A tremendous days racing in store on Saturday with the undoubted highlight being the reappearance of the majestic Sprinter Sacre. He should win the Tingle Creek under little pressure. The Becher Chase takes centre stage up at Aintree and it is always a spectacle to see horses over the national fences.
Captain Conan looks the one they all have to beat in the Grade One Henry VIII Novices Chase at Sandown. However, at the prices I am willing to take him on with the 4 year old Hinterland. He made an impressive chase debut at Chepstow before fading into a distant second at Exeter, where the extra 2f may have found him out. Back over the minimum trip and in receipt of weight he is likely to go close.
Sprinter Sacre is potentially one of the greatest chasers of all time and his remarkable season last year culminated with both a Champion Chase a Maghull Chase victory. However, like Captain Conan is no sort of price to the each way punter. He is likely to put in a scintillating performance that will get people excited about his prospects of a second Champion Chase. He does take on the smart Sanctuaire from the Paul Nicholls’ yard. Given there are just the seven runners each way betting is limited in its appeal. However, at the prices Doeslessthanme looks worth a small interest in case either of the big two falter.
The Becher Chase (2-10 Aintree) is one of the most exciting races of the season and a stellar field assemble for the valuable handicap. 2011 Grand National hero Ballabriggs is allocated top weight and is excellent over these fences, but his likely target is the big one in April. Given the heavy underfoot conditions this could turn into a real slog and I wouldn’t want a horse with too much weight. Hello Bud is always to be feared around this course but is getting rather long in the tooth now. Providing he handles the ground (appears best on a sounder surface) Poker De Sivola has a great chance at 20/1. The winner of the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown seems to handle these big field chases and his trainer is likely to have him primed for one of these valuable races.
Aintree Selections: Trumpet Voluntary 12-00, Arley Hall 12-35, Wayward Prince 1-05, Catch The Fire 1-35, Poker De Sivola 2-10, Secret Edge 2-45 and Little Josh 3-20
Chepstow Selections: Toby Lerone 12-25, Maringo Bay 1-00, Lost Legend 1-30, Royal Charm 2-05, Brough Academy 2-40, Triptico 3-15 and Fling Me 3-45
Sandown Selections: Golden Hoof 12-20, Tempest River 12-55, Topolski 1-25, Hinterland 1-55, Rajamand 2-30, Doeslessthanme 3-05 and Lively Baron 3-40