Despite being a hugely competitive Grade 3 handicap chase in its own right, we all know why the Becher Chase is so important.
This race provides us with a proper Grand National trial with several of these runners, including those on our shortlist, being seriously considered for a return to these fences on April 10th. That’s then however and this is now, these six being the ones we think you should concentrate your efforts on.
Give Me A Copper
It’s rather hard to work out how much improvement we should expect from Paul Nicholls’ runner, given that on one hand he is now ten years old, but on the other he has had only seven chase races to date.
He’s been off the track for a year, had had a wind operation and hasn’t won beyond 3m1f on better ground than he’ll get here so getting home could be an issue too, though he does represent tip-top connections and holds a place chance.
A very live fancy for the Grand National, our fancy for this very race last year and once again high on the list.
His second to Walk In The Mill last year showed his liking for this track and these fences, while he came back out in January over 3m5f at Warwick and got better the further he went.
True, we’re back to 3¼ miles here, but Aintree despite being flat is nowhere near as quick as some people say and will take a lot of getting today. His profile suggests he really needs the test, is improving anyway and remains well handicapped in our opinion despite his huge rise in the weights after winning last time.
In terms of the staying ability needed as well as his competence on the ground, Le Breuil’s win over nearly four miles in the 2019 National Hunt Cup at Cheltenham is his key piece of form and he in theory should still be improving.
He is considered, but he hasn’t been anywhere near that Cheltenham form in five runs since so while he is worthy of a mention, he is passed over for the win.
Ramses De Teillee
David Pipe’s eight-year-old is going places over fences, and his wins in particular at Chepstow in the 2018 Welsh Grand National Trial and at Cheltenham in November this year mark him out as a contender.
If his past patterns are anything to go by, we could see a new peak here. A pip-opener, a strong run and then a seasonal high performance is something we’ve seen from him before. He stays well, will appreciate this ground and even if he’s not in a strong position going over the last, he should stay on and give everyone a run for their money.
Walk In The Mill
Robert Walford’s gelding has a strong history in this race, winning it for our column in 2018 before doubling up and denying our selection Kimberlite Candy last year.
He is a fantastic gelding and will be aimed at the Grand National once again having been fourth in the race behind Tiger Roll in 2019, but he is unlikely to be getting any better now and it may well be that at the weights a few of this year’s field have basically improved past him.
Again, Paul Nicholls is involved so just like Give Me A Copper whatever negatives we have for Yala Enki can eb at least somewhat balanced out.
He stays, has tons of experience and is in great form after his close call with Ramses De Teillee last time. But, carrying top weight in these conditions will not be easy and so Bryony Frost will have her work cut out to coax him round and retain enough energy to still hold a chance after the last.
While it’s important just to get the first run of the season out of the way en route to the Grand National, and he has gone up 13lbs in the weights, KIMBERLITE CANDY still has the most attractive profile for this.
While his hike in the weights seems big, he did win very, very easily last time, it was eleven months ago and he will have once again improved immeasurably so he is more than trustworthy as a bet for Tom Lacey, JP McManus and Richie McLernon. Ramses De Teillee is next on the list and gets a big shout.