Micro-Angles – Weekend Big Race Trends And Previews

Here are some of the key trends for the two big Aintree handicaps over the National fences.

Aintree – Saturday 2nd December

Let’s have a look at some of the key trends and stats for the two big handicaps chases at Aintree.

Becher Handicap Chase – 3m 2f

Last years race was won by the David Pipe-trained Vieux Lion Rouge who was sent off at odds of 8/1 and just got up to pip Highland Lodge by a short head with The Last Samuri a length back in 3rd. All three are set to go to post for this year’s renewal which looks set to give racegoers another thrilling spectacle.

Key Trends:

The stats consist of 9 winners from 154 runners 33 placed:

Age: 9+ – 9 winners from 97 runners 21 placed
Odds SP: 7/1 to 25/1 – 9 winners from 115 runners 25 placed
Weight: 10-12 or less – 8 winners from 95 runners 22 placed
Last Time Out Placing: 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th – 2 winners from 63 runners 10 placed
Runs At Track: 0 – 1 winner from 53 runners 7 placed

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has had 2 of the last 9 winners of the race and both shared the following:

Runs In 90 Days: 0 to 1
Runs At Track: 1+

2 winners from 6 runners 3 placed

Verdict – Older horses 9-year-old + have dominated this race in recent years, as have those horses carrying 10-12 or less and those that have had at least 1 run at the Aintree in the past. The ante-post favourite for the race is the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Blaklion who was just touched off by his stablemate Bristol De Mai in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his seasonal reappearance. He also ran well for a long way in the Grand National before finishing 4th. He is handicapped to win and is priced accordingly, at around 3/1, by the bookies at the time of writing.

Offering better value at each way prices are last year’s runner-up Highland Lodge who is just 1lb higher this time around. Gas Line Boy is another who should go close. He was 5th in last years Grand National and looked the most likely winner when coming down, well clear, three out over the Mildmay Course in October. Top weight The Last Samuri ran really well over hurdles on his seasonal reappearance and a reproduction of last years close up 3rd make him a serious contender.

Grand Sefton Handicap Chase – 2m 5f

Last years race was won by the Paul Nicholls trained As De Mee who was sent off at odds of 4/1.

The stats consist of 9 winners from 125 runners 31 placed:

Key Trends:

Age: 8 to 10-year-olds – 8 winners from 76 runners 25 placed
Official Rating Compared To Last Race: Between 2lb higher & 2lb lower – 9 winners from 72 runners 20 placed
Highest Class Run: Grade 1 or Grade 2 – 8 winners from 68 runners 23 placed
Official Rating: 130 to 143 – 8 winners from 75 runners 20 placed
Runs At The Track: 0– 1 winner from 53 runners 7 placed
Last Time Out Placing: 1st – 0 winners from 16 runners 2 placed

Paul Nicholls has had 2 winners from 9 runners 3 placed in the race in the past 9 years.

Verdict – With last years winner As De Mee almost certain to go for the Becher, Paul Nicholls will rely on recent Wetherby second Sametegal who looks well handicapped on his best form but will be having his first run at Aintree and over the National fences. He just heads the ante-post market ahead of the Willie Mullins trained Polidam who is another who makes his Aintree bow but will be well suited by the likely soft ground. He could be a well-handicapped horse of 138. Ultragold really took to the fences and jumped really well to win the Topham Chase in April. He is 5lb higher now but his experience of the track will hold him in good stead and looks a solid each-way contender if he runs. Thomas Brown fell at Ascot on his last start but jumped the fences well enough in last season Topham to have a chance. He might need more than 2m 5f and maybe better in smaller fields.

Until next week, be lucky.


John Burke

I have a MA in International Politics and having spent a number of years working in political campaigning but I eventually I realised that politics was not the world where I wanted to work I had been interested in horse racing since the late 1980s but in the early years I was merely just betting and watching racing like most people as a bit of fun and a hobby, then the hobby becomes a passion and that’s what happened to me with horse racing. I soon realised that to make money from my hobby I had to learn as much as I could about the sport and betting in general. The whole process took time but after a number of successful years of betting, I decided in 2011 to take the plunge, gave up my full time day job and decided to bet on horse racing as a part time business and I haven’t looked back since. I like to specialise in the better class of races and I love to solve the puzzles posed by big field handicaps the latter races often provide punters with great value betting opportunities. Whilst most of my time is spent reviewing previous races I like to keep things as simple as possible as even the biggest field handicaps can usually be pruned down to half a dozen strong contenders with the right sort of approach.
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