Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 15:27 05/12/2014
A record 25 horses are set to go to post for tomorrow's Becher Chase at Aintree and it is hard to imaging a more difficult puzzle to solve than the 3m 2f contest run over the famous Grand National fences but there is plenty of value to be gained with bookmaker Skybet
going five places as well as offering to refund losing stakes on the second, third, fourth and fifth horses as a free bet.
Last year's winner Chance Du Roy has to be on anyones short list especially as the Philip Hobbs-trained ten-year-old went on to finish a creditable sixth in the Crabbie's Grand National back in April and the mount of Tom O'Brien is due to run off a 2lb lower mark compared to when beaten 19 lengths by Pineau De Re in the world's most famous steeplechase. Other stalwarts over the big fences such as Mr Moonshine, Across The Bay and Shakalaboomboom are all capable of going well in a race that suits horses with a proven track record but it is the two Paul Nicholls runners who make most appeal, namely Just A Par and Mon Parrain.
The former was a decent novice last season finishing seventh in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and ran well on his seasonal reappearance in Wincanton's Badger Ales Trophy. The lightly-raced seven-year-old can be expected to improve significantly with that race under his belt and looks far from harshly treated racing off a mark of 141. Narrowly beaten by Hennessy winner Many Clouds over hurdles the mount of Nick Scolfield is surely capable of making his mark as a chaser and providing the son of Island House takes to the fences looks sure to run a big race.
Nicholls' other runner Mon Parrain has aleady had a taste of the fences when finding only Always Waining too good in the 2011 Topham Chase and despite missing most of 2012 and 2013 the Trempolino gelding is still only an eight-year-old with few miles on the clock and showed he is no back number when running out a game winner at Cheltenham's April meeting. Like most of the Nicholls' horses the ex-French Mon Parrain needed his first run of the season back in October but should be spot-on for a race he is likely to have been targeted at for some time and is sure to give jockey Ryan Mahon a fine ride.