Becher Chase Trends

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THE BECHER CHASE

The Becher Chase is a Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase held at Aintree, over a distance of about 3 miles and 2 furlongs where there are twenty-one fences to be jumped. But not just any fences, as this race is run over the same obstacles as Aintree's more popular and much more famous race – the Grand National, with the Becher serving as an early-season trial for that event.

One of the obstacles jumped is called Becher's Brook named in memory of a man called Martin Becher. The Becher Chase was established back in 1992, when a new race meeting was introduced at Aintree. For the twenty years prior to this, the Grand National meeting had been the venue's only horse racing fixture of the year.

Two winners have gone on to win the Grand National; Amberleigh House and Silver Birch. Earth Summit also won the race in 1998, having won the Grand National the previous April. Let’s study some key trends for this year’s renewal.

TRENDS:

Weight is important in any handicap, but in a contest over the national fences, it is considered even more testing, so with minimal weight comes maximal opportunity. 12 of the last 16 winners had carried 10st 12 or less, and were officially rated between 123 and 138. 11 of the last 16 winners had also run over these Grand National-style fences before.

Similarly, to the Tingle Creek, this could be the first or second chance of the new season for these specialist horses to return to the track – there was a Cross Country trial at Cheltenham. 12 of the last 16 winners had no more than one start that season, and this bodes well for the likes of Blaklion and Ballyoptic who currently head the betting. 11 of the last 16 winners were also aged 9 or older.

Paul Nicholls has had three winners in the race since the turn of the century, but none since 2007. Nigel Twiston-Davies, who is well represented in this renewal, has also won the race three times in the last sixteen years, and six times since 1993. Favourites do not have a great record with just four victors in the last 16 years, and only an extra three finishing in the places. Nine of the last 19 victors returned a double-figure price in the betting, with an overall average SP of 11/1.

PREVIOUS WINNERS:

2008 Black Apalachi

2009 Vic Venturi

2010 Hello Bud

2011 West End Rocker

2012 Hello Bud

2013 Chance Du Roy

2014 Oscar Time

2015 Highland Lodge

2016 Vieux Lion Rouge

2017 Blaklion

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