Topham Handicap Chase tips and runner-by-runner guide to Aintree 4.05 on Friday

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Al Dancer jumps Aintree fences in the Grand Sefton


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Al Dancer bids to make it back-to-back victories over Aintree’s iconic spruce fences when he tackles the Topham Handicap Chase at 4.05pm on Friday.

Sam Thomas’ charge beat Gesskille, who reopposes, by a neck in last year’s Grand Sefton but a field of 29 runners, including Becher Chase winner Ashtown Lad, are set to go to post.

Willie Mullins saddles four runners and the quartet fill the top spots in the weights, topped by Haut En Couleurs.

Topham Handicap Chase odds can be found on the Paddy Power website, Paddy Power app or via our snazzy betting widgets, otherwise Timeform’s horse-by-horse guide to the runners and betting tips from the racing boffins are below.


Topham Handicap Chase tips

Timeform: HAUT EN COULEURS produced another highly likeable display when fifth in the Plate and, as an assured jumper, he strikes as the sort to take to these fences, so he makes the most appeal. Al Dancer and Ashtown Lad have both won here already this term and appear to have been laid out for a big run, so they head the numerous dangers in another fascinating renewal.

Topham Handicap Chase runners

Haut En Couleurs

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: P. Townend Age: 6 Weight: 12st 0lbs

Very smart chaser who fell in Kinloch Brae Chase in January (looked likely winner) and no disgrace in losing out to stablemate Janidil in Grade 2 Red Mills Chase at Gowran on penultimate start. Again ran well when fifth in the Plate a month ago and another bold showing seems likely.


Burrows Saint

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Mr P. W. Mullins Age: 10 Weight: 11st 9lbs

Smart chaser who hasn’t been at his best for a while but finds himself on an appealing mark as a result and should be better for his latest outing at Down Royal. Fourth in the 2021 Grand National, so looks a player if he can lie up with the early pace down in trip.


Ciel De Neige

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: M. P. Walsh Age: 8 Weight: 11st 9lbs

Smart chaser who has seemingly been brought along gradually this term, not finding a great deal having loomed up going well in a valuable handicap at Leopardstown a couple of months ago. No surprise if this has been the aim all along.


Fan De Blues

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Daryl Jacob Age: 8 Weight: 11st 9lbs

Smart chaser who lost his form in the winter but has had a break since and no surprise if his top handler has got him back on track.


Final Orders

Trainer: Gavin Patrick Cromwell Jockey: Keith Donoghue Age: 7 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Has been nothing short of a revelation for these connections and completed a 5-timer over fences in comprehensive style in valuable 2m handicap at Leopardstown in February. Shaped as if still in form in the Grand Annual and deserves respect.


Al Dancer

Trainer: Sam Thomas Jockey: Charlie Deutsch Age: 10 Weight: 11st 6lbs

Smart chaser who returned as good as ever when landing the Grand Sefton over C&D and, having been off since, he appears to have been laid out for another big run, so merits strong consideration.


Il Ridoto

Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 6 Weight: 11st 3lbs

Useful novice chaser who was threatening another big performance and duly delivered (in first-time cheekpieces) when taking 16-runner handicap at Cheltenham on Trials Day. Solid showing when sixth in Plate at the Festival and likely to give another good account.


Gin On Lime

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: D. J. O’Keeffe Age: 7 Weight: 11st 2lbs

Useful chaser. Course winner. Respectable fourth of 16 in handicap chase at Listowel last September and didn’t get far in the Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham last month.


Epson Du Houx

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: Shane Fitzgerald Age: 9 Weight: 11st 2lbs

Has looked in form this season, albeit not quite at his best when only sixth in the Grand Annual last time. Hood goes back on but he’s unproven over the trip.


Ashtown Lad

Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Harry Skelton Age: 9 Weight: 11st 1lbs

Took very well to these fences when landing the Becher in December and at least respectable efforts over hurdles both outings since. Should give a good account.


Upping The Anti

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: Rachael Blackmore Age: 7 Weight: 10st 13lbs

Useful chaser who ran creditably up in grade when 13 lengths second of 6 to Flame Bearer in Gr 3 chase (14/1) at Thurles (18f, soft) 27 days ago. Needs to improve again to feature in this.


Fantastic Lady

Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Nico de Boinville Age: 8 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Very useful chaser who won a 3m Market Rasen listed mares’ race on her reappearance in November but no impact in a competitive handicap at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Could bounce back after a break.



Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Kieren Buckley Age: 10 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Grade 1 winner in his pomp but just useful nowadays. Losing run is mounting up and was pulled up at Cheltenham last time. Others preferred.



Trainer: Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero Jockey: Henry Brooke Age: 7 Weight: 10st 11lbs

Ex-French chaser who has done well for this yard and ran with plenty of credit over these fences twice in the autumn. Respectable effort at Doncaster last time and freshened up by his shrewd stable, so makes plenty of appeal.


Top Ville Ben

Trainer: Philip Kirby Jockey: Thomas Dowson Age: 11 Weight: 10st 10lbs

Not the force of old but his mark now reflects that and was a good 3 lengths third of 23 to The Goffer in handicap chase (28/1) at Leopardstown on penultimate outing. Pulled up in the Ultimate at Cheltenham since.


Phoenix Way

Trainer: Harry Fry Jockey: K. Brogan Age: 10 Weight: 10st 9lbs

Runner-up in a valuable Ascot handicap last winter prior to going one better back ther next time. Better than recent form figures suggest, hampered latest start, and certainly not discounted with cheekpieces on for the first time.



Trainer: T. M. Walsh Jockey: B. Hayes Age: 11 Weight: 10st 9lbs

Unseated rider in minor event chase at Clonmel (19.9f, heavy, 33/1) 24 days ago, held at the time but likely to have needed the run. Should be much closer to form with that run under his belt and he was runner-up in this last year.



Trainer: Kerry Lee Jockey: Jonathan Burke Age: 9 Weight: 10st 8lbs

Low-mileage 9-y-o who gained a third victory over fences following second breathing op at Uttoxeter almost a year ago. Solid showing at Newbury next time but unable to build on that since.


Kiltealy Briggs

Trainer: Jamie Snowden Jockey: A. P. Heskin Age: 9 Weight: 10st 8lbs

Back on track with 21.5f Market Rasen handicap success on his reappearance in October. Not at best at Wincanton subsequently, though, and others make more appeal in this competitive event.



Trainer: Heather Main Jockey: Adam Wedge Age: 9 Weight: 10st 6lbs

Facile victory at Doncaster (19f, heavy) over a year ago. Well held first 2 starts this season but back to form the last twice and isn’t out of it.


Hereditary Rule

Trainer: John McConnell Jockey: S. D. TorrensAge: 8 Weight: 10st 6lbs

Took well to chasing last year, gaining third small-field victory in Cartmel novice (21f) in August. Cashed in off much lower hurdles mark at Downpatrick next time and, then shaped well at Cheltenham. Down the field in a big handicap at the latter course 29 days ago but could bounce back.


Quel Destin

Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Non-Runner Age: 8 Weight: 10st 6lbs



Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: R. A. Doyle Age: 11 Weight: 10st 6lbs

Useful chaser who has underperformed in cross-country events the last twice and looks firmly up against it here.


Bill Baxter

Trainer: Warren Greatrex Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies Age: 7 Weight: 10st 4lbs

Progressive chaser who has landed his last 3 starts, the last two coming at Kelso. Jumps well for a novice and could take to these obstacles, so merits respect.


Celebre D’allen

Trainer: Philip Hobbs & Johnson White Jockey: Micheal Nolan Age: 11 Weight: 10st 4lbs

Returned from a long absence with a bang last season, winning 3 handicaps (2 hurdle, 1 chase) and fine fifth in Plate. Just respectable efforts at best this term, including in another renewal of the last-named race, and he’s not that interesting for win purposes.


Cooper’s Cross

Trainer: Stuart Coltherd Jockey: Sam Coltherd Age: 8 Weight: 10st 4lbs

Made a winning return from 6 months off at Carlisle (2½m) in October. At least as good when placed at Aintree/Musselburgh before taking things up a notch when landing Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. Only sixth there last time (broke blood vessel) and might well get back on track.


Equus Dancer

Trainer: Peter Bowen Jockey: Sean Bowen Age: 9 Weight: 10st 4lbs

Enhanced his impressive strike rate after 18 months off in 7-runner handicap chase at Hereford (20.9f) in December and followed up in comfortable fashion over hurdles at Uttoxeter last month. Likeable type who is still unexposed in this sphere.


Killer Kane

Trainer: Joe Tizzard Jockey: Brendan Powell Age: 8 Weight: 10st 3lbs

Impressed when landing a gamble at Kempton in February and wasn’t disgraced over the same C&D next time. Others look better treated but he’s not completely dismissed.


Dorking Lad

Trainer: Gary Moore Jockey: Jamie Moore Age: 8 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Resumed winning ways in a 20.5f Kempton handicap in November, drawing right away to score by 16 lengths. Has failed to complete on both subsequent outings but was running creditably at Ascot on latter occasion. Jumping is a concern over these fences.



Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Jordan Nailor Age: 8 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Progressive novice chaser last term but disappointing this time around and has a bit to prove.


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