Beecher Chase ante post preview – Dare to Endeavour the bet

CeeBee returns with his first preview of the 2016/17 National Hunt Season and he likes Dare to Endeavour in the Beecher Chase at Aintree next Saturday.

Just the 60 odd entries for the Becher Chase on Saturday of next week, 3rd December. The 3m2f Aintree handicap chase is a favourite betting race of mine. I guess what attracts me is a combination of 1) it’s a spectacle over the National fences, 2) usually tackled by experienced sorts with loads of form in the book (who doesn’t like some homework!), 3) often won by big priced horses which is the end of the market I tend to look towards and 4) most interestingly of all it’s a prep race / stepping stone for a race back here in 4mts time.

The last point is key. The Becher is used as a practice round for Grand National bound horses who are eager to get their eye in over the unique fences whilst also keeping a few pound to themselves rather than showing their hand to the handicapper. This is reflected in the results. The last 6 winners have all carried less than 10-12. Most of them trying to get a few pounds of a rise which may have been needed to get into the big race.

This can help us eliminate many of the top rated horses entered. What also saves us going through all 60 entries is the fact the one I like has already been declared a certain runner. Not just that, he’s been declared to have had this race as his big season target for some time now.

Dare to Endeavour was 2nd here twelve months ago and Eric McNamara has been plotting revenge.

The 9yr old is set to carry 10-2 if the top weight, the Last Samuri stays in. He races off a mark (135) which is just 1lb higher than last years. With that Aintree experience under his belt and a better preparation I certainly don’t see his handicap mark preventing him getting involved. Last year his prep run was a pulled up effort in the Munster National whereas this year he finished a decent 5th of 15. That was a competitive race, on ground probably too lively for him so it was a respectable effort. This is especially the case when you hear the trainer admit that even back in October they were thinking about the Becher.

Last year’s Becher form worked out fairly well. 4th home, Soll, won next time at Sandown whilst 5th home, Vics Canvas, ran a mighty race to finish 3rd in the Grand National. Despite Dare to Endeavour going off at 33/1 that day, the race was no fluke.

For the stats buffs – only 1 of the last 11 winners was less than 9yrs old. 7 of the past 10 Becher winners had experience of the National fences. He ticks both those boxes as well as likely ground (softer the better) and getting the trip.

Advised Bet:

2pts e/w Dare to Endeavour at 20/1 with Betfred and Coral 


Some of the others I could make a case for:

Knock House makes his debut for a new yard. That’s a formula that worked in this race last year. Looks fairly handicapped on his best efforts also.

Ziga Boy is still just 7yrs old. Now just 4lbs higher than his SkyBet Chase (form held up by Buywise and Coologue since) winning mark he should be able to win again very soon. The King yard are going fairly well too. The horse’s seasonal reappearance, 5th at Bangor, was ok without being great. His aggressive front running style is usually a good thing over the National course.

Michael Scudamore has had 3 winners and 2 places from his last 6 runners. Two of the winners were making their seasonal reappearance. This bodes well for either of Kingswell Theatre or Streets of Promise if either of them line up.

Thunder and Roses has changed yard recently. Joining Mouse will hardly do him any harm. As a past Irish National winner the trip won’t be an issue.

Some of those I don’t like:

Silvergrove was a big improver last year but disappointed as favourite last time. Yard form a question mark.

One for Arthur was badly beaten on his two trips south last term. Up 10lbs for winning at Kelso will cause problems.

Bob Ford needs it hock-deep.

Alvarado has course form but the 11yr old has not won since Nov’13.

Gordon Elliott’s multiple entries all hold Troytown entries also so hard to know who will or won’t represent his yard. Educated guess suggests not too many of them will travel.

Cogry will need more luck than he’s had recently but is traditionally over bet. He hasn’t won any of his last 8 chases and started at single figures in 6 of them.

Beeves turning 10 and fairly highly tried will need a career best here. Winning at Hexham in June is far removed from Aintree in December.

The Last Samuri if serious about a return to Aintree in April will not be 100% fit and ready here. It’s a valuable pot fair enough but getting another 6 or 7lb hike would give him no chance in the spring. Similar comment applies to Saint Are.

A few more in here like Triolo D’Alene, Wounded Warrior, Double Ross, Hadrians Approach and Virak will come out having ran yesterday. The market will take a bit more shape then and the 20/1 abut Dare to Endeavour will disappear.

Recap - Advised Bet:

2pts e/w Dare to Endeavour at 20/1 with Betfred and Coral