Saturday Horse Racing Tips
All eyes will be on Aintree today with two fascinating races due to take place over the famous Grand National obstacles, while there is also the Tingle Creek at Sandown.
Betfred Becher Handicap Chase
First up is the Becher Chase and a cracking renewal of this staying handicap looks on the cards with a field of 25 set to go to post. Unsurprisingly, therefore, bookmakers go 12/1 the field this morning and it is easy to see why no horse is bigger than 40/1, as it is possible to make out some sort of case for every runner.
Interestingly, age is no barrier to winning this race with 9 of the last 10 winners aged 8 or older and four former winners were 12 or more.
It is, perhaps, no coincidence that experience is so crucial in a race of this nature as the two attributes you need are a strong stayer and a horse that can be clever at his obstacles.
With that in mind, the first runner we fancy is Oscar Time, who has finished 2nd and 4th in the National itself. On both occasions, his stamina just gave way at the death, so this trip should be ideal for him. He has been rejuvenated by a spell hunting and none of the professional jockeys can match Sam Waley-Cohen’s record around here. The horse may be 13 now, but he showed the spark was still there when travelling well on his re-appearance at Cheltenham recently before unseating his rider six out. He looks too big at 33/1 with Bet365.
Another experienced campaigner is The Package, who also has good form around here having been 12th in last season's National. Again, his stamina ebbed away at a crucial stage that day, but he definitely stays this trip and, hopefully, an albeit disappointing effort on his seasonal bow should have put him spot on for this, especially if the ground dries out a bit. Odds of 22/1 looks well worth taking.
The other one to be on is arguably the best handicapped horse in the race, Shakalakaboomboom.
Not much has gone right for him since he ran in blinder in the National two seasons ago, but a wind operation over the summer could pay instant dividends here. He too wouldn’t want the ground to be too soft, but he is an outstanding jumper of a fence at his best and is 8lb lower than his last winning mark. All in all, he is a risk worth taking with 28/1 readily available this morning.
Of the more fancied runners, Saint Are (on his second start for Tom George) and Just Par look major threats, while a regular visitor here, Mr Moonshine, should go well again.
Bet365 and race sponsors Betfred both offer 5 places for each-way bets on this race.
|Oscar Time (ew)
|The Package (ew)
||1.30 Aintree||22/1||Bet365 & Betfred|
||1.30 Aintree||28/1||Bet365 & Betfred|
Betfred Grand Sefton Handicap Chase
The other race over the world’s most famous obstacles, The Grand Sefton, doesn’t look quite as strong and, for that reason, we think the classy Champion Court can run well. He struggles a bit to carry these big weights in handicaps, but he ran really well in the Paddy Power recently to suggest a return to winning ways isn’t far off and Ryan Hatch claims a very useful 5lbs. He has also successfully negotiated these obstacles before, which is a plus.
The fastest improving horse in the race could prove to be Dolatulo.
Warren Greatrex has had a flying start to the season and this horse did nothing but improve during his last campaign.
He still doesn’t look harshly treated on the pick of his hurdles form and showed he may be about to continue on an upward curve with a fine second in a competitive heat at Sandown recently. All bookmakers are offering 4 places for each-way bets on this race.
|Champion Court (ew)||3.15 Aintree||11/1||Bet365|
|Dolatulo (ew)||3.15 Aintree
Betfred Fun and Friendly Novices Hurdle
In the opener at the Merseyside track, Great Try looks a cracking each way bet at 11/2 as long as all eight runners go to post.
|Great Try (ew)||12.00 Aintree
Tingle Creek Chase
There is no standout performer in the line-up such as previous recent winners Sire De Grugy, Sprinter Sacre and Kauto Star (it is easy to forget the multiple Gold Cup winner also won this race twice over the minimum trip!) and so there might be a shock on the cards.
With a field of ten, the race has a great each way look about it too and the pair to chance at bigger odds are Dodging Bullets and Third Intention.
The former ran really well at Cheltenham recently and should come on a bundle for that effort as most of Paul Nicholls’ have needed their first outing. The tongue tie is back on today and he looks to have rock solid chances as he should have improved further over the summer.
Third Intention is a funny horse in many ways as the better the race you put him in, the better he seems to run. Until recently, connections thought he was better over further, but he is a strong traveller who may just have the race run to suit today and he won really impressively over this distance on his comeback. His yard couldn’t be in better form either and he has run well here before.
Of the market leaders, we like Balder Succes whilst William’s Wishes is another fascinating outsider as long as the ground doesn’t dry out too much.
|Dodging Bullets (ew)||3.00 Sandown
|Third Intention (ew)||3.00 Sandown
||25/1||Bet365 & Betfred|
|£200 bonus||£25 free bet|