Becher Chase tips and runner-by-runner guide to Aintree 2.05 on Saturday

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Snow Leopardess

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

The first two home in last season’s Becher Chase, Snow Leopardess and Hill Sixteen, are back for another crack over Aintree’s iconic Grand National fences.

The leading pair have to carry a lot more weight than they did 12 months ago but it’s Grade 3-winning chasers De Rasher Counter and Francky Du Berlais who are lumbered with the task of lugging around 12st in Saturday’s 14:05.

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It promises to be a cracking contest with 23 runners tackling 21 obstacles over 3m2f on the Grand National course. Despite serving as a trial for the world’s greatest steeplechase, no horse has ever won both races in the same season.

Becher Chase odds can be found on the Paddy Power website, Paddy Power app or via our snazzy betting widgets, otherwise a horse-by-horse guide to the runners and betting tips are below.

Becher Chase runners

De Rasher Counter

Trainer: Emma Lavelle Jockey: Tom Bellamy Age: 10 Weight: 12st 0lbs

Showed he still retains his ability when second in 3m Warwick veterans’ event 17 days ago. Suffered an unlucky unseat at the first Canal Turn in the Grand National in April on his previous attempt over these fences.

***

Francky Du Berlais

Trainer: Peter Bowen Jockey: James Bowen Age: 9 Weight: 12st 0lbs

Found plenty for pressure when landing a second win in the valuable Summer Plate at Market Rasen in July. Ran a stinker over hurdles at Cheltenham in October but he’s capable of bouncing back and his Topham fourth in the spring shows he acts around here.

***

Snow Leopardess

Trainer: Charlie Longsdon Jockey: Brian Hughes Age: 10 Weight: 11st 13lbs

Proved some sight over these fences when edging out Hill Sixteen in this 12 months ago. Followed up in listed race at Exeter in February but she never got in a rhythm when pulled up in Grand National on final start. Pulled up after mistake and rider lost irons first on Warwick reappearance.

***

Hill Sixteen

Trainer: Sandy Thomson Jockey: Ryan Mania Age: 9 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Took to these fences very well when narrowly denied by Snow Leopardess in this 12 months ago. A good third on his Kelso reappearance 6 weeks ago suggests he could be set to make another bold bid in this race.

****

Fortescue

Trainer: Henry Daly Jockey: Hugh Nugent Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Useful chaser who relished the emphasis on stamina when landing a listed handicap at Ascot (3m, heavy) in February. Should be sharper for a reappearance run over hurdles but he produced a laboured effort in the Grand National in April and these ground conditions may not be testing enough for him.

**

Recite A Prayer

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Brian Hayes Age: 7 Weight: 11st 11lbs

Three wins since switched to fences last autumn, the latest in a Killarney handicap in May. Arrives on the back of good placed efforts in the Kerry and Cork Nationals this autumn. Respected for top Irish stable.

****

The Jam Man

Trainer: Ronan M. P. McNally Jockey: Gavin Peter Brouder Age: 9 Weight: 11st 11lbs

Has drawn a blank since his Troytown win at Navan in autumn 2020 and was well behind Recite A Prayer in the Kerry National at Listowel in September. Also down the field on the Flat since. Tongue tied first time. Others are more obvious.

**

Fantastikas

Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies Age: 7 Weight: 11st 8lbs

Largely progressive novice chaser last term and he showed up well for a long way in a 27f Cheltenham handicap on his reappearance 3 weeks ago, although his jumping was a bit ragged. Stable no stranger to success over these fences.

****

Cloth Cap

Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill Jockey: Richie McLernon Age: 10 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Classy stayer but has seen a promising career derailed by apparent physical problems, reportedly bled when pulled up in Grand National final start. Didn’t see his race out again when fifth on his reappearance here (Mildmay Course) in October. Too much to prove.

**

Dr Kananga

Trainer: Ben Clarke Jockey: Ben Jones Age: 8 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Progressive chaser last season, winning 3 times. Switched to hurdles on his reappearance and ran well for second in a 23f Bangor novice. That should put him spot on for this. Potential for better still and high on the shortlist.

****

Ashtown Lad

Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Harry Skelton Age: 8 Weight: 11st 5lbs

Useful hurdler who showed similar form over fences last season, shaping better than bare result when fifth of 23 in Scottish Grand National at Ayr final start. Warmed up for this with a good reappearance run over hurdles. Big player for his very much in-form yard.

****

The Wolf

Trainer: Olly Murphy Jockey: A. P. Heskin Age: 8 Weight: 11st 5lbs

Strong stayer who found just one too good in the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh in February. Unable to make a telling impact held up in the Scottish National 2 months later but back on track when second on his 25f Cheltenham reappearance 6 weeks ago.

***

Gesskille

Trainer: Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero Jockey: Henry Brooke Age: 6 Weight: 11st 4lbs

Ex-French chaser with a progressive record for this stable, winning 3 of his first 4 starts. Improved again in defeat when edged out in Grand Sefton over these fences (21f) last month and of major interest with the return to further a help if anything.

*****

Rapid Flight

Trainer: James Moffatt Jockey: Danny McMenamin Age: 6 Weight: 11st 4lbs

Likeable sort who won 5 chases at Cartmel during the summer. Found the concession of plenty of weight to a good prospect beyond him in a Hexham novice last time but he ran with credit in second. Stable won this in 2015.

***

Fagan

Trainer: Alex Hales Jockey: Derek Fox Age: 12 Weight: 11st 4lbs

Low mileage for age and resumed winning ways in emphatic fashion at Newbury in January. Good second in veterans’ event at Warwick on return but struggled in a Grade 3 handicap at Cheltenham since.

**

Captain Kangaroo

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Jack Foley Age: 7 Weight: 11st 2lbs

Came good over fences when seeing off 16 rivals, including reopposing stablemate Recite A Prayer, in the Cork National (3½m, heavy) 27 days ago. Can likely be competitive off his new mark but he is prone to the odd jumping error.

***

Enqarde

Trainer: Dr Richard Newland Jockey: Charlie Hammond Age: 8 Weight: 11st 1lbs

Progressive over fences in recent years, landing Tommy Whittle at Haydock last term and ending campaign with creditable second there. Well beaten over hurdles on his reappearance but better can be expected returned to the larger obstacles.

***

Domaine De L’isle

Trainer: Sean Curran Jockey: Kevin Sexton Age: 9 Weight: 10st 13lbs

Winless last season and he’s beaten only a couple home in a handicap hurdle/chase this time round. Refitted blinkers will need to make a big difference.

**

Five Star Getaway

Trainer: Christian Williams Jockey: Jack Tudor Age: 8 Weight: 10st 13lbs

Useful chaser who scored second time up last season. Below best towards the end of the campaign, including in the Topham here, but his reappearance run at Bangor was encouraging. Not discounted for a yard which has plundered quite a few valuable handicap chases in recent seasons.

****

Now Where Or When

Trainer: Stuart Crawford Jockey: Sam Ewing Age: 7 Weight: 10st 11lbs

Notched a second success over fences when seeing off 9 rivals in a 2m Down Royal handicap on his reappearance. Tackles a significantly longer trip here but he was placed around 3m last spring.

***

Percussion

Trainer: L J Morgan Jockey: Gavin Sheehan Age: 7 Weight: 10st 11lbs

Revitalised by cheekpieces/tongue strap when scoring twice at up to 3m at Southwell in the spring. Made a solid return from a break when third (Gesskille 8 lengths ahead in second) in Grand Sefton here 4 weeks ago. Was out of the handicap on that occasion and runs off effectively 3 lb lower now.

***

Didero Vallis

Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Miss Lucy Turner Age: 9 Weight: 10st 8lbs

Useful chaser but he proved hard to predict last term, third in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival but pulled up here (Mildmay Course) final start. Respectable third on Exeter reappearance. Has completed on both previous starts over these fences without performing to his best.

***

Minella Bobo

Trainer: Rebecca Curtis Jockey: Sean Bowen Age: 9 Weight: 10st 1lbs

Low-mileage 9-y-o who made all at Ffos Las (3m) in May 2021 but has been well beaten on all 3 outings since, pulling up at Bangor last month. His claims aren’t obvious.

*

Becher Chase tips

Timeform: GESSKILLE took really well to these fences when narrowly denied in the Grand Sefton and is taken to go one better now stepping back up in trip. The Dan Skelton stable has notched big chase wins on the last 2 weekends and Ashtown Lad heads the dangers on the back of a solid reappearance run over hurdles. Dr Kananga, another who should be sharper for a recent spin over hurdles, likely has more to offer over fences and is also on the shortlist along with last year’s runner-up Hill Sixteen.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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