Becher Handicap Chase Tips

Late December/early November each year gives us our first look at the famous Grand National fences of the season in this popular contest. Here we take a look at the best odds and offers and provide our betting tips for the Becher Handicap Chase.

This 3m2f contest open to runners aged five and older was first run at Aintree in 1992. With 21 obstacles to tackle in all, the Grade 3 event now offers a total of £150,000 in total prize money.

Becher Handicap ChaseTips and Betting Offers, 1:30, 7th December 2019

The Becher Handicap is, for obvious reasons, one of the key build up races for the Grand National. It’s one of the few races of the season to take place on the Grand National course at Aintree and takes place over a demanding 3 miles 2 furlongs. Many previous winners have gone on to run well in the Grand National in the same season and a number of the 18 horses in the field for this year’s renewal have a genuine chance of more success at Aintree in April.

Arthur Can Make a Triumphant Return to Aintree

Previous performance at Aintree is an important factor for success in the Becher Chase. Horses who have shown they are able to cope with the incredibly demanding fences that must be navigated in the race and who have proven stamina to cope with the 3 mile 2 furlong trip should be favoured.

One For Arthur is one of those will all the prerequisite experience of Aintree to be seriously considered for support at 9/1 with Ladbrokes. He is, after all, a former winner of the Grand National having landed the famous race in 2017. He placed fifth in the Becher Chase en route to that National success and also finished a very credible sixth place in the 2019 Grand National.

Hopes are high in Lucinda Russell’s yard that One For Arthur will be able to have another crack at the Grand National come April. Some of those who watched the 10-year-old’s first performance of the season at Kelso suggested that he has little chance of making it to the National and that his best is very much in behind him. That, however, is surely an overly harsh critique of his performance. He travelled strongly for much of that race and should be able to take a significant step forward for that outing.

Ballyoptic Can Get it Right This Time

Ballyoptic arrives at Aintree with a record that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. He was a faller in both last season’s Becher Chase and Grand National but that hasn’t dented the enthusiasm at the yard about his chances in this April’s National.

To that end, Ballyoptic has been kept busy already this season. He’s already run three times over fences and started his campaign with two wins before finding the Betfair Chase just a little too much for him. He will enjoy the soft ground at Aintree and may right the wrongs of his former performances at the track.

Betting Predictions

One For Arthur will be 11 by the time the Grand National comes around. However, he is lightly raced for his ag having missed the whole season following his National win and there is plenty of gas left in the tank. He can prove that on Saturday with a big win in the Becher Chase at 9/1 with Ladbrokes.

Those looking for an each way play should consider the 14/1 that BetVictor are quoting about Ballyoptic. His jumping is the main concern but he’s made improvements in that regard so has a real chance of landing at least a place.

Becher Handicap Chase Previous Winners

  • 2018 – Walk In The Mill – jockey James Best, trainer Robert Walford
  • 2017 – Blaklion – jockey Gavin Sheehan, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • 2016 – Vieux Lion Rouge – jockey Tom Scudamore, trainer David Pipe
  • 2015 – Highland Lodge – jockey Henry Brooke, trainer James Moffatt
  • 2014 – Oscar Time – jockey Sam Waley Cohen, trainer Robert Waley-Cohen
  • 2013 – Chance Du Roy – jockey Tom O’Brien, trainer Philip Hobbs
  • 2012 – Hello Bud – jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • 2011 – West End Rocker – jockey Wayne Hutchinson, trainer Alan King
  • 2010 – Hello Bud – jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • 2009 – Vic Venturi – jockey Paddy Flood, trainer Dessie Hughes
  • 2008 – Black Apalachi – jockey Denis O’Regan, trainer Dessie Hughes
  • 2007 – Mr Pointment – jockey Sam Thomas, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2006 – Eurotrek – jockey Liam Heard, trainer Paul Nicholls

Becher Handicap Chase History

There are few races in the calendar year that can truly be regarded as a legitimate trial for the unique demands of Aintree’s Grand National. Prior to the introduction of this event in 1992, there had been a spell of two decades where no other race even took place over the Grand National course. At 3m2f in distance, this contest may not be run over quite so far a distance as the 4m+ of the Grand National, but it does at least offer competitors the chance to tackle the National courses famous fences.

It is in fact the name of one of these fences which lends its name to the race; the (in)famous Becher’s Brook. One of the courses most challenging obstacles in turn takes its name from soldier, jockey and one of the founding fathers of the Grand National itself, Martin Becher. Invariably a popular betting heat, which has consistently attracted a good quality field, the Becher Chase was belatedly granted Grade 3 status for the first time in 2014.

Winners of this race Amberleigh House (2001) and Silver Birch (2004) utilised their experience here to good effect, when going on to land the most famous race of them all in 2004 and 2007 respectively. The famous National specialist Earth Summit- who won the English, Scottish and Welsh versions of the race- followed up his 1998 Grand National triumph with a win in here.

Gloucestershire based handler Nigel Twiston-Davies has a pretty impressive record here. His six wins in the race as of 2018 put him out in front in the training ranks. Two of Nigel Twiston-Davies victors were ridden to glory by his son Sam Twiston-Davies. Chris Maude and Tony Dobbin have also recorded two successes in the race, but no jockey has yet landed the hat-trick.

Whilst open to all runners aged five and older, none so youthful have yet prevailed. Silver Birch and Indian Tonic share the honour of being the youngest winners, being seven at the time of their victories. The grand old warrior Hello Bud took this in 2010 at 12 years of age, and proved he wasn’t done with quite yet in 2012, becoming the oldest winner in the races history, at 14.