Becher Handicap Chase (Aintree) Betting Tips & Predictions – Saturday 8th December 2018

Chase contests simply don’t get any better – certainly when judged on sheer excitement and spectacle – than those run over the big Grand National fences at Aintree. As such we are in for a real treat this weekend as the likes of the The Chair, Valentines and Foinavon make their first appearance of the season in Saturday’s Becher Chase, a race which never fails to capture the imagination.

A really intriguing renewal this year, with a number of likeable contenders on show. Overall though we will be siding with one who is something of a forgotten horse to show he still has what it takes.

Top Tips

Don Poli each way @ 14/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

3m2f is the trip for this Grade 3 handicap chase, set to be run on soft ground this year and offering £150,000 in guaranteed prize money.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Soft 3m2f Grade 3 £150,000 28 Runners 1/4 1-4

Recent Winners

The grand old boys have done pretty well here in recent years, with the race having been landed by a 12, 13 and 14 year old in the past eight years. The other seven winners have all been aged between seven and nine years of age though.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has much the best record of the trainers on show, with a total of six wins to his name. Twiston-Davies has four amongst the current entries, including defending champion, Blaklion, and current market leader, Ballyoptic.

2017 Blaklion 7/4 Nigel Twiston-Davies Gavin Sheehan
2016 Vieux Lion Rouge 8/1 David Pipe Tom Scudamore
2015 Highland Lodge 20/1 James Moffatt Henry Brooke
2014 Oscar Time 25/1 Robert Waley-Cohen Sam Waley-Cohen
2013 Chance du Roy 14/1 Philip Hobbs Tom O’Brien

Analysis: Poli Looks A Jolly Good Bet

This looks set to be a cracker once again, with a quality field containing the past three winners of this race, in addition to a number of highly promising newcomers to the sphere.

Optic Chance No Illusion

Rated as high as 162 as a hurdler, it’s easy to see why Ballyoptic is proving popular in the market getting in off 155 here – particularly considering his trainer’s stellar record in the race. Four times a winner over 3m, this additional distance seems unlikely to prove an issue, but – as with a number of these – much will depend on how he takes to these unique obstacles. Having completed all six chase starts to date – winning twice – connections will be optimistic, but he can chuck in the odd blunder.

Back To Back For Blak?

Sticking with the Nigel Twiston-Davies runners, it’s impossible to ignore the claims of defending champion, Blaklion. A proven ability to jump around here is worth it’s weight in gold in this race, and it’s worth remembering just how easily he won this 12 months ago.

Sent off the 7/4 favourite that day, he stormed clear in the straight for a nine-length success. Only 5lbs higher in the handicap this time around and still only nine years old, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him start favourite on the day. Brought down in the National itself and pulled up when last sighted at Sandown, he does have a few questions to answer though.

Don Delight For Elliott?

Expected to be brought back for the Chase over in Ireland, it’s interesting that the Gordon Elliott runner, Don Poli, is instead prominent amongst the entries for this. It was only a few seasons ago that this horse was many people’s idea of the next big thing in the staying chase division, and whilst in the end he didn’t prove quite up to Gold Cup standard – third in the 2016 edition – this is no Gold Cup. Not sighted since February 2017, he has had his issues, but is reportedly now flying at home and may well be suited by the demands of this.

Final Verdict: Don Poli each way

The obvious one here is Blaklion who ticks all the boxes and is still handicapped to win judged on last season’s performance. He does however look short enough for one who is yet to put in a good performance following wind surgery.

Ballyoptic is interesting, but at a bigger price we prefer an each way punt on Don Poli. We have always been a fan of this horse, and whilst he isn’t particularly quick, the big fences do act to slow the pace here and he does stay well. Double figure odds look fair enough for the horse who may well be the class of this field.

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