Rathlin Ready For Topham Triumph
Friday’s Topham Chase over the Aintree National fences at 4.05pm could throw up a juicy priced winner, seeing as the market is currently 8/1 the field.
Philip Hobbs’ Village Vic is the horse heading the market having already won a couple of valuable handicaps at Cheltenham, though his mark has shot up to 156, suggesting he’ll need to improve if defying the trends of this race…
Topham Chase Trends
Of the last 10 Topham winners…
10 ran in a handicap last time
10 were non-winners last time
9 were non-favourites
9 won at least one handicap chase
8 were officially rated 128-141
P Bowen & N Henderson had 4 winners apiece
Irish Eyes On The Prize
Empire Of Dirt has also won two big prizes this term, including at Cheltenham last month, though once again, Colm Murphy’s 9yo will need to improve if defying a mark of 151.
The Irish will also be represented by Willie Mullins’ Turban (rated 150), who has been supported into 14/1 this week. This 9yo arrives on the back of two creditable efforts, but was a faller in this race 12 months ago and will need to produce a better round of jumping.
As for those at the right end of the handicap, then Killer Crow (10/1) has decent credentials having finished only 2l behind Empire Of Dirt in January, prior to a creditable seventh (of 27) in last weekend’s Irish Grand National. He may need some rain to be at his best, unlike last year’s third in this race, Rathlin (14/1).
Rathlin To Swap Bronze For Gold?
Micky Hammond’s 11yo has taken a while to find full fitness this season, but finally took advantage of a falling handicap mark when striking at Ayr last month.
Rathlin will be 9lb lower than last year and looks excellent each-way value on ground that will suit.
Minella Reception will also like the forecast good ground and lines-up in fine fettle having been touched off in a handicap at Sandown last month (2m4f, soft). With a record of 2-5 over fences, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ 10yo is still unexposed in this sphere and looks well priced at 16/1.
Also unexposed is David Pipe’s 7yo, La Vaticane (20/1), who is 3-6 over fences having won a handicap at Wincanton by 23l last month (2m4f, soft). The blinkers did the trick on that occasion and it will be interesting if they work the oracle once more.
Topham No.5 For Henderson?
A mention also goes to Cocktails At Dawn (16/1), whose trainer, Nicky Henderson, has won this an impressive four times during the last 10 years. Winner of a decent novices handicap in these conditions at Sandown last spring (2m4f), he has not been seen since November, but may have been waiting for this ground.
Minella Reception will love the ground, but is prone to mistakes, giving preference to Rathlin, who is 9lb lower than when third in this last year and has hit form just at the right time.
*Prices correct at time of publication