Willie Mullins double-handed in Saturday’s Becher Chase
The Becher Chase has attracted a field of 24 runners on Saturday including a host of familiar names. Willie Mullins is looking to visit these shores more often this season and has two leading contenders in On His Own and Vesper Bell.
On His Own has been strongly fancied for the last two runnings of the Grand National but has failed to complete the course. He looked to be going as well as anything when falling at Becher’s Brook second time around in 2012 but was fading when departing at the 25th this year.
The shorter trip may be in his favour and he has been kept busy over hurdles in preparation for this race. His stable companion Vesper Bell was caught close home by leading Welsh National fancy Goonyella at Punchestown in April and will appreciate any rain that falls.
Henry de Bromhead’s eleven-year-old Sizing Australia completes the Irish challenge whilst there are several other veterans in the line-up. Baby Run won the 2011 Foxhunters Chase over the National fences and is set to make his seasonal debut at the age of thirteen.
Swing Bill, Big Fella Thanks, Roberto Goldback and Planet Of Sound are also reaching the autumn of their careers and have all tackled the National fences before. Donald McCain relies on Across The Bay who led the field for a long way before fading in this year’s race, although he did well to recover from an early mistake and being carried wide by a loose horse.
David Pipe’s Junior was an expensive failure in the National two years ago and appeared to take a dislike to the big fences. He is set to carry top weight of 11st 12lb but would not want the going to deteriorate.
The grey Walkon was second to Hennessy winner Triolo D’Alene in the Topham Chase last season whilst Join Together represents the powerful Paul Nicholls stable. The Grand National winning combination of Sue Smith team up again with outsider Mr Moonshine whilst owner JP McManus will be hoping for an improved display from Wyck Hill.