Sprinter Sacre may have hung up his hooves but The Champion Chase market has been nothing short of a soap opera this week. Rumours of Douvan coming over from Ireland were almost cruelly dashed today with the announcement that his stable mate, Un De Sceaux, will be partaking instead. No doubt, many anti-post backers of Douvan will be scratching their heads and comparing their plight to that of this year’s election pollster industry: future predicting is indeed a risky business!
Meanwhile, a potentially exciting three-way dual between Un De Sceaux, Ar Mad and the back to form Sire De Grugy is on the cards for the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown this Saturday. Despite being soundly beaten twice in succession last season by the retired Sprinter Sacre, Un De Sceaux is still a force to be reckoned with and with Ruby Walsh set to take the ride, he should take all the beating. The opposition is simply not strong enough to mount a serious challenge.
National Hunt fans would have been delighted to see 2014 Champion Chase hero Sire De Grugy bounce back with a hard fought win in a tight handicap at Ascot 2 weeks ago. He had an indifferent season last year and this latest win, carrying 11st 12 and giving weight all round, gives an indication that he is at least back on track. He will need to improve considerably to give Un De Sceaux something to think about but is worth calculating into the forecast option.
Ar Mad is looking very unexposed, having been very lightly raced since impressively winning the Henry VIII Novices Chase at the same time last year at Sandown. He bypassed The Arkle at Cheltenham due to injury and now makes his first appearance since February this year. I would be slightly cautious regarding his chances and would definitely favour his stablemate, Sire de Grugy, in the forecast option given the latter’s established recent form and fitness, not to mention his experience. God’s Own, stepping back to 2 miles (5/1 most firms) always runs a solid race but will probably find the prominent horses too classy for him on the day.
Summing up therefore, this looks like a decent medium stake straight forecast bet option on Un De Sceaux to beat Sire De Grugy. For the more gung ho, backers of Un De Sceaux should head for SkyBet or Paddy Power where he is best priced at 15/8. If you think Sire De Grugy can step up from his Ascot win, he is best priced at Coral for 7/2.
The Becher Chase at Aintree
So whilst the Grade One 2 milers are battling it out in SW London, there is plenty to get excited about up in Merseyside as the Grand National hopefuls present us with a hugely exciting beating heat in the shape of the £140,000 Becher Handicap Chase. Run over 3miles and 1 furlong, it is essentially ¾ of a full Grand National although perhaps surprisingly, past runnings have only produced 2 winners of the main event in April. I’ve selected two to consider..
Alvarado fits the right profile
Race favourite The Last Samurai did not look too convincing on his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal earlier this month, and despite finishing 2nd in this year’s Grand National behind Rule The World, he has to give weight away all round. Still, 12/1 with SkyBet has to be considered for an each-way, especially with their usual generous place promotions (nothing confirmed at time of writing). However, this race has often favoured older experienced horses (3 winners aged 12 and over in the last 6 runnings) carrying gentle weights: Alvarado seems to fit this profile and has been placed in two Grand Nationals. He stayed on very well up the hill at Cheltenham last time out (12th November) and will certainly come on for this run. He can be grabbed at 10/1 with Sporting Bet, Coral and Ladbrokes.
Flying value with Rogue Angel?
For those looking for value, The Irish Grand National winner Rogue Angel, trained by Mouse Morris, is being flown over from Ireland for this race and is entered for the Aintree Grand National. His trainer reports that his 8 year old is back to his best after his first two runs this season and stays, jumps well and shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the Aintree fences (2). At 25/1 with most firms, this is surely one speculative each way chance that shouldn’t be ignored!
- The Tingle Creek Chase, 15.00 Sandown, Saturday:
- The Betfred Becher Handicap Chase, 13.35 Aintree, Saturday:
Good luck on the Becher and Tingle Creek!