Apr 12 2018
It may not be the highest class race of the day, but in terms of pure spectacle, the Topham Chase is the undoubted highlight of the Friday card at Aintree. Becher’s Brook, The Chair, Foinavon and the rest all feature as a maximum field of 30 sets out to tackle 2m5f around the Grand National course.
In what looks as competitive a renewal as ever, we will be taking two against the field. One a battle-hardened warrior who knows what it takes to prevail here, the other, a young pretender who may be ready to arrive on the big stage.
Topham Chase Tips 2018
Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
- Theatre Territory each way at 10/1 with Bet365
- Ultragold each way at 18/1 with Bet365
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Topham Chase Background
2m5f is the trip for this Grade 3 Chase which takes place over the Grand National fences and offers a total of £140,000 in prize money. The ground at the track is currently described as soft.
A distinct lack of favourites amongst the list of recent winners, with not one prevailing in the past nine years. That really highlights how open this big field handicap often is. With so many big priced runners doing well though, this is an ideal race for an each way punt.
Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty have the best recent record amongst the trainers and jockeys with three wins apiece in the past five years. Another point to note here is the seven of the past nine winners have carried 10st11lbs or less.
Race Predictions: Make mine a G&T: Gold and Territory to Strike for Greatrex and Tizzard
As ever a case can be made for a number of these, with honourable mentions going to Highland Lodge who jumps well around here, and Bouvreuil who could prove a class act if conclusively proving he stays.
Having weighed up the pros and cons of this year’s runners, and factored in the recent trends in the race, our shortlist of three is as follows.
The Name’s Henderson. Nicky Henderson.
Considering the recent record he has here, it’s no surprise to see that Nicky Henderson saddles the current favourite for the race. Fourth here twelve months ago, the compilers rate O O Seven the most likely winner this time around. A proven ability to get around the course over these unique obstacles can be worth its weight in gold, but purely from a handicapping perspective this one would have a little bit to find. Whilst he is 2lbs lower this time around, he was beaten over 7 ¼l last year, and with 11st5lbs on his back, he also has more weight than a typical winner in recent years. All that said, he still has plenty going for him for those seeking a solid each way punt.
Ultra To Grab Gold Again
In two runs over this course and distance, Colin Tizzard’s Ultragold is yet to finish outside of the first two. Winning this race off a mark of 136 last year, he then confirmed his liking for the venue when second to Gas Line Boy in December off his current mark of 141. April also seems to be the time to catch him. Two of his five career wins have come in April, whilst he finished second on the only other occasion he has run in the month. He jumps these fences so well that he’s hard to dismiss, even considering he is 5lbs higher for what was just a 1 length winning margin 12 months ago.
Theatre The Star Of The Show
The least exposed runner in the field is Theatre Territory who will be having just his sixth career start over fences here. Whilst he hasn’t managed to get his nose in front over the larger obstacles, he has been very consistent, with three seconds and two third placed finishes to his name to date. His second to Misterr Whitaker at Cheltenham in January reads particularly well. Running off 128 he got to within two lengths of Mister Whitaker that day, and with that one since going on to win at the Cheltenham Festival off 137, Theatre Territory certainly looks feasibly handicapped getting in off 132 here. Much will depend upon how he takes to the fences, but he has jumped well in the main to date and is one of the more likely runners in the field to prove to be well handicapped.
In such an open contest, with even the favourite trading at double figure odds, it makes sense to have a couple on our side here. Top of the list is Theatre Territory. He is towards the head of the market but remains stacked with more potential than the majority of these and can go well for the Waley-Cohens.
We can’t bring ourselves to leave last year’s winner Ultragold out of the equation either though. We would be surprised were there a better jumper of these fences in the field and he loves it at this time of year.