Fresh from landing the big race at Haydock Park last weekend trainer Colin Tizzard and jockey Robbie Power can win this week’s main contest, the Ladbrokes Trophy Handicap Chase (3pm), with West Approach at Newbury on Saturday.
Lostintranslation shone in the Betfair Chase on Merseyside and looks one of the leading staying chasers. Stable-mate West Approach may not quite be up to matching him at the top level but he can take the Grade Three feature in Berkshire.
Jockey Power has been in fine form for Tizzard so far this season and West Approach certainly has the ability to keep the bandwagon rolling.
He was second in his seasonal return at Cheltenham and went one better when scoring for the first time in two years back at Prestbury Park in the BetVictor Smartcards Handicap Chase at the November meeting.
It was a fine waiting ride by Grand National-winning jockey Power that day. West Approach was held up in rear before powering home to score by three lengths in testing conditions.
West Approach has a 4lb penalty for that win, but as he has been put him up 8lb since he still looks well in.
The nine-year-old can come out of top but stable-mate and top weight Elegant Escape, Nicky Henderson’s duo Ok Corral and Brave Eagle, and the Gordon Elliott-trained Borice all hold a good chance.
Tizzard and Power may also score with Reserve Tank in the Grade Two Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase (12.45pm). The five-year-old won a similar contest at Wincanton last time and can make it two wins from three chase starts.
Henderson may also have a couple of winners at Newbury.
Floressa can win the Listed Ladbrokes Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (12.05pm); while The Cashel Man – a winner on his most recent start over hurdles at Ffos Las in the summer – may also score in the Get Your Ladbrokes £1 Free Bet Today Handicap Hurdle (1.50pm).
Jonjo O’Neill senior and junior can team up to win the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase (1.15pm) with As You Like. The eight-year-old hasn’t been out of the first two in his last eight starts over fences and can continue his good form with another victory.
Others who may score at Newbury are the Alan King-trained Scarlet Dragon in the Listed Ladbrokes Intermediate Hurdle (A Limited Handicap) (Registered The Gerry Feilden Hurdle) (2.25pm) and Phil Kirby’s mare Lady Buttons in the Ladbrokes In Memory Of Tara Von Ihering Handicap Chase (For The Jim Joel Memorial Trophy) (3.40pm).
If Newcastle passes an 8am inspection on Saturday morning Buveur D’Air looks hard to go against as he bids for a hat-trick of wins in the Grade One Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2.05pm).
While he fell and relinquished his Champion Hurdle crown at the Cheltenham Festival in March and was only second in the Aintree Hurdle at the Randox Health Grand National Festival, he should have too much for his rivals on his seasonal return.
The Ben Haslam-trained Rock On Fruity had a very good each-way chance in the Listed Betfair Rehearsal Handicap Chase (3.20pm).
Others who may score if Newcastle survives the cold snap are Merseyside-born trainer Donald McCain’s Navajo Pass in the Weatherbys TBA Juvenile Hurdle (11.45am); course and distance winner Charlie Snow Angel in the Keltek Handicap Chase (12.20pm); and Brian Ellison’s Sam’s Adventure in the Avison Young Chase (A Novices’ Limited Handicap) (1.30pm).
12.40pm Reserve Tank
1.15pm As You Like
1.50pm The Cashel Man
2.25pm Scarlet Dragon
3pm West Approach (NAP)
3.40pm Lady Buttons
NEWCASTLE (inspection 8am)
11.45am Navajo Pass
12.20pm Charle Snow Angel
1.30pm Sam’s Adventure
2.05pm Buveur D’Air
2.40pm Lemon T
3.20pm Rock On Fruity
12.45pm Royal Act
1.20pm Mr Mcgo
1.55pm Millers Bank
3.35pm Mighty Mag
11.25am Bendy Spirit
11.55am Urban Hero
12.30pm Roman Spinner
1.05pm Something Lucky
2.50pm Red Skye Delight
3.25pm Pearl Spectre
SUNDAY’S NAP: Dorking Cock (Carlisle 12.20pm)
Road to Grand National starts with Becher Chase at Aintree Racecourse
The road to the big one really starts in earnest next Saturday with the Randox Health Becher Chase the highlight of seven top-class races at Aintree Racecourse.
Last year’s winner Walk In The Mill and 2016 hero Vieux Lion Rouge are among the current 59 entires. Only two horses have previously won the Becher Chase more than once – Into The Red in 1994 and 1996 and Hello Bud (2010 and 2012).
The Grade Two Virgin Bet Boots Many Clouds Chase – named in honour of the ill-fated 2015 Grand National winner – is another highlight of next Saturday at Aintree.
The winner for the past two season, the Brian Ellison-trained Definitly Red, could try to claim a hat-trick extended three-mile contest – but he is also entered in the Becher.
The five-day entries for the seven races are out on Monday and it looks set to be another spectacular afternoon at the famous track.
Off the track the Christmas spirit will be all around Aintree. Head down to McCoy’s where the brass band will be performing seasonal favourites underneath the fully-lit Christmas tree.
Find Aintree’s specially designed backdrop and promo team, who will photograph you for entry into the competition and also email you a souvenir image. There are three prizes up for grabs, with the winner taking away a £100 gift voucher; and two runners-up receiving £50 gift vouchers (T&Cs apply).
Gates open next Saturday at 9.55am.
The first race of the seven, The Play Casino At Virgin Bet Novices’ Hurdle, is due off at 11.55am. And the finale is the second race over the Grand National fences, the Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Chase, due off at 3.15pm.
General Admission tickets is from £20 and it’s £45 price for Princess Royal Seats and Gallery. There are also still some hospitality packages available on 0151 522 2911.
To book tickets and for more information go to Aintree’s website at https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/aintree/events-tickets/becher-chase/whats-on/becher-chase-day or call 0344 579 3001.