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

Ashtown Lad bids for a repeat.

Ashtown Lad

Ashtown Lad faces 13 rivals at Aintree on Saturday as he attempts to land the Becher Chase for the second year in a row.

Despite being rated 2lbs higher compared to 12 months ago when cruising to victory, Dan Skelton’s runner carries 13lbs less due to the presence of top weight Coko Beach, who won the Troytown Handicap Chase last month.

The Big Breakaway – second in the handicap but rated 15lbs inferior to Gordon Elliott’s Irish raider – has failed to deliver on the promise of his novice chasing campaign but last season’s second in the Welsh Grand National suggests he is capable off his current mark.

Percussion has already tackled Aintree’s Grand National fences this term after placing second in the Grand Sefton but races from 6lbs out of the handicap.

Meanwhile, Celebre D’Allen hammered his rivals on the Mildmay course on seasonal reappearance but the 11-year-old is the oldest horse in the field for Saturday’s 14:05.

The latest Becher Chase odds are on the Paddy Power website and Paddy Power app, otherwise Timeform’s guide to the runners as well as betting tips from the racing boffins can be found below.

Becher Chase verdict

Timeform: Following a lengthy absence, HIGHLAND HUNTER shaped with plenty of promise when runner-up at Kelso 6 weeks ago. With the forecast rain very much in his favour, he’s given the nod to confirm the promise of that run now. Last year’s winner Ashtown Lad was below his best on return but this has likely been on his agenda for a while and better can be expected. Last month’s Grand Sefton runner-up Percussion, Undersupervision and potentially well-treated Now Where Or When complete the shortlist.

*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

Becher Chase runners and riders

The following horses have been declared for the Becher Chase 2023.

Coko Beach

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Danny Gilligan Age: 8 Weight: 12st 0lbs

8-y-o who returned with a good third in the Munster National in October and built on that to land 20-runner Troytown Chase at Navan (3m) 3 weeks ago, typically jumping well and asserting on the run-in. Evidently in rude health but career-high mark demands more.


The Big Breakaway

Trainer: Joe Tizzard Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 8 Weight: 10st 13lbs

Started last term with 2 fine efforts, including when runner-up in Welsh National over Christmas. Given a break and failed to complete final 2 starts (fell early in Grand National) but not disgraced when midfield on last month’s return in the Badger Beer. Still, not easy to catch right.


Highland Hunter

Trainer: Fergal O’Brien Jockey: Paddy Brennan Age: 10 Weight: 10st 13lbs

Thorough stayer who landed the London National at Sandown prior to finishing second in the Welsh National at Chepstow during a light 2021/22 campaign. Highly encouraging return from 21 months off when second on yard debut at Kelso 6 weeks ago and this 10-y-o is of interest.


Minella Trump

Trainer: Donald McCain Jockey: Theo Gillard Age: 9 Weight: 10st 11lbs

Well placed to win 8 his 9 starts in 2021-22 and made successful reappearance at Perth (23.8f) in June 2022. Failed to stay in Grand National on final start but last month’s spin over hurdles ought to have blown the cobwebs away. Yard’s runners always command respect here.


Celebre D’Allen

Trainer: Philip Hobbs & Johnson White Jockey: Micheal Nolan Age: 11 Weight: 10st 6lbs

11-y-o who was largely highly tried in 5 starts last term and he justified good support on back of 7 months off when cruising clear of his 10-rivals to land 25f handicap here in October.



Trainer: Seamus Mullins Jockey: James Best Age: 9 Weight: 10st 6lbs

Good strike rate over fences and he resumed winning way in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster in March prior to a career-best second in Bet365 Gold Cup final outing. Stamina assured but needs to leave October’s reappearance run at Wincanton in his wake (reportedly bled).


Ashtown Lad

Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Harry Skelton Age: 9 Weight: 10st 6lbs

Built on an encouraging hurdles return when bagging this race from a 2 lb lower mark 12 months ago, notably travelling/jumping fluently. Lines up here following pair of non-completions, latterly in Badger Beer at Wincanton 4 weeks ago but return to these fences may perk him up.



Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Miss Lucy Turner Age: 11 Weight: 10st 6lbs

Ended 2021/22 campaign with success in the Kim Muir at the Festival. Disappointed initially last term but better signs on final start and, from further reduced mark he ran a cracker to finish runner-up on return in amateur’s handicap at Cheltenham (25f, soft) 3 weeks ago.


Now Where Or When

Trainer: Stuart Crawford Jockey: Liam Harrison Age: 8 Weight: 10st 4lbs

Hurdles/dual chase winner who ran a cracker when third behind Kemboy in Gr. 3 Bobbyjo Chase back in February. Failed to stay in Irish National final start last term but likely he’ll strip fitter for his Navan return 3 weeks ago and potentially very well treated back in handicap company.


Sidi Ismael

Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: K. Brogan Age: 9 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Hurdles/chase winner who ended last season with a brace of placed efforts in long distance chases at Taunton/Ffos Las. Underwhelming reappearance at Haydock (25.5f) on back of a wind op 2 weeks ago and he’ll need to leave that well behind to figure.



Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies Age: 7 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Unreliable as a rule but showed benefit of his reappearance run when third in big-field amateurs’ handicap at Cheltenham (25f) 21 days ago. Operating from a workable mark if he can back that up on first try over these fences for yard with very good record in this race.



Trainer: L J Morgan Jockey: Harry Reed Age: 8 Weight: 10st 2lbs

3-time winner over fences who is building up a sound record over these fences (third in this race 12 months ago) and he ran another fine race when runner-up in last month’s Grand Sefton behind Gesskille. Shortlisted for all he’s operating from 6 lb out of the weights.


Lounge Lizard

Trainer: Henry Daly Jockey: Charlie Deutsch Age: 6 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Looked more straightforward than had previously been the case (in blinkers) when landing small-field handicaps at Catterick/Taunton during second half of last term. Creditable third back from 5 months off when third at Exeter (24.2f) in October but this tougher from out of the weights.


Dorking Cock

Trainer: Stuart Crawford Jockey: J. J. Slevin Age: 9 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Lightly raced for this yard and bounced back to form to capitalise on much lower mark over hurdles at Navan (22f, heavy) 3 weeks ago, keeping on well run-in. However, returns to chasing operating from 8 lb out of the weights and others make more appeal.


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