Red-letter day for Vieux Lion Rouge in Becher Chase
Big day of racing on ITV
The Tingle Creek Chase from Sandown headlines an eight-race card on ITV this Saturday.
Ed Chamberlain and co. will kick things off at Aintree, where the Becher Chase is the highlight.
From then on there’s a race every 15-20 minutes as the jump season really moves into gear.
As always, the Coral News Team are on hand to guide you through a busy day of action in Surrey and on Merseyside.
Bet of the Day
The opening race of the day should see a titanic tussle between some of the stars of last year’s Grand National. Blaklion, The Last Samuri, Highland Lodge and As De Mee will all line up hoping to land the Becher Chase.
But for the Coral News Team, it’s Vieux Lion Rouge that gets the nod. The eight-year-old won this renewal last year against a number of Saturday’s opponents.
He’s a dab hand around this course and history shows that he should be able to handle the heavy ground too. Blaklion may be the favourite, but David Pipe’s mount has dealt with him before and come out on top.
One negative is that the French-bred raider will be racing from a 10lb higher mark than last year. But as a course specialist and game stayer, he gets the backing to become only the third dual-winner of the Becher Chase.
North Hill Harvey to upset the odds
Five runners are set to go to post for the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at 1:45. While Brain Power and Finian’s Oscar are the favourites, the Coral News Team think there’s plenty of value to be had in North Hill Harvey.
Dan Skelton’s mount has defied the odds to leave two favourites trailing in his wake already this season. At Cheltenham, he beat Sceau Royal by a neck. Then, in the Arkle Trophy Trial, he sprung a shock to see off River Wylde by 18l.
This will be a tougher task for the novice chaser, but there’s no reason why he can’t mount a serious challenge here. Brain Power was not pushed when landing his maiden, while Finian’s Oscar will have to deal with a hefty drop in trip.
On that basis, the son of Kayf Tara has strong claims at enticing odds as he bids to maintain his unbeaten start over fences.
Southfield Theatre to put on a show
The London National Handicap Chase is a wide-open affair. And that presents an opportunity for runners at a handy price. Southfield Theatre is one particular fancy who falls into that category.
Paul Nicholls’ eight-year-old stayed well into fourth at Wincanton last month. That was in Listed company. In Class 2 company here, he could have more joy.
He’ll certainly be right amongst it if the ground remains the same, he’s four from six when the going is good-to-soft. The Irish-bred raider has also placed in a quarter of his chase appearances, including when second behind Don Poli in the 2015 RSA Chase.
At a generous price, Southfield Theatre is certainly one worth backing on each-way terms at the very least.
1:30 Aintree – Vieux Lion Rouge
1:45 Sandown – North Hill Harvey
2:05 Aintree – Malaya
2:20 Sandown – Fidux
2:35 Aintree – Alpha Des Obeaux
2:55 Sandown – Fox Norton
3:10 Aintree – Gas Line Boy
3:30 Sandown – Southfield Theatre (each-way)
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.