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Rowleyfile Preview: Becher Chase

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Simon Rowlands analyses the key trends for Saturday's Becher Chase at Aintree and advises a bet.

Much has changed in horseracing since Captain Becher got decanted into a brook at Aintree in the 1839 Grand National, ensuring the naming of the iconic Becher’s Brook fence and more recently the Becher Chase (13:30).

After the experience, Becher reportedly observed that he hadn’t realised how filthy water tasted without the benefits of whisky. Top early-Victorian banter.

What has not changed entirely is that “jumping” remains the name of the game, not least on the Grand National course, despite modifications. In the last 10 editions of the Becher Chase itself, 25% of starters have fallen/unseated or similar and 19% have been pulled up.

Simply getting round is a major consideration where Saturday’s William Hill-sponsored event is concerned, then. There is an article elsewhere on this site which looks at the race using Timeform’s unique “jumpability” ratings and I urge you to read it.

It is also worth considering the trends given that this is a race that has become firmly established since its first running in 1992. This is what the ten-year ones say, with % of rivals beaten being the most meaningful measure as usual.


The shortage of significant trends is of note in itself. There is no customary bias towards younger horses – with jumping experience at a higher premium than usual – nor towards last-time winners. Indeed, last-time winners have performed poorly on every measure.

At the same time, last-time fallers/unseated etc have won more than twice as often as by chance and doubled each-way investments at Starting Price, though that is quite a small sample. Perhaps fortunately, given the mixed messages involved, there are no such qualifiers this year.

There is a slight bias towards lighter-weighted horses, a bigger one towards horses making their reappearances, and a very healthy return for horses rated within 2 lb of top on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings. That last cohort has won half the available races from just 18.5% of the representation.

Put all those elements together and it rather looks as if anything could win, which is true, of course. However, I do think that KIMBERLITE CANDY has a pretty good chance, and here is why.

Still an eight-year-old, he has had little racing of late, being aimed at the Grand National that never was at this course in April after a runaway win in the Classic Chase at Warwick in January, and he was one of the stronger fancies for that event until coronavirus intervened.

One of the reasons he was so well fancied was that he has form over these fences, having finished second to Walk In The Mill in this race 12 months ago. He is 8 lb worse off with that rival (who is going for a Becher hat-trick here), but Warwick clearly showed that Kimberlite Candy was progressing rapidly. Timeform’s handicappers reckon both horses have leading chances.

Unlike Walk In The Mill, Kimberlite Candy does not have a recent race under his belt, but that has been anything other than a disadvantage over the years, as we have seen, and trainer Tom Lacey is a dab hand at getting one ready off a break.

Conditions promise to be more testing than they were this time last year, and that should suit Kimberlite Candy, also, on what we know. At around 490 yards, the Aintree Grand National run-in is second only to Cartmel (around 800 yards) in length among British racecourses. Not just jumping but staying is the name of the game here.

As always, it is important to bet in the right way as well as on the right horse. I cannot guarantee that Kimberlite Candy is the latter, but 15 declared runners do mean that this handicap is marginally better tackled from a win-only than an each-way point of view.

The best-price win book at the time of writing is 129% (you would have to stake a total of £129 in proportion to each of the runner’s win odds to guarantee a return of £100 whatever the result) but 126% per-place. Each way splits the difference.

That assumes conventional terms of one quarter the win odds for three places, but it may be possible to boost the attractiveness of an each-way option by shopping around. Hopefully, Kimberlite Candy will render such considerations unnecessary.

Recommendation:

1 pt win KIMBERLITE CANDY at 6/1

 
 

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WOLVERHAMPTON 18:10

Monday 08 March
3. LUCKY'S DREAM 116
Richard Kingscote silk Richard Kingscote
Ian Williams
2. MIDNIGHTS LEGACY 113
Martin Harley silk Martin Harley
Alan King
4. SWEET CELEBRATION (IRE) 112
Ben Curtis silk Ben Curtis
Marco Botti hot trainer
Go to full race

LATEST HORSE RACING RESULTS

17:20 LEOPARDSTOWN

1st Mr P. W. Mullins silk 5. DARK RAVEN (IRE) 5/23.5
2nd Mr Pat Taaffe silk 12. SILAS MARNER (IRE) 15/28.5
3rd Jordan Colin Gainford silk 8 8. FOREVER FRANKIE (IRE) 80/181
13 ran. NRs: 9 
FULL RESULT

17:10 HUNTINGDON

1st Aidan Coleman silk 14. HIDOR DE BERSY (FR) 18/119
2nd Richard Johnson silk 2 11. BRAGANZA BAY 17/29.5
3rd Tom Cannon silk nk 8. SAMI BEAR 40/141
T: Tom Symonds  
All 16 ran.
FULL RESULT

17:00 SEDGEFIELD

1st Henry Brooke silk 5. CONUNDRUM 22/123
2nd Conor O'Farrell silk 9. JEU DE MOTS (FR) 28/129
3rd Isabel Williams silk ¾ 12. CRACKLE LYN ROSIE 11/112
J: Henry Brooke  
13 ran. NRs: 1 
FULL RESULT

16:50 LEOPARDSTOWN

1st R. A. Doyle silk 4. MITCHOUKA (FR) 10/34.33jf
2nd P. Townend silk nk 3. LIVELOVELAUGH (IRE) 10/34.33jf
3rd Sean Flanagan silk 8. VALDIEU (FR) 22/123
J: R. A. Doyle  
14 ran. NRs: 5  6 
FULL RESULT

16:40 HUNTINGDON

1st Ciaran Gethings silk 7. MIDNIGHT MARY 9/110
2nd Jack Quinlan silk 1 9. GALACTIC POWER (IRE) 17/29.5
3rd Sean Bowen silk nk 2. JUST A DEAL 7/18
4th Sean Houlihan silk 12. HERE'S BINGO 16/117
All 17 ran.
FULL RESULT

16:30 SEDGEFIELD

1st Niall Moore silk 2. OXWICH BAY (IRE) 10/34.33
2nd Tom Midgley silk 6. PALIXANDRE (FR) 4/15
3rd Luca Morgan silk 2 4. UNAI (IRE) 5/23.5f
J: Niall Moore (10)  
All 8 ran.
FULL RESULT

16:20 LEOPARDSTOWN

1st M. P. Walsh silk 9. STEER CLEAR (IRE) 10/34.33
2nd K. J. Brouder silk 7 5. HESAMANOFHISWORD (IRE) 5/16
3rd Mr C. Abernethy silk 4. STANSFIELD (IRE) 5/16
J: M. P. Walsh  
All 9 ran.
FULL RESULT

16:05 HUNTINGDON

1st Tom Scudamore silk 5. COPPER COIN 7/18
2nd Stan Sheppard silk ½ 3. RISK AND ROLL (FR) 15/28.5
3rd Kielan Woods silk 5 8. DUBLIN FOUR (IRE) 9/25.5
8 ran. NRs: 9 
FULL RESULT

15:55 SEDGEFIELD

1st Thomas Dowson silk 1. ANOTHER THEATRE (IRE) 14/115
2nd Brian Hughes silk 4. IRISH ODYSSEY (IRE) 5/16
3rd Jordan Nailor silk 14 7. KALA NOIRE (IRE) 6/17
T: Philip Kirby  
All 9 ran.
FULL RESULT
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