Topham Handicap Chase Betting Tips & Predictions – Aintree, Friday 5th April 2019

There are three races that make use of the Grand National fences during the Aintree Festival and Friday’s ultra-competitive Topham Chase is one of them. It doesn’t require the same level of stamina as the Grand National itself, but a high standard of jumping is certainly the order of the day.

Looking good value to leap her way to victory this year is last year’s third place finisher, Theatre Territory.

Top Tips

Theatre Territory 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

This race has been a regular feature at Aintree since 1949 and has been responsible for some hugely entertaining contests in this time. Although it is open to five year olds and older, you don’t tend to see too many winners at, or close to the minimum age. Since 1999 there have only been four Topham Chase champions aged seven or younger.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good To Soft 2m5f Grade 3 £140,000 30 Runners Max 1/4 1-4

Recent Winners

Always Waining secured victory in this race on three consecutive occasions between 2010 and 2012, a historic feat. Trainer Nicky Henderson then secured a hat-trick of victories himself but each time with a different horse.

The big field this race attracts means there’s rarely a small priced winner. Ma Filleule is the only victor in the last nine renewals who set off at a single digit price.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2018 Ultragold 14/1 Colin Tizzard Harry Cobden
2017 Ultragold 50/1 Colin Tizzard Harry Cobden
2016 Eastlake 22/1 Jonjo O’Neill Barry Geraghty
2015 Rajdhani Express 10/1 Nicky Henderson Sam Waley-Cohen
2014 Ma Filleule 9/1 Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty

Analysis: Theatre The Star Of The Show

A thrilling spectacle awaits us as ever here, in the race which annually serves to whet the appetite ahead of the big one on Saturday. There look to be a number of potentially well handicapped runners in the field, but will they take to these big fences? Overall we prefer proven course form here.

Jan The Man For Jacob?

Of the trainers on show this year it is Nicky Henderson who has the best record in this race, with five wins in all, and it is he who is responsible for the current favourite, Janika. This son of Saddler Maker only joined the yard in October 2018, and has enjoyed a solid – if slightly frustrating – start to life in Britain, having filled the runners up spot in each of his three starts for Henderson to date.

That consistency was really a carryover from his French form, where he was never out of the first two in four starts over fences. He jumps well, stays well and should go well for Daryl Jacob, but he has now gone up 12lbs in the handicap for not winning, which would be the only real negative against his chances.

Territory On The Premises Again?

If Janika doesn’t look particularly well handicapped on the face of it, one runner who does look to boast solid claims on the book is the Warren Greatrex trained mare, Theatre Territory. Despite being a good ground horse, this one ran a cracker to finish third on heavy going in this race last year, looking to be in with an excellent chance, only to tire close home.

The better ground this year should mean this isn’t anything like so much of a slog, and she is two pounds lower headed into the race this time around. She can be forgiven her disappointing run last time out as her girth slipped, and there’s not too much not to like about the each way claims of this excellent jumper.

Vale Victorious

We like form over the big fences when it comes to this race, and one who scores close to top marks in that respect is Nicky Henderson’s apparent second string, Kilcrea Vale. Fourth in this 12 months ago – when doing well to finish even that close having been badly hampered – he was then second over the course and distance in the Becher Chase here in December. Beaten just two and a quarter lengths by Warrior’s Tale that day, when running off 135, he is handicapped to go close off 132 here. He has disappointed in three subsequent efforts, but perhaps a return to this track will spark a revival.

Final Verdict: Theatre Territory each way

Janika does look to have a touch of class about him and ran an excellent race at Cheltenham last time out. This will be his first experience of the National course though which is enough to put us off at single figure odds.

Kilcrea Vale, Theatre Territory and Call It Magic – who he haven’t mentioned yet – do all have solid course form to their names, with the vote going to the Greatrex mare. On a lower mark than when hitting the frame last year, the ground has come in her favour and she’s fancied to run a big race.

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