- Back Theatre Territory to Win at 7/1 with BetStars
- Back Rock The Kasbah Each-Way at 14/1 with William Hill
Can Blaklion do it again? Well the Becher Chase betting certainly seems to think so with the defending champ vying for favouritism.
His rival at the head of the betting in the Aintree handicap is Scottish Grand National runner-up Ballyoptic, Theatre Territory also fancied, as well as last year's Becher Chase second The Last Samuri.
It is the first big test of the season for Grand National hopefuls, Silver Birch and Amberleigh House winning it on route to their glorious April wins, so it's no surprise to see General Principle
Becher Chase Preview
The Becher Chase is a Grade 2 handicap run over Aintree's unique Grand National fences. It's open to horses aged five or older and run over a distance of 3m2f, Grand National hopefuls jumping 21 of the National fences.
Blaklion, the comfortable nine-length winner last year, returns to defend his title and has been the subject of good money all week. Odds of 13/2 are currently available with Betfair's Sportsbook if you’re quick off the mark as he looks like going off the favourite.
If he doesn't, Ballyoptic will. Blaklion's Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained stablemate was last seen when a nose second in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr, having signed off his novice chasing career with fourth to Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy at the Cheltenham Festival.
The eight-year-old has won over 3m over fences and appears to handle any going, often performing well fresh, as many of his stablemates do. He vyes for favouritism in the Becher Chase betting, also priced at no bigger than 13/2 (William Hill).
Becher Chase Favourites Record
Just six Becher Chase favourites have made it into the winner’s circle since 1992 - Young Hustler (1995), Young Kenny (2000), Silver Birch (2004),Hello Bud (2010), Vieux Lion Rouge (2016) and last year Blaklion was a well-backed 7/4 winner.
This mini Grand National has also thrown up some big-priced winners too – former National winner Amberleigh House won this at 33/1 in 2001, while Garvivonnian (33/1) and Eurotrek (25/1) swelled the bookmaker’s satchels in 2005 and 2006. Oscar Time (25/1) and Highland Lodge (20/1) are the most recent victors at longer odds, taking the spoils in 2014 and 2015.
Becher Chase 2018 Tips
Topham third Theatre Territory is owned by Robert Waley-Cohen and will be ridden by his son Sam. Aintree aficionados will need no reminder as to Sam Waley-Cohen’s amazing record at the Merseyside track.
Together, the Cohen’s have won the Topham Chase twice with Rajdhani Express and Liberthine and they were victorious in the Becher Chase in 2014 with Oscar Time. Add to that Katarino's two victories in the Fox Hunters' Chase and you are looking at one formidable combination.
Those punters who wish to keep the faith again with the famous orange and brown colours of the Waley-Cohen’s will be rewarded with 7/1 with most of the online bookmakers.
Best Bet For Becher Chase
Owner Mrs Diana Whateley is no stranger to Aintree success with trainer Philip Hobbs and their latest offering, Rock The Kasbah (nap), is currently firing on all cylinders and must have a live chance in this Becher Chase field.
Raised 6lb to a mark of 153 for his recent BetVictor Gold Cup win at Cheltenham, the eight-year-old appears to be just hitting the pinnacle of his career and there should be plenty more success to come.
Rock The Kasbah boasts a 37.5% win strike rate and in those statistics it shows he is somewhat of a Chepstow specialist. Chepstow chase form has translated well to Aintree over the years (Earth Summit being a prime example) and he should not have any issues with the Grand National fences - 14/1 with William Hill looks a great each-way price.