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Horse Racing

Becher Chase – Aintree – Saturday 4th December

Saturday 4th December 14:40

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith previews next weekend's Becher Chase from Aintree - and has two 20/1 ante-post each-way picks.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Blaklion 20/120/1 Ante Post
each-way (4 places)
Becher Chase - Aintree - Sat 4th Dec
Place BetPlace Bet
Vieux Lion Rouge 20/120/1 Ante Post
each-way (4 places)
Becher Chase - Aintree - Sat 4th Dec
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 28/11/2021

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (13:43 28/11/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

When I think back to what I was doing at the age of 12 – my focus was on a slightly embarrassing mix of cringeworthy posters on my bedroom wall, an unhealthy ambition to become a professional sportsman, and riding my bike up and down the particularly steep hill near where we lived, pretending I was a horse forging up the hill at the now defunct Towcester racecourse.

Not much else got a look in, and while I’d like to think I’ve matured a little since those days, it could be argued otherwise at times!

Now, when it comes to comparing horses ages to humans, there is obviously a little relative inflation involved – but what I could say with categorical clarity, is that I certainly couldn’t imagine winning a Becher Chase at the age of 12, nor the equivalent horse-to-human age.

However, on Saturday next week, there are two 12-year-olds bidding to not only add their names to the list of horses with an age of 10+ to have won since this race’s inception in 1992. But both will etch their names into Becher Chase folklore should they win, as both have won the race before, and not just once in the case of one of them.

Amazing old horses, the pair of them – Blaklion at 20/1 each-way with Bet365 and Vieux Lion Rouge at 20/1 each-way with Paddy Power are the recommended ante-post bets for the Becher Chase at Aintree at 2.40 on Saturday 4th December 2021.

The record of the pair of lovable veterans over the National fences reads incredibly well. Blaklion won the Becher Chase in 2017, and was 4th in the 2017 Grand National and an exceptionally eye-catching 6th in the 2021 Grand National just 8 months ago.

While Vieux Lion Rouge has won the Becher Chase in 2016 and 2020, was 2nd in the race in 2018, and has completed the course in no less than 4 Grand Nationals. Simply extraordinary.

Now, before you accuse me of going all misty-eyed and emotional, there is nothing about these recommendations that has been borne out of sentimentality – both make huge appeal at the current odds of 20/1 each-way.

Blaklion has somehow found himself a whopping 14lbs lower in the ratings for next Saturday’s race, compared with his rating when 6th in last season’s Grand National. This despite running a huge race in the big one last March.

Blaklion was plumb last after being hampered at the first, and sauntered his way over the fences and into contention with about a mile to run. A combination of that mid-race burst and not staying the extreme trip, meant he flattened out a touch, but it was still a huge effort.

It was lovely to see Blaklion jump and travel well for a long way in his prep run for the Becher Chase in a good race at Bangor three weeks ago. But the handicapper didn’t agree, as Blaklion was dropped a further 4lbs in the ratings. Dan Skelton has clearly done some sweet talking!

Blaklion at 20/1 each-way with Bet365 is the first pick, and after confirmations are made tomorrow, could shorten significantly. While you would also think two-time winner Vieux Lion Rouge has scope to shorten to, and it is worth taking the 20/1 each-way with Paddy Power about David Pipe’s stable favourite.

Vieux Lion Rouge fell in the Grand National last season, somehow bringing to an end his run of jumping about 7 million National fences without blemish. So it was nice to see him jump and travel well on his seasonal reappearance on ground that would have been way too lively for him at Chepstow a month ago. It will have put him spot on for the Becher Chase next weekend.

In a world where increasing focus is being shone on inequalities, it seems the layers have shown a disappointing level of ageism when it comes to the early quotes for the two 12-year-olds – Blaklion and Vieux Lion Rouge earning quotes of 20/1 to win next Saturday’s Becher Chase at 2.40 at Aintree.

Neither are anything like back numbers, I’m sure of it.

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