Duke Of Lucca To Defend Listed Chase Title?

Grand National Meeting

Horse Racing
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Published: 11/04/2015
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Duke Of Lucca picked up last year`s betfred Listed Handicap Chase, the 25f prelude to the big race of the day, the Grand National. Phillip Hobbs` charge will once again line up for this race as he looks to defend his crown though whilst the field is smaller this year, it is also looking to be more competitive. The fourth placed finisher in last month`s Grade Three Byrne Group Plate, Buywise is the current favourite to take this event, available at 9/4 at bet365 for Evan Williams.

Whilst this will be Buywise`s second attempt at any distance over 3m, the way he picked up in the Byrne Group Plate suggests that he should be compatible with the rigours of the trip. Indeed, Aintree is a less labour intensive course than Cheltenham and the horse will more than likely be better suited to the flatter track here. Stepping down from graded to listed level will also see him in with a good chance with conditions also looking to be in his favour.

A former Grade Two winner back at the end of last season, this will be this uncomplicated type`s third handicap chase of the season, his Byrne Group Plate place following a fifth place finish in the Grade Three paddy Power Gold Cup. It may just be that he will also have a better chance with fewer rivals to see off.

Wonderful Charm sets off at top weight for Paul Nicholls, carrying a burden a full 10lbs heavier than the one Buywise is adorned with. Back in the handicaps following a series of runs at Grade One level including the Festival`s Ryanair Chase and Kempton`s King George, both betfred and Totesport have 11/2 on the Nicholls runner being first past the post this afternoon.

Punters looking to back this horse must way up the dramatic drop in the quality of his opposition against the mammoth burden that he has been ordered to carry and the fact that it will only be his third spin around such a trip. Wonderful Charm is also much better following a long break and is looking for his first triumph since his seasonal debut.

Duke Of Lucca, a 13/2 shot at bet365, has found himself in four handicaps already this season, two at this distance and two in two renewals of the Glenfarcas Cross Country Chase at 31f. The 10-year-old has failed to rule supreme on any of these outings.

Those looking to back this horse can take promise from the fact that he had failed to produce anything special prior to his victory here last year, just earning himself a second place at Ascot over 3m a full five months before his Aintree triumph. Duke Of Lucca should also enjoy returning to `normal` chase fences following his pair of runs over Cheltenham`s Cross Country obstacles.

Elsewhere, Vino Griego will be looking to reverse the form on Duke Of Lucca after the Hobbs horse stole victory from this horse in this race last season by a head. This season, Vino Griego has fallen from graded status to listed company trying to latch onto a victory. He is yet to connect with such a success and can be backed at the best price of 7/1 to put an end to his bad run of form. This price is available at numerous bookies.

Raajih looks to be the best of the outsiders at 20/1 (bet365 and others) whilst Action Master, in the familiar Jim Beaumont, Douglas Pryde and Quona Thomson colours, looks to secure his first chase win since 2011. An unlikely feat at the best price of 66/1 (Betvictor, Skybet, sportingbet).

Any odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of publishing (11/04/2015) but are subject to change.

11/04/2015     © Frixo 2017

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