Pazham To Work Magic For Twiston-Davies
Punters are in for a real treat on Saturday when Aintree’s famous Grand National fences will be in effect for the mouth-watering Becher Chase (1.40pm).
Trip Too Short For Goonyella?
A competitive field always turns up for this big handicap, and heading this year’s betting is Tom Dreaper’s Goonyella (7/1). This 8yo was unseated at the first in last year’s renewal, but went onto land the Midlands National, prior to his runner-up slot in the Scottish National (4m1f). The only concern is the step back to 3m, but he looks sure to be thereabouts.
Also among the leading fancies is Algernon Pazham (8/1), who lined-up for this with a reappearance second in a similar handicap at Bangor last month (3m, soft).
This 6yo’s front-running style will be ideal for keeping out of trouble, and Nigel Twiston-Davies has won this race twice since 2010.
Algernon Pazham is also in the right section of the official ratings from a mark of 142, based on past renewals of this handicap…
Becher Chase Trends
Of the last 10 winners…
10 had a 16-day or longer rest
9 were officially rated 130-148
9 had yet to win a Class 2 chase
P Nicholls won it three times, N Twiston-Davies twice
Nicholls Relies On Unioniste
With Paul Nicholls having also won this race several times, Unioniste (8/1) has to be respected as his only runner in the race, though he’ll need to improve off top-weight here, following his fall in April’s National (Soll was ninth).
One who could be heading back here in the spring for the National is Sandra Hughes’ Thunder And Roses (8/1) who took last season’s Irish National. Given a warm-up over hurdles last month, it will be interesting to see how he takes to these fences.
Pineau De Re Back At Aintree
Another who knows his way around here is the 2014 Grand National winner, Pineau De Re (9/1), who is 2lb lower than when landing the famous race and blew the cobwebs away when runner-up at Sandown last month.
Also on a good mark is Sue Smith’s No Planning (12/1) a five-time winner over chases, including over this trip last year from a mark of 137. This 8yo served notice his turn could be near when third from 139 last month, and has been dropped 2lb.
Tom George’s Saint Are (8/1) doesn’t look as well treated, but does handle these fences, as was demonstrated when third in this race 12 months ago from a 21lb lower mark. On that basis, he needs to improve. Back in eighth 12 months ago was Highland Lodge (33/1), who is 7lb lower on Saturday and could make the frame.
Canvas To Floor Rivals?
Each-way punters may also want to consider Dermot McLoughlin’s Vics Canvas (10/1) who was third in last season’s Paddy Power at Leopardstown, prior to a second in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. Given a prep when down the field at Haydock a few weeks ago, Vics Canvas should be cherry-ripe on Saturday.
Plenty to choose from in a wide-open renewal, but Nigel Twiston-Davies has a good record in the race and relies on Algernon Pazham, who could go well if taking to these fences.
*Prices correct at time of publication