Home Horse Racing Blaklion hard to hold in Becher test
Blaklion hard to hold in Becher test

Blaklion hard to hold in Becher test


Fourth in the Grand National at Aintree in the spring, Blaklion looks to hold outstanding claims of getting a win over famous fences in Saturday’s Becher Handicap Chase.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge kept some very useful company last term, preceding his Aintree effort with pleasing performances in defeat behind the likes of Native River, Definitly Red and Vieux Lion Rouge.

His trainer has been enjoying a fine season so far, with some notable big-race wins on Saturday afternoons fresh in the memory.

Two of those came from Bristol De Mai, firstly in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby and, most emphatically, with a romp in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock.

Worth recalling then that it was Blaklion who pushed the grey to the pin of his collar in the Charlie Hall. That form looks decidedly strong now and given his liking for these fences and unquestionable stamina, even the relatively short price of 5/2 leaves Blaklion an appealing proposition.

There’s also Grade 2 action on the Aintree card in the form of the Many Clouds Chase, named after last year’s winner who sadly passed away after his gallant defeat of Thistlecrack in January at Cheltenham.

His owner Trevor Hemmings would dearly love to win here with Cloudy Dream, but this trip in excess of three miles doesn’t look likely to play to his strengths.

Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red (6/4 favourite to win) is greatly respected although it might be worth siding with Irish raider Alpha Des Obeaux, 7/2 to win for Mouse Morris.

He landed a Grade 2 win at Clonmel last time out and in October chased home last week’s Ladbrokes Trophy winner Total Recall over this sort of trip at Limerick. That form looks good and despite conceding weight all round, he’s fancied to score for Gigginstown House Stud.

The Tingle Creek takes centre stage on a promising card at Sandown, with 8/13 favourite Fox Norton fully expected to take his chance for trainer Colin Tizzard and returning rider Robbie Power.

Sunday will also be a big day for Power as he’ll begin a new season on Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Sizing John in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown.

Jessica Harrington’s star must cope with the drop back to two-and-a-half miles but, having often played second fiddle to Douvan, he’s expected to take it in his stride and can oblige at 11/8 ahead of two-time race winner Djakadam.

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Enda McElhinney Our racing expert, Enda studies cards in both England and Ireland on a daily basis and knows all the details you need to know when trying to select a winner. He is also a regular football writer and has strong knowledge of the Scottish game, with golf another specialised sport on his CV.