Grand Sefton Handicap Chase preview: Ultragold the one to be on at Aintree

14th September 2021

This 2019 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase preview includes Ultragold

Ultragold has a terrific record at Aintree and become well-treated, so looks worth a wager at the 6/1 on offer with Betfred to land the spoils in the 2m 5f Grand Sefton Handicap Chase run over the Grand National fences there on Saturday (15:15).

The Colin Tizzard trained 11-year-old has won twice and been placed on two occasions from five starts at the Merseyside over the unique spruce fences.

Those successes have come in the last two renewals of the Topham Chase – run over the same trip as this.

After gamely bearing Katnap by a length in 2017 off a mark of 136, the son of Kapgarde retained his crown off 5lb higher 12 months later when staying on strongly to get the better of Shanahan’s Turn by 3 3/4 lengths off 131.

Ultragold also ran a blinder in the 2017 running of the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase when a keeping on 4 1/2 lengths second of 12 to Gas Line Boy off the same rating.

His best effort last season also came over course and distance on this card 12 months ago. Ultragold competed in the 3m 1f Grade 3 Becher Chase and finished a fine, keeping on six-length third of 18 to Walk In The Mill off 148.

This class 2 affair is less competitive and he’s able to race in it off a reduced rating of 144. It gives Ultragold leading claims at the weights on the pick of his form.

Although pulled-up on seasonal reappearance in a Grade 3 at Ascot, far better can now be expected now returned to his favourite stomping ground.

With underfoot conditions also holding no fears, there’s simply nothing not to like about the chances of Ultragold.

Flying Angel feared most in Grand Sefton Handicap Chase

Gloucestershire handler Nigel Twiston-Davies saddled Little Josh to land the spoils in 2012, and looks to have a leading contender this time around in the shape of Flying Angel.

This eight-year-old has won four of his 21 starts over fences, and enjoyed his finest hour when winning the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase on the opening day of the 2017 Grand National meeting here.

The son of Arcadio took up the running five from home and, after getting headed on the run-in, rallied gamely to get back up close home and beat Cloudy Dream by a length off an official rating of 150.

Flying Angel got put up to 157 and subsequently struggled in his next five starts, resulting in connections giving him a wind operation.

Although he failed to get his head in front last season, he ran well when runner-up at Ascot off 142.

Flying Angel also ran a seven-length fifth of 24 to Beware The Bear in the Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival off the same rating.

He was far from disgraced when sixth of 27 to Cadmium in the Topham Chase over course and distance, and comes into this on the back on an impressive success at Ascot when beating Sky Pirate by six lengths off 140.

Flying Angel won with tons in hand and is due to race off 6lb higher in future assignments. He gets into the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase under a 3lb penalty, so is well-in at the weights.

It makes him one of the best handicapped horses in the race, and Flying Angel is 5/1 with Coral to follow-up as a result. The big question now is whether he can back that up, given his overall patchy profile.

Irish raider Gwencily Berbas appeals each-way

Of those at bigger odds, Irish raider Gwencily Berbas is a fascinating contender on just his third start since joining Eric McNamara.

This eight-year-old has some useful form to his name as a hurdler when in the care of Andrew Fleming.

Gwencily Berbas won a Grade 3 at Naas and finished a fine third to Arctic Fire in a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse to officially be rated 157.

He has won just one race over fences, when beating Jimmy Two Times by 3 3/4 lengths at Roscommon back in June 2017 off an official rating of 135.

Gwencily Berbas has spent plenty of time on the sidelines since then and clearly not been the easiest to train.

However, the son of Nickname should he retained plenty of ability two starts back at Limerick when an eye-catching fourth of 16 to handicap blot Cabaret Queen in the Munster National at Limerick.

Gwencily Berbas travelled well in mid-division, but got impeded when trying to make a move and also made a couple of costly errors before fading late on to be beaten 26 lengths.

He was sent off a heavily-backed 9/2 favourite on the back of that in a competitive 11-runner affair at Punchestown, only to get brought down at the fourth last when seemingly going well on the heels of the leaders.

As Gewncily Berbas runs in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase off what looks a workable mark of 133 and the booking of Adrian Heskin is also very eye-catching, because he was on board for both hurdle successes, he shouldn’t be underestimated.

Now the pair are reunited for the first time since June 2016, odds of 25/1 with Paddy Power, who are paying four places, appeal most from an each-way betting perspective.

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