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Aintree 2021 – Randox Topham Handicap Chase
Date of Tips: 25/03/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (13:12 25/03/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
Having fully indulged and digested the action from the Cheltenham Festival of 2021, it is time to rise from the slumber, the hangover, the comedown, and get stuck back into some more ante-post races. It won’t be long before ante-post bets for the Cheltenham Festival 2022 are highlighted on these pages – a feature which threw up Put The Kettle On at 25/1, the winner of the Champion Chase, and also Sire Du Berlais at 25/1, the runner-up of the Stayers Hurdle.
But for now, all eyes turn to Merseyside, and the much-awaited Grand National meeting, which we were deprived of last season, unless of course the Virtual Grand National sufficiently sated your appetite. Not likely I would imagine!
The Topham Chase, a race with a rich history and covering just over a full circuit of that famous Grand National course, has a wide variety of winners, when it comes to age, experience, trainer etc. But clearly, there are some aspects that, while not seemingly essential, will certainly not hinder a horse’s chance – like recent form, experience of the fences, being rated 140+, and being housed in a leading stable.
All of these factors apply to my ante-post pick for the race, Livelovelaugh, who is available at 10/1 each-way with Ladbrokes and Coral. He has been nibbled significantly since the market went up in the last few days, and it seems others are of a similar opinion – you may need to move fast. William Hill are a standout next best at 9/1, which is still manageable in my book.
Willie Mullins won the race in 2019 with the progressive Cadmium, and can take back-to-back renewals of it, with a very similar type in Livelovelaugh. For all that Cadmium was a 7-year-old and Livelovelaugh is an 11-year-old, the latter mentioned is sufficiently lightly raced enough to feel there is still a bit more juice to be squeezed from him.
I urge you to watch the 2019 Grand National back, and find me a horse which jumped and travelled better than Livelovelaugh, until stamina just gave way in the latter stages of the final circuit. It was still a mighty effort, and connections have taken the hint with regards his stamina, as he has only run once beyond 3m since that day.
Two starts this season have come with the added aid of a tongue-tie, and I wouldn’t mind betting some kind of wind operation also, which doesn’t need to be declared in Ireland. For 99% of both starts in valuable handicaps at Leopardstown, he looked the likely winner, only to be chinned by two well handicapped sorts in Off You Go and Mitchouka.
Livelovelaugh is now off a rating of 140 in Ireland, so he won’t be a million miles away from the figure of 144, that he ran from in the Grand National of 2019. That will do just fine, and coming into the race in the form of his life, with the Mullins’ team in excellent nick, and the Irish horses carrying all before them at the Cheltenham Festival (very much including the handicappers), it has all the hallmarks of Livelovelaugh being a 5/1 favourite come the day.