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Grand Sefton Chase preview

A brilliant weekend of National Hunt racing includes a rare visit to the hallowed ground of Aintree. Two previews lined up for the card there, the first of which is the Grand Sefton Chase, as previewed by young writer Adam Webb, @adamwebb121. You can read more of his work at OnTheOtherHoof.

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Betfred Grand Sefton Handicap Chase
£70,000, Class 2, 2m5f19y
1515 local, 0215 AEDT


Although the Becher Chase takes centre stage, and rightly so, the Grand Sefton looks a more competitive renewal than it has done in recent seasons with a couple of these having had this as a long-term plan.

The best place to start is with last year’s hero Bennys Mist, who has a mixed profile over these fences. Apart from his Topham Trophy second to Ma Filleule in 2014, his best efforts over these fences have come in this very contest with success twelve month ago and him finishing third to Poole Master the year before. Rated 7lb higher than last season, he comes here on the back of a disappointing return at Cheltenham but he tends to need his first outing before improving as the season progresses. The main concern tomorrow is whether the ground is too lively; all his wins having come on soft or heavy ground.

Seefood had threatened he was coming back to form when looking a non-stayer at Cheltenham over an extended 3m in October before landing the spoils in a weak enough contest at Musselburgh, although the margin of victory could well have been further had he not blundered at the last. A 7lb rise seems fair and, as long as his jumping holds up, he should be thereabouts in the finish.

As De Mee and La Vaticane can both be described as frustrating. They clearly possess ability, the former having placed in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices Chase behind Bristol De Mai at Sandown plus chased home More Of That at Cheltenham back in November of last year and the latter looked smart in her native France before joining David Pipe. She was arguably unlucky on her return at Market Rasen last month when cannoned into by Desert Queen at the final fence. The pair are sound jumpers on the whole but neither have convinced fully in a finish so can be passed over, especially with the long run for home after the final fence.

Others worth taking on include Henryville and Troika Steppes on the proviso their jumping has been an issue in the past. The former also has an unexplainable run to put behind him at Cheltenham. Vintage Vinnie is another who looks to bounce back from a poor effort in the BetVictor Gold Cup. However he may prove vulnerable as he looks at his best when able to dominate, something he won’t be able to do tomorrow, while Astracad’s best form comes when he is fresh and has disappointed over these fences before

The form of Valadom’s Bangor win looks very interesting in the context of this contest having beat Seventh Sky, who reopposes, in tenacious style over 3m. Richard Hobson’s grey has a rise in the weights to overcome but has been trained with this in mind, has experience of unique obstacles from running round Cheltenham several times in the cross country, and can use his jumping to a huge advantage from the front with Conor O’Farrell in for a hugely exciting spin. The aforementioned Seventh Sky was runner-up in this last year and another bold bid should be expected off a 4lb higher mark with him versatile regarding ground.

Conclusion

The clear standout at the prices available is VALADOM, who gets the nod based on his excellent jumping, the fact he is a front runner which can be a huge advantage around Aintree, and the nature of the track over this distance. Others worthy of consideration include Seventh Sky, who chased home Valadom at Bangor, and Seefood, who may prove to still be on a decent handicap mark.

1. Valadom
2. Seventh Sky
3. Seefood

Comments

  1. It's a shame Adam didn't do the Becher as he picked the winner of that. Two nice contributions for the Grand Sefton and the Becher though.

    ReplyDelete

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