Robbie Wilders from the Racing Post is on hand to provide his best bets from the card at Aintree on Saturday, including two in the feature Becher Chase.
The presence of Gordon Elliott’s 162-rated staying chaser Coko Beach in the Becher is crucial as it forces five of the field to race from out of the weights, and the rest to carry less weight than they would have done, which is key in such taxing conditions.
Neither of my two selections have been affected by Coko Beach’s presence and the first to take the eye is CELEBRE D’ALLEN.
This horse may be an 11-year-old, but is relatively lightly raced for his age and looked right at the top of his game when bolting up over 3m1f here on his return last time, capitalising on a mark that was 11lb lower than when he went off a 4-1 chance for the Plate at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
That impressive performance, albeit in veterans’ company, was befitting of a 10lb rise and has opened up doors for Celebre D’Allen at staying trips, and his profile suggests he always improves for a run.
He took well to the National fences when finishing eighth in the Topham in the spring and has been aimed at this race all season according to Philip Hobbs and Johnson White’s Racing Post stable tour.
Coko Beach’s presence also suits THE BIG BREAKAWAY, an eight-year-old who is proven over marathon trips when there is cut in the ground.
The handicapper has given him a chance by dropping him 2lb for his fifth-placed finish in the Badger Beer Chase last month, a race simply used as a prep to get him fit for the Becher, which has been his early season target.
That means The Big Breakaway is now 1lb lower than when finishing a superb second in the Welsh Grand National last December, a race in which he was unlucky to run into a well-handicapped winner with stacks of course form.
The booking of Harry Cobden is a plus and he has long shaped as if a major staying handicap can fall his way.
Racing Post stable tours are a valuable tool and Dan Skelton pointed out in his that he expects VICKI VALE to eventually step up to Graded class.
She is clearly not ready for that yet as she is only rated 121, but there was plenty to like about her return second at Wincanton and she can take the concluding 2m4f handicap.
A runaway winner on her debut for the yard last November, Vicki Vale was then thrown in at the deep end in the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury against the boys.
She was outclassed there, having tried to make all at a strong pace before pulling up, but looks ready to fulfil her potential now after a more polished comeback.
The Wincanton contest she returned in looked hot beforehand and Vicki Vale frustratingly bumped into a well-handicapped, revitalised winner with a fine record fresh.
The Skelton yard’s horses have been needing their comebacks this term, as has been well publicised, and normal improvement can ensure Vicki Vale is tough to beat against the males on her second run following a wind operation.
bet365 are paying four places and Vicki Vale should be supported each-way.
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.