Aintree Becher Chase Day Betting Tips - 7th December 2019

There aren’t too many tracks more synonymous with the National Hunt game than the Merseyside venue of Aintree. That place in racing folklore is of course largely down to the most famous horse race in the world that is the Grand National, but it’s not all about the big one in April.

Providing an early taster of things to come further down the line is this excellent December offering, which regularly sees the fans flock to the track as the festive season begins. We have a bumper eight races on offer in all in this Saturday event, including not one, but two opportunities to see the runners tackling those famous Grand National fences; in both the Grand Sefton, and the Becher Chase which lends its name to this meeting.

 

About Becher Chase Day

Aintree is a world-famous racecourse, even though if you asked the majority of people to name a race that takes place on it other than the Grand National they’d struggle. That’s because the iconic steeplechase is beloved of those that are immersed in horse racing and those that only watch one race a year alike. Both sets of people delight in watching the best jumpers in the business take on one of the most difficult courses in existence, hoping that their selection makes it across the finish line first.

One thing that not everyone knows is that Aintree Racecourse actually plays host to a number of meetings throughout the year, with Becher Race Day being a notable one of them because of the fact that not one but two of the races featured are run over the same fences as the Grand National itself. It’s a chance to see how horses are looking as the jump season begins to get into its swing but a few months before they’ll have to jump the fences for real, so it’s a brilliant learning opportunity.

Becher Chase Day Race List

Whilst there are standout races, there's seven contests in total, all which worthy of your attention. It’s a day filled with interesting contests that will capture your imagination and allow you to picture yourself stood on the sidelines at Aintree when the big one rolls around in April. Here’s what the full race card looked like in 2019.

RacePrize MoneyAgesObstacles
Becher Chase Day
Novices’ Hurdle £12,000 4 Years Old + 9 hurdles
Mares' Chase £25,000 4 Year Old + Fillies & Mares 16 fences
Handicap Chase £17,400 4 Years Old + 16 fences
Handicap Hurdle £30,000 4 Years Old + 11 hurdles
Becher Handicap Chase £150,000 6 Years Old + 21 fences
Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle £25,000 3 Year Old Fillies 9 hurdles
Many Clouds Chase £60,000 4 Years Old + 19 fences
Grand Sefton Handicap Chase £80,000 6 Years Old + 18 fences

The Feature Races

Let’s look at the main races of the day, of which there are three. They are the Becher Chase itself, the Grand Sefton Chase and the Many Clouds Chase.

Becher Chase

There’s no question that the Becher Chase is the day’s big race, given that it’s named after it. This Grade 3 offering is open to horses aged six and over and is run left-handed over three miles, one furlong and one hundred and eighty-eight yards. It’s a handicap race so the weight carried by each horse is decided by the handicapper, whose job it is to try to and ensure the race is as fair as possible.

The Becher Chase is seen as a major trial for the Grand National, given that it’s run over the same fences as the main event. The difference is that in the National many of the fences are jumped twice, with horses having to negotiate thirty of them in total. For the Becher Chase only twenty-one of them are jumped, meaning it’s not an exact replica of the big race, but it’s still a stern test for horses to cope with.

At the time of writing only two horses have won this race and then gone on to be successful in the Grand National in the same season, namely Amberleigh House and Silver Birch. Earth Summit actually did it the other way around, winning the National in the April of 1998 and then this race later that year. It has been a Grade 3 offering since the National Hunt upgraded it in 2014.

The race itself was introduced in 1992 when a new race meeting was created for Aintree. For twenty years prior to that the Grand National meeting was the only one hosted by Aintree Racecourse, though things are different nowadays. The race is named in honour of Becher's Brook, which was itself named after Martin Becher, who took cover in the brook on the other side of the fence when his horse threw him into it.

Grand Sefton Steeplechase

This race was first run between 1865 and 1965 when Aintree Racecourse held an autumn meeting, taking place over just shy of three miles. It was seen as one of the most important races of the season, but in the wake of the Second World War Aintree’s fortunes were on the wane and people lost interest in the race. It was revived in 2003 and, as with the Becher Chase, was run over the same fences as the Grand National.

The race is open to horses aged six and up and is run over two miles, five furlongs and nineteen yards. As it is a handicap the weight is decided by the handicapper. There are eighteen fences than need to be negotiated before the race comes to its climax, meaning that it is just like the Becher Chase in the sense that it doesn’t use exactly the same fences as the Grand National, just some of them.

Many Clouds Chase

The youngest of the three races we’re looking at in more detail, the Many Clouds Chase was first run in 2011. Back then it was a Listed race, receiving an upgrade to Grade 2 in 2017, which was also the point at which it was renamed in honour of the 2015 Grand National winner Many Clouds, who had won the race in 2016.

The race is run over three miles and one furlong, with nineteen fences that need to be jumped during that distance. The following weight information is worth knowing:

  • 4-year-olds: 10 stone 6 pounds
  • 5-year-olds+: 11 stone
  • Fillies and mares receive a 7 pound allowance
  • Group 1 and Group 2 race winners are given a 6 pound penalty
  • Group 3 race winners are given a 4 pound penalty
  • Novice and beginners chase winners are given half penalties

At the time of writing only one horse has won the race twice, which a horse with an appropriate name for Merseyside: Definitely Red. He was successful in 2017 and 2018 but didn’t do as well as hoped in the Grand National later in either season. Don Poli, meanwhile, won the 2015 RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival before winning this later in the year, whilst Many Clouds is the other noteworthy winner of the event.