Co-Favourites Line Up In The Topham Chase

Grand National Meeting

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Published: 10/04/2015
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The maximum of 30 runners go to post in today`s Topham Chase. This Grade Three handicap takes place over the National fences, the only key difference between the two being that whilst the Grand National is set over 4m, 3f, the Topham is only 2m, 5f long. David Pipe, who is three-handed in the race, saddles one of the co-favourites, Monetaire. bet365 currently have the best price on this nine-year-old Byrne Group Plate runner-up at 10/1. This price is also available at other bookmakers.

Monetaire was just a length-and-a-quarter behind the eventual winner, Topham rival Darna (18/1 - bet365), when 2lbs better off. This time around the Pipe charge will be 4lbs down on Darna which is sure to help should the pair be involved in another head-to-head war of attrition in the closing stages. Indeed, that was his second place finish at Cheltenham and his love of that undulating track means that he should have the stamina to see him relish the big fences and potential chaos that awaits him in the Topham.

This should allay any panic around him having only won over 17f. The Allan Stennett-owned two-time chase winner should enjoy himself around the Aintree course, especially with conditions to suit. Whether or not he will be able to justify favouritism, we`ll have to wait and see.

Pipe`s horse is joined at the head of the market by Rajdhani Express, who is also available at 10/1 at a number of bookmakers, including bet365. Nicky Henderson`s eight-year-old is also something of a Cheltenham specialist winning a listed handicap chase in Gloucestershire back in 2013 and continuing to impress at the track. Whilst he could only manage to seal eighth in the Byrne Group Plate, Rajdhani Express was only seven lengths behind Darna and could be one to watch here.

In his favour is that both his owner, Robert Waley-Cohen, and his jockey, Sam Waley-Cohen, know Aintree inside out and will be looking to continue their positive record on the track. With Trio D`Arlene (2013) and Ma Filleule (2014), Henderson has taken this race in the last two years and this could be a winning combination.

The only thing that goes against the horse, another who is sure to go on this good-to-soft turf, is the fact that he has been assigned the second heaviest burden at 11st 11lbs. Only three horses in the last 15 years have taken the glory in the Topham carrying handicap weights over 11st. A 3lb claimer, Waley-Cohen lessens the potential feat though 11st 8lbs still might be too much of a task to overcome.

Ruben Cotter is the third and final 10/1 co-favourite, again up for grabs at bet365 and a number of other betting establishments. The Paul Nicholls charge has only had five rides over fences since his 2013 novice season though he sure is a classy entrant, having picked up the Silver Bowl Handicap Chase at Kempton after placing in the Bet365 handicap chase at Newbury despite being hampered early on.

A result of being so underexposed is that he goes off at a mark of 142, that translates as 11st 1lb. The handicapper has been much nicer to this nine-year-old and this could prove critical. With his Kempton win at 20f and a Doncaster triumph at over 3m, Ruben Cotter should really love this challenge. Whether or not it may prove just a touch too soft for him remains to be seen.

Elsewhere Standing Ovation is the best backed horse of the day, into 14/1 (Numerous) whilst Benny`s Mist, who has twice been placed over the National fences, is a 16/1 shout at a variety of bookmakers.

Any odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of publishing (10/04/2015) but are subject to change.

10/04/2015     © Frixo 2017

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