• 2017 Becher Chase betting at Aintree has Blaklion bets at the head of it, with Vieux Lion Rouge odds also eye-catching

    Vieux Lion Rouge set for Becher Chase defence but Pipe fears Blaklion

    Vieux Lion Rouge odds of 10/1 in 2017 Becher Chase betting

    Hurdle Bet report on the 2017 Becher Chase betting at Aintree with Vieux Lion Rouge odds and Blaklion bets prominent.

    Last year’s winner Vieux Lion Rouge is among 24 five-day confirmations for the Grade 3 Becher Chase at Aintree on Saturday (13:30), one of two races over the famous Grand National fences, and currently 10/1 with BetVictor to retain his crown.

    David Pipe’s charge, who is set to carry 11st 5lb, stayed on gamely to win last year’s running of the 3m 2f handicap when defeating 2015 scorer Highland Lodge (Jimmy Moffat, 10st 5lb, 14/1 Betvictor) by a short-head in thrilling fashion.

    Vieux Lion Rouge, who also captured last season’s Grade 3 Grand National Trial at Haydock before finishing sixth in the big one, is bidding to become the third dual winner of the race following on from Into The Red (1994 and 1996) and Hello Bud (2010 and 2012).

    The eight-year-old was fourth on his reappearance behind subsequent Betfair Chase scorer Bristol De Mai in the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby last month, beaten over 43 lengths, but has delighted his handler since.

    Improved since Wetherby

    The 2017 Becher Chase betting has Vieux Lion Rouge odds at a tasty price after he won this Aintree race last year.

    “Vieux Lion Rouge ran well at Wetherby and has improved for that run,” Pipe said.

    “Blaklion looks the one to beat and it’s a case of the softer the ground, the better for Vieux Lion Rouge.

    “Touch wood, he jumps the Grand National fences better than park fences and I think we go to Aintree on Saturday with a good chance.

    “The horse hasn’t got the trip in the Grand National for the past two years, although he ran well for longer this year.

    “He is eight turning nine and hopefully that will help him come April next year.”

    Blaklion bets make him clear favourite

    The 2017 Becher Chase betting is headed by Blaklion bets.

    Grand National fourth Blaklion (11st 6lb) is clear favourite with bookmakers in the 2017 Becher Chase betting and as short as 3/1 with Paddy Power.

    This follows an excellent half-a-length second to stablemate Bristol De Mai in the Charlie Hall, where he finished miles in front of Vieux Lion Rouge and is now only 5lb worse off with that rival.

    Blaklion’s trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the race a record five times.

    With the Charlie Hall form franked by Bristol De Mai bolting up in that Haydock Grade 1, Blaklion bets entitle him to favourtism here.

    Nicholls to be represented by As De Mee

    Course winner As De Mee also features in the 2017 Becher Chase betting.

    Somerset handler Paul Nicholls has two entries going forward, headed by last year’s impressive Grand Sefton Handicap Chase victor As De Mee (11st 2lb, 10/1 BetVictor).

    Scottish Grand National hero Vicente (11st 4lb) is also engaged, although he is set contest the Grade 2 (14:35) over the Mildmay Course.

    “As De Mee goes in the Becher Chase,” Nicholls said.

    “I have left him in the Grand Sefton as well, just in case the ground gets very testing, but I intend to run him in the longer race.

    “He has run three times over the Grand National fences, winning the Grand Sefton last year, but I am confident that he will stay the Becher Chase trip.

    “He won over three-and-a-quarter miles at Kelso earlier this season and I have been pleased with him. As De Mee loves the fences and the Becher looks the right race for him.”

    The Last Samuri tops weights

    Another to do have done at well at Aintree and in the 2017 Becher Chase betting is The Last Samuri.

    The weights are headed by Kim Bailey’s The Last Samuri (11st 12lb, 10/1 Betvictor), who was runner-up in the 2016 Grand National and third in this race last year.

    Several others who completed in this year’s National also remain engaged – Gas Line Boy (fifth, Ian Williams, 10st 9lb), Lord Windermere (seventh, Jim Culloty, 10st 11lb) and Goodtoknow (13th, Kerry Lee, 10st 9lb).

    Gas Line Boy is the shortest in the betting and a general 10/1 shot.

    Lord Windermere among five Irish entries

    Lord Windermere, the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, is one of five Irish-trained entries.

    The Irish quintet is completed by 2016 Irish Grand National victor Rogue Angel (Mouse Morris, 10st 2lb), progressive eight-year-old Westerner Point (Edward O’Grady, 10st 1lb), Portrait King (Patrick Griffin, 9st 11lb) and Dare To Endeavour (Eric McNamara, 9st 4lb).

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