From the 36 that were entered into the 2020 Becher Chase, just 17 remain. The race is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 5th at 1.30pm at Aintree Racecourse. Seen as a decent precursor to the Grand National 2021, there are some notable entries left in contention, many of whom we would expect to see taking their National chances next April.
Though 17 are left, and this is generally the number that run in the race every year, not all are guaranteed to start. Weather will play a huge part in the decision. At the moment the going is classed as ‘soft’. However, there is a cold snap due to hit the country tomorrow bringing with it freezing temperatures.
Hopefully, this won’t impact Aintree too much but if the ground changes then some of the runners may get withdrawn. Those most likely to run are the ones with booked jockeys.
Booked Becher Chase Jockeys
First up on Yala Enki, the highest weighted horse in the handicapped chase, is Bryony Frost. Initially, Black Corton was also being considered for the Becher and as she usually pairs with both, the choice would have been tricky.
But Yala Enki is the option most likely to also go to the 2021 Grand National so the Becher Chase will be a good test of his ability to get around the fences. Yala Enki was narrowly beaten by Ramses De Teillee at Cheltenham on November 15th. Will we see a repeat on Saturday in the Becher?
They will have to better one of the race favourites, Kimberlite Candy if they want to reign victorious. Trained by Tom Lacey, Kimberlite Candy will be paired with jockey Richie McLernon. McLernon typically rides for JP McManus horses so the choice is not surprising.
James Best will be back again on Walk In The Mill. The duo has already notched up two Becher Chase wins and were fourth in the 2019 National. Despite this, they are not the race favourites. That goes to the Ben Pauling trained Le Breuil.
He will be paired with jockey Keilan Woods. This is a relatively new partnership with Woods only riding Le Breuil once before. That was their last time out at Kelso in October where they finished fourth.
Bear in mind though that there were only four finishers in that race and despite being rallied along two out, made no impression. Connections are clearly hoping for a better performance on Saturday.
At the time of writing this, only two other jockeys have been confirmed. They are Brian Hughes on Joe Farrell for trainer Rebecca Curtis and Harry Bannister on Smooth Stepper.
2020 Race Odds
As I’ve mentioned, Le Breuil is the current antepost race favourite on odds of 9/2. He goes back and forth with Kimberlite Candy who is also on short odds of 5/1.
Slightly better value can be had further down the field on the betting market. Walk In The Mill is still low at 11/2 but he does have two previous wins in the race to back it up. Yala Enki and Ramses De Teillee are both on 8/1. Not huge odds but they could still give you a decent return if either of them win on Saturday.
The dozen runners in our Veterans' Handicap Chase had a combined age of 130 and served up quite a treat. It was Minellacelebration (15/2) who surged clear under Ben Poste for trainer Katy Price. The winner clearly enjoys the Merseyside air as it was his third Aintree win. pic.twitter.com/Ob3OFJ4a3q
— Aintree Racecourse (@AintreeRaces) October 25, 2020
The longest odds for the Becher are for Double Shuffle and Calipso Collonges, both of whom are on 25/1. Otherwise the bulk of the runners are priced between 10/1 and 20/1.
There are however, still some doubts over the participation of some of the runners. For instance, connections of Minellacelebration had been leaving heavily towards a run in the Becher. Trainer Katy Price also entered her charge into the Many Clouds Chase, due to take place on Saturday at Aintree.
With the daunting prospect of coming up against Native River, Frodon and Santini, Minellacelebration was being leaned towards the Becher. However, jockey Ben Poste has been booked for Minella in the Many Clouds Chase leaving a question mark over the Becher.
We still have a couple of days until the race and final declarations are yet to be made. So until then, we will have to wait and see who pitches up for the 2020 Becher Chase!