With £84,000 going to the winner and the field taking on the awesome Grand National fences, the Becher Chase is a huge betting race in its own right. The fact that we could even get clues in this competitive 3¼-mile event for the big one in April makes it all the more fascinating.
We narrowed this year’s field down to these six runners, all of which have a fighting chance.
Three times a three-mile winner over fences on rain-softened ground, Achille it would seem has the attributes to go well here. He clearly stays well and up to the end of last season gave the impression he was getting better.
But he is approaching 12 now and those three wins all came back in 2019. It would be tough to back Venetia Williams’ grey with great confidence, but as recently as February he was a good second in the Grand National Trial at Haydock which reads well in the context of this race.
Having pulled-up at Cheltenham and fallen in the Grand National, this race represents the beginning of Chris’s Dream’s comeback trail.
Trained by Henry De Bromhead, he’s bound to have plenty of supporters and he’s theoretically at the stage of his career when we can expect improvement from him.
That being said, his fall over these fences in April isn’t exactly a brilliant sign and despite the age and stage at which he’s at, it could be argued that his best runs were some half a dozen races and 15 months ago.
It’ll be a surprise if JP McManus and Tom Lacey’s runner isn’t pretty well backed on the day. Kimberlite Candy has won four chases, proving his ability, and has finished second in the last two runnings of this very race.
Despite pulling up in the National it’s clear that Aintree is for him, though after his demolition job in the Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick in February 2020, his handicap mark has held him back.
He was second in this race in 2019 off 137, then beaten 24 lengths last year off 153. He is still rated 150 and at this stage of his career he’s probably just vulnerable to younger and/or better handicapped rivals.
Lord Du Mesnil
It’s difficult to believe Lord Du Mesnil is still only an eight-year-old as he seems to have been around forever. After 23 chases and 34 career runs in total we pretty much know what we are getting with him, and he is quality to be fair.
He’ll stay the distance well and is the current Grand National Trial champ, although it seems Haydock suits him particularly well for some reason while at Aintree he’s unseated once on the Mildmay and finished 9th and pulled up over the National fences.
The same age as Lord Du Mesnil but with very much a profile showing an upward trajectory with scope for plenty more improvement yet, Mac Tottie has been well backed all week.
He’s finished in the first two in five of his 10 starts over fences, stayed three miles at Newbury in March on his seventh chase and of course won over these fences in the Grand Sefton last month.
All of that is positive and we know he’ll win more races, though now having to run off a handicap mark 15lbs higher than it was in March may just hold him back a tad for the time being.
We love the profile of the nine-year-old grey mare Snow Leopardess. She’s had just 17 races in total, seven over fences, has chasing form figures of 3212461 and importantly is bang in form right now.
She’s obviously going the right way and quickly. At Bangor last time she stayed the three miles very well, on soft ground too, and won with some authority over a very good yardstick in Windsor Avenue.
She’s gone up just 5lbs for that which she can undoubtedly handle and, very importantly in the context of this race, jumped very well making her the ideal candidate.
Kimberlite Candy will be popular and it would be no surprise to see him run another solid race in the Becher, but there are sure to be better handicapped horses in the line-up.
One of them is likely to be Mac Tottie who is improving but after his Sefton win now needs to step up in trip, handle a weight rise and do it all again on softer ground. The one we like best is the mare SNOW LEOPARDESS who has so much in her favour and gets the nod.