Eider Victory Laid Out For Alpha
Considering Saturday’s Eider Chase at Newcastle (2.55pm) is staged over a marathon 4m1f, it may surprise punters to discover that those carrying most weight fared best.
Indeed, of the last eight winners of this historic handicap, each lumped 11st or more to victory, which could bode well for the current 7/1 favourite, Shotgun Paddy, who is set to carry top weight of 11st12lb.
Emma Lavelle’s 8yo was an impressive 6l winner of last season’s Classic Chase at Warwick (3m5f, soft), and arrives in decent form having been beaten 4l when when attempting to win the same race at Warwick last month off top weight.
Shotgun Paddy is expected to be thereabouts, as is Maurice Phelan’s Portrait King (9/1), who won the 2012 Eider off 11st8lb, and has been allocated an even kinder weight of 11st5lb this time around. The 10yo also lines-up having finished an excellent third (beaten just over 1l) in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown several weeks ago (3m3f, soft), and is just 2lb higher here.
Wyck Hill To Win Again?
Also among the big weights is Wyck Hill (10/1), who won this race 12 months from 11st and has 11st6lb in his defence. David Bridgwater’s 11yo is another who comes into the race having shown good form last time, via a 2l second over hurdles. That runner-up slot may also be a blessing based on past trends, as last time out winners tripped up here…
Of the last 8 Eider winners since 2003 (several renewals abandoned)…
8 carried 11st or more – others were 0-77
7 were officially rated 131 or higher
7 had 10 handicap chase runs or fewer – others were 1-44
7 were non-winners last time out – last time winners were only 1-25
5 ran during the last 20 days (17%) – others were 3-94 (3%)
It’s worth noting that runners with a recent spin did well in the Eider, which could be a good sign for Broadway Buffalo (10/1), who won the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock in November prior to falling when favourite in last weekend’s Grand National Trial at Haydock (3m5f, soft).
Alpha Victor (12/1) also ran only three weeks ago when a 2l runner-up over hurdles, and was beaten only 2l in last season’s Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter (4m1f, good to soft). This 10yo is 2lb lower on Saturday than that second, and looks to have been laid out for this prize.
Elsewhere, David Pipe’s Soll has been punted into 10/1 having won a decent 3m handicap for veterans a few weeks ago, but it was stated earlier the poor record of last time out winners in this race, which could also count against the likes of Knockanrawley (12/1), Monkerty Tunkerty (20/1) and Glenquest (16/1).
Plenty of in-form types face the starter for this strong renewal, including Alpha Victor, who boasts form in big staying chases and has the look of one laid out for this race following a prep over hurdles last time.