We may not have had a Grand National this year but we will have a Becher Chase. It takes place at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday 5th December at 1.30pm. Better still, the entries are in and there are quite a few Grand National hopefuls among them.
This is the first real trial for the 2021 Grand National. Although the race is only over the distance of three miles and two furlongs, six furlongs less than the big event in April, it is seen by many as a huge trial for the race.
That is because the race is run at Aintree, over the Grand National fences, giving some horses more experience and others their first taste of those fences.
The obvious starting point here is Walk In The Mill who has won this race for the last two years. He was also fourth in the Grand National in 2019 and connections had hoped he could do even better in 2020. But we all know how that turned out!
This is a horse that really knows his way around Aintree. Despite this, he is not the ante-post favourite for the Becher Chase. Instead, that is the Tom Lacey trained Kimberlite Candy. Running in the JP McManus colours, the eight-year-old finished two and a half lengths behind Walk In The Mill 12 months ago.
Trainer Lacey said: “He’ll go for the Becher Chase, he’s in great nick, we’re really pleased with him.
“I’d have to refresh my memory, I think he went up for winning the Classic Chase and then he got another 2lb when The Conditional won at the Festival. That leaves him several pounds higher than he was going into the Becher Chase last season.”
So with such positivity coming from the yard, it’s no wonder Kimberlite Candy is the current ante-post favourite. He’s a general 7/1 to win the Becher.
Elsewhere Vintage Clouds could be back at Aintree for the Becher. At the start of the year, trainer Sue Smith had more or less ruled out Vintage Clouds going to the National. However, owner Trevor Hemmings wanted the chaser to have a go so he did get an entry. Could his run in December be a clue that the 2021 Grand National is on the cards for the grey?
Personally, I’ve always had a feeling that Ramses De Teillee would run a great Grand National at some point. He ran but pulled up in 2019, however, he was only 7-years-old and horses that young have a terrible record over the Aintree fences.
More than a year on and with seven additional races under his belt, he is starting to come into his own. He won last time out at the November Cheltenham meeting, beating Yala Enki by a head. That improves his record to eight wins or places from 13 chase starts.
Odds For The Becher Chase 2020
As with any major race, odds are available well in advance. They are of course still antepost so if you place a bet and your horse doesn’t win then you lose your money. That said, the odds are generally higher so there is better value to be had.
As mentioned above, Kimberlite Candy is the favourite on a general 7/1. Two-time winner Walk In The Mill is next in line on a general 8/1. Yala Enki, Ramses De Teillee and Calett Mad are all next on 10/1 with Paddy Power.
There were 36 entries for 2020. However, this race has a maximum number of runners set at 30 and historically only about 18 actually run. So that means at least half of those quoted won’t start. So it would be wise to hold off for a couple of weeks as the entries get whittled down.
As the field narrows those in with a good chance will start to stand out. The odds may fall, but you will have an easier time picking a winner.