Friday, December 02, 2022

The 2022 Becher Chase

Walking in amongst the weeds - and The Poddington Peas - at the bottom of our garden earlier this afternoon, I couldn't help but think this year's Becher Chase (2.05 Aintree) looks more difficult than ever.

Twenty three of the original twenty five five-day declarations stand their ground; the going on the Grand National course is currently described as good to soft, soft in places.

In the last twenty years only four horses have carried more than 11-00 to victory: Eurotrek (11-07 in 2006): Mr Pointment (11-05 in 2007); Vic Venturi (11-12 in 2009); and Blaklion (11-06 in 2017).

That particular stat may be a tad misleading. 

Last year Snow Leopardess (10-04) beat Hill Sixteen (10-00) a nose racing off a mark of 140 (Domaine De L'Isle fourth, Didero Vallis sixth). This year the mare goes off 146 yet carries 11-13. 

Sixteen runners have been allocated a weight greater than 11-00; Jack Foley's three pound claim means Captain Kangaroo will carry 10-13.

In the past twenty years only two horses younger than eight have come home in front, both seven-year-olds: Silver Birch in 2004; and Vieux Lion Rouge in 2016.

Below, a brief note on each runner - which may prove helpful but, more probably, will not - along with a tentative each-way suggestion.

De Rasher Counter

Brought the bacon home in the 2019 Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury. Unfortunate to unseat Adam Wedge at the Canal Turn in this year's National. Second behind Ramses De Teillee in Veterans' Chase at Warwick 17 days ago.

Francky Du Berlais

Trainer has a respectable record with runners over the National fences - won the Grand Sefton and the Topham with Mac Tottie last year. This has been the target since winning the Summer Plate at Market Rasen in July.

Snow Leopardess

Grey mare just held on to win this last year. Well fancied for the National but patently failed to handle the preliminaries - pulled up after a circuit. On seasonal debut slipped badly coming to first in Veterans' Chase won by Ramses De Teillee at Warwick. Pulled up after mistake at first.

Hill Sixteen

Just beaten in this last year. Third behind Sounds Russian at Kelso last time reads well (De Rasher Counter fifth). Sandy Thomson four wins from 12 runs last fortnight.


Ran well for a long way in the Grand National before unseating Hugh Nugent four from home. Some way behind Dr Kananga in hurdle race won by Maximilian three and a half weeks ago.

Recite A Prayer

Third behind stablemate Captain Kangaroo in the Cork Grand National last month. Trainer Willie Mullins won the Topham with Cadmium in 2019 and Livelovelaugh in 2021. 

The Jam Man

Irish raider found the going a bit sticky when meeting trouble in running behind Hewick in Galway Plate. Connections try first-time cheekpieces here.


Two wins at Lingfield last season; seventh behind Corach Rambler in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Stable won this with fourteen-year-old Hello Bud in 2012.

Cloth Cap

Pulled up abruptly three out when sent off favourite for the 2021 Grand National. Form fallen away since.

Dr Kananga

Front runner who has 'lesser' Nationals as legitimate targets. Second behind Maximilian in novice hurdle last time out should have put him spot on.

Ashtown Lad

Second behind Remastered in Pertemps Hurdle qualifier an excellent preparatory run (Remastered second behind Le Milos in Coral Gold Cup at Newbury last week). Short enough in market with only five chase starts to his name.

The Wolf

Trainer on record saying The Wolf is 'a very hard ride'.


Six-year-old only just failed to collar Al Dancer over these fences in the Grand Sefton four weeks ago. Not raced beyond two miles six and a half furlongs.

Correction. Gesskille won over three miles at Ludlow on 03.03.22. Updated 02.12.22 @ 23.15. 

Rapid Flight

Six-year-old Cartmel specialist. Stable won this with Highland Lodge in 2015.


Twelve-year-old not seen since pulled up behind Commodore at Cheltenham a year ago.

Captain Kangaroo

Plenty of spring in his step when winning the Cork Grand National four weeks ago. Stablemate of Recite A Prayer, trained by Willie Mullins. Jack Foley claims three pounds.


Ten length defeat of Remastered in Tommy Whittle at Haydock twelve months ago reads well. Stable won the 2020 Grand Sefton with Beau Bay and the 2014 Grand National with Pineau De Re.

Domaine De L'Isle

Fourth in this race last year. Unseated Harry Bannister at The Chair in the Grand National.

Five Star Getaway

Beat Fortescue at Kempton last December and then third behind Le Milos at Sandown in February before finishing well behind Mac Tottie over these fences in the Topham. Fourth in a handicap chase at Bangor on seasonal debut last month looks a good preparatory run. First try beyond three miles.   

Now Where Or When

Seven-year-old Irish challenger who has placed on six of his seven chase starts to date. 


Seven-year-old who caught the eye when third in the Grand Sefton at odds of 40/1 last month. Step up in trip to suit.

Didero Vallis

Raced prominently until outpaced from three out when finishing sixth last year. After quiet start stable now operating at win strike rate of 25%; Miss Lucy Turner claims five pounds. 

Minella Bobo

Races from one pound out of the handicap. Pulled up behind Le Milos at Bangor last time out.

A bit of a minefield. 

For those unable to resist temptation, Didero Vallis is the each-way suggestion, currently 22/1 with both Paddy Power and William Hill who pay one fifth the odds six places.


TW said...

BoyleSports Becher Handicap Chase

155,12.41,ASHTOWN LAD(IRE)
154,10.13,HILL SIXTEEN(GB)
154,7.58,THE WOLF(FR)
153,3.83,DR KANANGA(GB)
153,0.94,THE JAM MAN(IRE)
153,0.94,CLOTH CAP(IRE)

Well done for going through the entire field in your write-up….I hope it pays dividends.

The system’s taken, yet another, extreme view of the race and readily dismissed the chances of 11 of the field, though not Didero Vallis!

Gesskille looks the standout but not at the odds particularly so as it appears the yard’s form has taken quite a dip of late and still looks to be heading South.

Ashtown Lad is too short for a horse that may not take to these fences. Hill Sixteen, Percussion and The Wolf could all make the frame but none were tempting enough for a bet, so it is a race I’ll sit out.

Elsewhere the system has highlighted the chances of two hurdlers; Nayati [17/2] and Foster’s Island [20/1] with both paying 4 places 1/5 odds I’m hoping to squeeze out a small profit on the day.

England v Senegal beckons.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings, TW.

Pleased to see the selection isn't a total write off... ;)

I looked closely at Nayati as well.

This year's renewal of the London National (3.30 Sandown) might not be supremely competitive. I looked to exploit the fact the chase course was riding quick for the time of year but I just haven't found a viable reason to oppose the favourite.

GeeDee said...

Thanks to the reader who pointed out that current joint favourite Gesskille won over three miles at Ludlow on 03.03.22 - 'always doing enough'.

TW said...

Winners Wear Cavani Menswear London National Handicap Chase

151,38.47,REVELS HILL(IRE)
150,15.28,IN REM(FR)
150,14.17,DEISE ABA(IRE)
148,1.75,QUICK WAVE(FR)
149,1.75,RED HAPPY(FR)

It is hard to look beyond the favourite, but no long term mileage in those cramped odds.


GeeDee said...

Gesskille (4/1f) won the battle at the head of the Becher market but in the event itself market rival Ashtown Lad (5/1) stayed on best up the run-in to beat the favourite two and a quarter lengths in a breathless renewal of the race.

From the off the leaders including Dr Kananga (8/1), Cloth Cap (33/1), Snow Leopardess (16/1) and Fantastikas (14/1) went hard up front, eventually paying the price.

Percussion (10/1) fared best of those who raced prominently claiming third while Fortescue (33/1) started slowly but made significant headway from two out to claim fourth with the well-backed Five Star Getaway (10/1) fifth, Cloth Cap sixth and Hill Sixteen (12/1) seventh.

Selection Didero Vallis (14/1) raced prominently in the early stages but the writing was on the wall as they started to race away from the stands; a blunder at the rear of the field four from home saw Lucy Turner unseated.