The 2018 Becher Chase takes place on Saturday 8th December, so we thought we’d compile some interesting facts and stats about the race that is traditionally the first race of the season over the Grand National Fences.
Becher Chase Facts
The Becher Chase takes place over a distance of 3 miles and 628 yards, which is just less than a mile shorter than the current distance of the Grand National, which is run over 4 miles and 514 yards.
Runners have to jump 21 of the Grand National fences during the Becher Chase, which is nine less than in the Grand National. One of the fences is called Becher’s Brook, which is named after former jump jockey Martin Becher, who served his country during the Napoleonic Wars. The Becher Chase was named in his honour.
Horses to Win Becher Chase and the Grand National
Two horses have won the Becher Chase and then gone on to win the Grand National, though both horses won the Grand National three years after winning the Becher Chase. The Ginger McCain trained Amberleigh House won the Becher Chase in 2001 and the Grand National in 2004, whilst the Gordon Elliott trained Silver Birch won the Becher Chase in 2004 and the Grand National in 2007.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Earth Summit also completed the Becher Chase and Grand National double the other way around. He won the Grand National in April 1998 carrying just 10-5 but returned to Aintree in December to win the Becher Chase carrying 12-0.
Becher Chase Stats
Horses than have Won More than One Becher Chases
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Hello Bud is currently the only horse to win the Becher Chase on two occasions. He won it for the first time in 2010 and the second time in 2012.
Trainers that have Won More than One Becher Chase
Five trainers have trained more than one winner of the Becher Chase. Sue Smith, Phillip Hobbs, and the now retired Dessie Hughes have all trained two winners, whilst Paul Nicholls has trained three winners.
However, Nigel Twiston-Davies has trained a remarkable six winners of the race. He won the second renewal in 1993 with Indian Tonic and followed up two-years later with Young Hustler. Earth Summit then made it three wins in 1998. He then had to wait until 2010 for Hello Bud to make it four, with the same horse making it five wins in 2012. His sixth and final win came last year with Blaklion who, this year, may well attempt to become only the second horse to win the race twice.
Jockeys that have Won More than One Becher Chase
Only two jockeys have won more than one Becher Chase. They are the now retired Tony Dobbin, whilst Sam Twiston-Davies rode Hello Bud to both his Becher Chase victories for his dad.
Ages of Becher Chase Winners
No horse younger than even has won the Becher Chase, but old age has been no barrier to success with a 13-year-old and a 14- year-old being successful. The other 25 winners have been made up of three 7-year-olds, five 8-year-old, seven 9-year-olds, five 10-year-olds, one 11-year-old, and three 12-year-olds.
In terms of weight carried, the 26 winners of the Becher Chase have fallen into two distinct categories so far. Seven winners have been classy enough to defy weights ranging from 11-5 to 12-0, whilst 19 winners have carried between 9-11 and 10-12.
Becher Chase Tips
Blaklion is the first name that stands out in the 2019 entries for the Becher Chase. A nine-length winner of the 2018 renewal, he returns on just a 5lb higher mark, and is set to carry just 4lb higher than last year. He’s also trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies. He’s hardly been missed in the market though, whilst he hasn’t had the benefit of a prep-run this year. He also has to prove he’s recovered from two poor runs at the end of last season, which saw him brought down in the Grand National and pulled up in the Bet365 Gold Cup.
It’s also possible to make a case for the top-weight Don Poli, who is a Grade 1 winner that has the class to deft top-weight. However, after 664 days of the track, this big horse may well need the run and connections may just be seeing if he takes to the fences with the Grand National a possible target for him later in the season.
Another previous winner to look out for is Vieux Lion Rouge, who won the race two-years ago off a mark of 142 before beating Blaklion in the Grand National Trial at Haydock off today’s mark of 146. He did have a poor season last season but, if he could be primed to run a big-race now he’s back down to a mark that connections know he can win off.
However, if Vieux Lion Rouge has a chance, then so must Becher Chase specialist Highland Lodge. He won the 2016 renewal off 132, has finished second to Vieux Lion Rouge off 137, and finished third to Blaklion last year off 138. He’s running off 135 this year and has a nice pull at the weights with the last two winners, making him look a solid each-way bet.
It could also be chancing Irish raider Crosshue Boy, an 8-year-old that made rapid progression last season over fences, culminating in beating this year’s Ladbrokes Trophy third Dingo Dollar. He warmed up over hurdles on his seasonal debut and the booking of David Mullins catches the eye, with the young Irish jockey already having already steered Rule The World to victory in the Grand national and also narrowly missing out on Pleasant Company last year. Crosshue Boy has to prove he can jump the fences, but he could still be hiding something from the handicapper.
Becher Chase Free Tips
Highland Lodge (Each-Way) @ 17.00 Ladbrokes and Coral
Crosshue Boy (Each-Way) @ 19.00 Betway, 17.00 888Sports and Unibet
Odds Correct at Time of Publication