Just four horses among the 47 holding entries for the Becher Chase have previously won around Aintree and Saint Are is the only one to have done so twice. This is a leading reason why 20/1 appears fine value that he lands the recognised Grand National trial on December 6th.
It is interesting that Saint Are moved stables over the summer from Tim Vaughan to Tom George and on his first start for his new trainer, the eight-year-old was an eye-catching third behind Sam Winner at Cheltenham last month.
Paddy Brennan was as motionless as any of the jockeys four out and it seemed that the horse needed the run as he emptied out entering the home straight.
A break of a few weeks should overcome this particular obstacle and the handicapper has also been generous by knocking Saint Are down another 2lb for the run.
Therefore, he is set to compete off 127 at Aintree, which is 10lb less than when previously victorious at the course in 2012.
A further boost to Saint Are’s chances would be if Rocky Creek missed the Ascot engagement, which is more than likely given that he retains a spot in the field for the Hennessy Gold Cup and the races are only a week apart.
Rocky Creek currently tops the Becher Chase field and is officially rated 150, meaning any horse rated less than 130 will have to take part from out of the handicap. If Paul Nicholls’ Grand National hope is withdrawn, the handicap line will lower.
If Rocky Creek runs, Saint Are will effectively have to run off 130 at Aintree, which means he will have to run to a higher level than he is currently rated by the handicapper. Although, this isn’t out of the ordinary.
Mountainous won the last Welsh National from 5lb out of the handicap, as things stand Saint Are is only 3lb outside and arguably he is better than 127 in any case.
Saint Are has course form, looks well handicapped and has had the benefit of a prep run this season. Plenty looks in his favour ahead of the Becher Chase.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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