Chance Du Roy and Tartak primed for profitable Topham returns
A new name will be added to the Topham Chase annals this year, with three-timer consecutive winner Always Waining taking his chance in the Grand National instead. Nonetheless the Topham is very much a contest for repeat visitors, with seven of the last nine winners having taken part in the previous year’s renewal. Of the first eight home in last year’s race Chance Du Roy, Fistral Beach, Minella Theatre and Little Josh are all back for more in the absence of their conqueror.
Despite being comfortably beaten by Always Waining that day, Chance Du Roy and Fistral Beach finished some 10 lengths clear of the fourth and a further 14 lengths in front of the chasing pack.
Both return this year on friendly terms with the handicapper, carrying identical burdens to the ones they carried in last year’s Topham. It’s Groundhog Day for the latter, who returns to the race on the same official rating as last year, however Chance Du Roy is actually 2lb better off with his rivals than when talking the silver medal last year.
Rounding out that returnees foursome, Little Josh is 2lbs higher than last year and his last time out 79 length Cheltenham defeat is not encouraging enough, whilst Minella Theatre will race from more than a stone out of the handicap, if getting into the race at all.
Last year’s minor medal duo have sound claims but a note of caution about the weights they’ll carry should be sounded regardless – eight of the last 10 Topham winners carried less than 10st5lbs.
Nestled on the upper cusp of the “right” part of the handicap is another who competed in the race last year. Tartak broke a blood vessel on that run, but beat four home nonetheless.
Tartak finished third in the Byrne Group Plate at Cheltenham – a race which has provided two same season Topham winners in the last nine years – off 134 and runs off 4lbs lighter at Aintree.
That third was his best finish since he last won a race back in January 2011 off a mark of 149 he could be ready to run a big race at a track where he has been far from disgraced in Grade 1 company in the past, such as when posting a fourth in the Melling Chase won by Albertas Run in 2010.