As a race run over the unique Grand National fences, this Becher Chase stats guide for the 2019 renewal is well worth looking into for punters.
A Grade 3 handicap run over about a mile short of the Aintree showpiece at a distance of 3m 2f, the Becher is an obvious trial.
This year 26 horses remain entered at the five-day declaration stage. What can Becher Handicap Chase trends tell us, though?
Well, two past Becher Chase winners – Amberleigh House in 2001 and Silver Birch in 2004 have gone on to land Grand National glory in subsequent years.
Earth Summit managed to win the race in 1998 after triumphing in the big one beforehand. Course experience is among the more valuable Becher Handicap Chase trends, then.
What are the others? Check out this Becher Chase stats guide compiled by OpenOdds experts…
What can age tell us?
Eight of the last 14 Becher Chase winners have been aged nine or older.
Nine-year-olds have won five of the last 12 renewals, but the last two runnings have been won be eight-year-olds.
Since it was first run in 1992, horses aged in double figures trail 16-11.
It’s not impossible for veterans to win the race, however. Oscar Time won it in 2014 as a 13-year-old.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Hello Bud was aged 14 when landing the spoils in 2012 and a 13-year-old for the same stable finished second the following season.
A prominent place in the betting
Another of those important Becher Handicap Chase trends is prominence in the bookmakers’ market. Of the last 25 Becher Chase winners, 16 featured in the first five in the betting.
At the time of writing, the five to focus on in this year’s renewal are Mulcahys Hill, Vintage Clouds, Vieux Lion Rouge, Walk In The Mill and One For Arthur.
Twelve of the last 20 Becher Chase winners have gone off at single figures odds, so be sure to keep checking the market.
What do ratings reveal in our Becher Chase stats guide?
Until the 153-rated Blaklion triumphed in 2017, 18 winners were rated no higher than 148.
Seven of the last nine Becher Chase winners were rated no higher than 137 going into the race.
Horses that fall between the 137 and 148 bracket are clearly worth an extra look.
They include previous winners Vieux Lion Rouge (145) and Walk In The Mill (141), along with the ante post market leaders Mulcahys Hill (144) and Vintage Clouds (145).
All bar six of the remaining 24 entries meet the criteria. Those that don’t fit Becher Handicap Chase trends here are Alpha Des Obeaux, Ballyoptic, Definitly Red, Double Shuffle, Le Breuil and One For Arthur.
As far as weight is concerned, four of the last 12 victors carried 11st 5lb or over.
Three other Becher Chase winners since 1995 carried top weight – so it’s not impossible for classier horses to triumph under a welter burden.
Who are the top trainers?
Nigel Twiston-Davies is the most successful with six Becher Chase winners to his name, courtesy of Indian Tonic (1993), Young Hustler (1995), Earth Summit (1998), Hello Bud (2010 and 2012) and Blaklion (2017).
The Gloucestershire handler could again be represented by Ballyoptic, who landed the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in fine style two starts back before.
He then found life too hot last time out when a well-beaten last of four to Lostintransalation in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock
Paul Nicholls also has a good record having saddled three Becher Chase winners and three runners-up.
His sole entry in this year’s renewal is As De Mee, a winner of the 2m 5f Grand Sefton Handicap Chase on this card back in 2016.
Irish trained horses have won three of the last 14 renewals.
Top-weight Alpha Des Obeaux, who was third in the Grade 1 Down Royal Champion Chase at the start of November, is the only Emerald Isle raider among this year’s entries.
He is owned by Gigginstown House Stud and trained by Gordon Elliott, who have teamed up to win the last two runnings of the Grand National with Tiger Roll.
How trial races inform our Becher Chase stats guide
Prior to Walk In The Mill landing the spoils 12 months ago, eight Becher Chase winners had ran over the National course before.
Since 1997, only six winners have have come good at the first time of asking over the unique fences.
Experience in the Grand National itself has proved a key guide to finding Becher Chase winners, with 11 of the last 22 winners having took their chance in the Aintree spectacular in April.
That’s a positive for this year’s National finishers Walk in The Mill (fourth), One For Arthur (sixth) and Vieux Lion Rouge (15th).
Ballyoptic and Vintage Clouds also contested the 2019 running of the world’s greatest steeplechase, but both came to grief.
Outside of Aintree form, four of the last 14 British trained winners ran in the previous season’s Haydock Grand National Trial.
Ballyoptic and Vieux Lion Rouge ran in the race back in February – but both were pulled-up. Ten of the last 21 winners had previously run in the Grand National.