The Becher Handicap Chase takes place at Aintree on Saturday, December 8th 2018. This year's renewal is highly anticipated and has garnered 58 entries. Run over the Grand National fences, this is a race that can often predict those that will do well in the Grand National itself.
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There are seven races on the card with the first due to start at 11.55am. Clearly the Becher Chase will be the highlight of the day. The 58 entries will get whittled down next week so final confirmation of the line-up is not yet available. However, the weights have been allocated and Don Poli is top weight on 11-12.
There's plenty of familiar names on the list with 2017 National winner One For Arthur hoping to take his chances on a weight of 11-06. Blaklion, The Last Samuri, Vieux Lion Rouge, Baie Des Iles and Vicente are also in the mix.
But coming out on top, as far as the odds area concerned, is Abolitionist. Trained and owned by Dr Richard Newland, there has been a lot of excitement about this horse. In fact, quite a few are already tipping him for the 2019 Grand National. With 19 chases under his belt, he has won or placed in 11 of them. He won the Pertemps Hurdle last time out at Aintree on November 10th. He was also third in the Irish Grand National in 2017. For the Becher Chase he is as short as 7/1 ante-post.
Another short in the betting is Ballyoptic. The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained 8 year old, is higher in the weights and looks set to carry 11-07 if he runs. The Becher Chase will be his seasonal debut but he finished on good form back in April with second place in the Scottish Grand National. He was also fourth in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, in March.
Ordinarily the horses with the lower weights tend to do better in the Becher. Blaklion's win last year, carrying 11-06, was the exception rather than the rule. However, that is because the weather is usually terrible and the going is often ‘Heavy'. That takes its toll and so a lower weight is preferable.
I think that The Young Master, Ms Parfois, Abolitionist and Captain Redbeard could run solid races if things go their way on the day.