9lbs

Regular in this race, adding to his 2016 success when beating Kimberlite Candy by 24 lengths in last year’s renewal off 5lb lower. Presumably had a pipe-opener for this at Chepstow on return.

Snow Falcon

Trainer: Noel Meade Jockey: Henry Brooke Age: 11 Weight: 10st 8lbs

Kept busy this season and holding his form well, though at the same time not looking the force of old. Cheekpieces left off.

Mac Tottie

Trainer: Peter Bowen Jockey: James Bowen Age: 8 Weight: 10st 6lbs

Ended 2020/21 on a high and all the better for return when winning Grand Sefton here 4 weeks ago, producing a career best tackling these fences for the first time. High on shortlist up 7lb.

Achille

Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Charlie Deutsch Age: 11 Weight: 10st 5lbs

Progressed well in 2018/19, winning 3 of 5 starts. Very lightly raced since but back with 3 excellent runs last season, sixth in Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter latest. Not taken lightly.

Snow Leopardess

Trainer: Charlie Longsdon Jockey: Aidan Coleman Age: 9 Weight: 10st 4lbs

Took well to fences last season and looked better than ever when making a winning return at Bangor last month, producing a superb display of jumping. Obvious candidate for this race.

Didero Vallis

Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Hugh Nugent Age: 8 Weight: 10st 1lbs

Returned to form when striking at Catterick (25f) in February and signed off with good Kelso third in first-time cheekpieces. However, turned in a lacklustre effort at Ascot on return.

Hogan’s Height

Trainer: Jamie Snowden Jockey: Gavin Sheehan Age: 10 Weight: 9st 13lbs

Stormed to victory in the Grand Sefton over these fences in 2019 but it’s been slim pickings in 6 outings since.

Cobolobo

Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill Jockey: Robert Dunne Age: 9 Weight: 9st 12lbs

Improved again when making all at Exeter (3m) last season and backed that up with a good second at Ascot. However, struggled in high-end handicaps last 2 starts. Off 8 months. 2lb out of weights.

Checkitout

Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Jordan Nailor Age: 7 Weight: 9st 11lbs

Improved with back-to-back 3m wins at Southwell and Ludlow in the spring. Back to form when runner-up at Ascot on return but more needed from 3lb out of the weights.

Le Breuil

Trainer: Ben Pauling Jockey: Danny McMenamin Age: 9 Weight: 9st 10lbs

Smart staying chaser who landed NH Chase at Cheltenham Festival in 2019. However, expensive to follow since and struggled at Fontwell on return. 4lb out of weights.

Hill Sixteen

Trainer: Sandy Thomson Jockey: Craig Nichol Age: 8 Weight: 9st 10lbs

Useful chaser who was back to form when third at Newton Abbot on final outing for Nigel Twiston-Davies. Shaped as if needing run for new yard at Carlisle but up against it here (4lb out of weights).

Via Dolorosa

Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: David Noonan Age: 9 Weight: 9st 8lbs

Useful jumper at up to 23f in France and shaped as if retaining all that ability when fourth in the Grand Sefton over these fences last month but 6lb out of the weights on this occasion.

Abaya Du Mathan

Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: Charlie Todd Age: 9 Weight: 8st 10lbs

Fairly useful chaser in France but up against it from miles out of the handicap on debut for new connections.

El Paso Wood

Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: Conor O’Farrell Age: 7 Weight: 8st 9lbs

Fairly useful chaser in France but up against it from miles out of the handicap on debut for new connections.

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Timeform Verdict: SNOW LEOPARDESS produced a superb display of jumping when making all at Bangor on her return and she looks tailor-made for these fences. Chris’s Dream was still in fourth when unshipping his rider 4 out in the Grand National and another big run could be on the cards given his excellent record first-time out, while Mac Tottie is another who’s high on the shortlist after his win in the Grand Sefton.

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