Mama Cass introduces today’s Preview, which covers the top class racing from Aintree and Sandown.
Main event at Liverpool is the Unibet Becher Handicap Chase at 2.40 which sees 22 hopefuls tackling the National fences, chasing a first prize of £84 grand.
Our main pick is Henry de Bromhead‘s Irish trained raider Chris’s Dream, which is the class act in the race and was last seen unseating its rider at the fourth last in the ‘big ‘un’, when still going well.
Lack of a recent run shouldn’t be a problem with this yard and we advise an each way bet at 8-1.
We have respect for the market leader Snow Leopardess, which has been targeted at this race and gets in the weights courtesy of an easy win at Bangor three weeks ago. At 11-2, t’would be wimpy to go each way, so we recommend a modest win tickle.
Finally, we must have a bit each way on another Irish challenger, Tout Est Permis, which is entitled to bustle up our main selection on Down Royal form last October. 16-1 is available on this one.
Televised action starts at 1.30 with a Listed hurdle for juveniles, which is full of Irish trained horses and a race to leave alone.
On, therefore, to the Unibet Many Clouds Chase at 2.05, which has Native River installed as favourite after winning this race two years ago and finishing third in it last year. We think, eventually, time will catch up with this horse, which turns 12 in a few weeks time and suggest, instead, a win bet on Imperial Aura.
Kim Bailey‘s 8-y-o has often threatened to climb to the very top over fences and never quite got there but we must give it one more chance today at 7-2.
The Unibet Handicap Hurdle at 3.15 has a field of 15 and we think the favourite will win it. (sorry, boring we know, but a winner is a winner)
Tamar Bridge ran away with a Class 3 Novice hurdle at Wetherby at the end of October, giving weight away and the handicapper’s stab at a rating looks generous at 128. Take the 5-2 offered.
One horse in the field which could outrun its odds is Highway One O Two, trained by the essentially lovable Chris Gordon. Winner of a Listed hurdle last year and with signs of returning to that kind of form recently, 25-1 looks too big and we are unable to resist.
Over to Sandown now and we need to be brief, otherwise racing will have started before you receive our jottings.
We hope the Skeltons are in for a good day, starting with Third Time Lucki (don’t you just hate that spelling?) in the Henry V111 Novices’ Chase at 1.50. Dan‘s 6-y-o is unbeaten over fences and could jump this field in to the ground. A win bet at 9-4.
The Tingle Creek at 2.25 has Chacun Pour Soi as odds on fav, but, on home soil as it were, we take Nube Negra to turn it over at 7-2.
We are two against the field in the Betfair National Handicap Chase at 3.00, suggesting a win bet on Deise Aba at 100-30 and an each way bash on Salty Boy at 11-2.
Finally to the Betfair Handicap Hurdle at 3.35, in which we hope that Benson can repeat its victory of last year after a decent prep run at Cheltenham. We suggest a win bet at 4-1.
Time to go – bon chance.
Chris’s Dream 2.40 Aintree 1.5pts e/w @ 8-1 (7 places Hills/Skybet)
Snow Leopardess 2.40 Aintree 2pts win @ 11-2 (7 places Hills/Skybet)
Tout Est Permis 2.40 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (7 places Hills/Skybet)
Imperial Aura 2.05 Aintree 2pts win @ 7-2
Tamar Bridge 3.15 Aintree 3pts win @ 5-2
Highway One O Two 3.15 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 25-1 (5 places Skybet)
Third Time Lucki 1.50 Sandown 3pts win @ 9-4
Nube Negra 2.25 Sandown 2pts win @ 7-2
Deise Aba 3.00 Sandown 2pts win @ 100-30
Salty Boy 3.00 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (4 places Hills/Skybet)
Benson 3.35 Sandown 2pts win @ 4-1