Ceebee previews the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree on 8 December and has bets on Crievehill and Shanahan’s Turn.
Grand Sefton Handicap Chase
Sat 8th December – Aintree 2m5f (National Course)
42 entries for a max field of 30.
Interestingly only 11 went to post last year as the ground was heavy. We’ve seen the Ladbrokes Trophy cut up pretty bad; with the Becher, Caspian Caviar, Hennessy meeting etc. all alternatives a week either side maybe this will also have less than 16 on the day.
Last year it was National fences experience to the fore as Gas Line Boy (5th in the previous National) beat Ultragold (Topham winner the previous Apr). It's that very line of form I like as Ultragold came back in the spring to claim his second Topham Chase and 4L behind him, in a clear second place was Shanahan’s Turn. The former G2 novice chase and Galway Plate winner had dropped 20lbs to 134 before returning to form. The Topham was run on ground he would not have liked so he’s gets marked up for the effort. Prior to Aintree, on his first start since a wind-op he ran ok at the Cheltenham Festival - a run that hinted more was to come.
This season Shanahan’s Turn returned to action at Chepstow where he chased home Charbel and Baron Alco. How hot is that form? That pair were subsequently a closeup Ascot G2 2nd and Betvictor Gold Cup winner on their next starts.
ST disappointed next time but the 2mile trip on good ground at Cheltenham was not a good test for this guy. He probably did too much in front early and was equally crap in the same race last year so I don’t mind erasing the effort. He can bounceback when stepped back up in trip over the unique fences he enjoyed in the spring.
As low as 10/1 in a few places the 16/1 looks very generous - it's worth getting involved early.
Crievehill is a deserving favourite but at 12/1 the field there’s a little bit of value in playing early. He goes off 7/1 as the race cuts up and more people land on his likeable profile. He holds no other entries.
Crievehill chased home a well handicapped and classy Javert on his seasonal reappearance. Javert since then has finished 2nd to Frodon in the Old Roan and 5th in the BetVictor Gold Cup off a 10lb higher mark. The 3rd went close next time out; 4th has won since and the 5th home has as well. Strong form. Crievehill was consistent last year as a 6yo novice finishing 1st or 2nd in 5 middle distance handicap chases. Now a year older he can take a big prize and this one - soft ground 2m5f looks ideal. Twiston Davies has a terrific record around the National course with a CV that includes multiple Becher, National, and Topham chases.
Quickly to some of the opposition - I won’t go through all of them, but…
Frodon won’t run with an open looking King George on the horizon.
Gold Present didn’t get around in the Topham and is still harshly handicapped on last year’s successes.
Art Mauresque probably won’t get his required good ground and has disappointed off lower marks more than once.
Bun Doran got 9lbs for winning what looked a weak race last time and this trip isn’t certain to suit.
Warriors Tale has a race in him but probably when back over 3miles.
Born Survivor needs good ground and Skelton mentioned the Topham after his last win – the yard like to aim long term and arrive fresh so it’s far from guaranteed he’ll run in this – he’s on the shortlist if he does to be honest.
Top Gamble isn’t good fresh.
Present Man has won his target for the season so I’ll be avoiding.
Kylemore Lough hasn’t won since his novice days in Mar’16.
King’s Odyssey runs at Newbury instead. So too does Ballyboley.
Captain Redbeard probably wants further and is at his best at Haydock.
Voix D’Eau wasn’t good on his first start for Lucinda Russell. Missed Approach wants another mile.
Dare to Endeavour and West Wizard will be out of the handicap.
Valtor has yet to race in the UK.
Romain de Senam might be interesting having dropped a few lbs but like stablemate Frodon has a Caspian Caviar entry.
Kilcrea Vale was 14L behind the selection in the Topham and will run here without a prep.
1pt e/w Crievehill at 12/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral
1.5pt e/w Shanahan’s Turn at 16/1 with William Hill and Bet365