The 2018 Becher Chase entries have been whittled down with 18 still in contention. The race, which is run over the same Grand National fences, is always a big attraction. Plenty of trainers and connections see it as a way of testing their horses stamina over the course. Also a handicapped race, the top weight of 11-12 has been handed to Don Poli.

Trained by Gordon Elliott, Don Poli hasn’t raced since February 2017. His performance, if he runs, following that 664-day absence will be interesting. Is it an indication that he may go to the 2019 Grand National if he does well? Elliott did have three other entries for the Becher Chase. However, at the latest declaration stage, only Noble Endeavor remains. Irish Grand National winner General Principle and Monbeg Notorious were both scratched.

Like all major races, the competition will be fierce. Blaklion from Nigel Twiston-Davies will be making his seasonal return. Connections are looking for a solid come-back after his disappointing Grand National in April, when he was brought down. But Twiston-Davies has another solid iron in the fire. Ballyoptic is the big hope. A fourth place finish in the RSA at Cheltenham and a second place in the Scottish National solidified his chasing claims. He is also second favourite with NRNB odds of 5/1 with Bet365. Blaklion is the favourite with odds of 4/1.

In all, 15 different have entries which is a very good spread. All too often we are seeing the larger trainers dominate the field so to see so many get a shot at the Becher is reassuring. One of those trainers is Paul Nicholls who is giving Bryony Frost her shot on Present Man. Currently third in the betting with odds of 8/1, the pair have a solid partnership. They finished last season with a third place in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown and started this season with a win at Wincanton.

The full list of the Becher Chase entries is as follows:

  • Don Poli – Gordon Elliott
  • Blaklion – Nigel Twiston-Daives
  • Ballyoptic – Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • Noble Endeavor – Gordon Elliott
  • Present Man – Paul Nicholls
  • Ultragold – Colin Tizzard
  • Missed Approach – Warren Greatrex
  • Vieux Lion Rouge – David Pipe
  • Just A Par – James Moffatt
  • Crosshue Boy – Sean Doyle
  • Regal Flow – Bob Buckler
  • Walk In The Mill – Robert Walford
  • Call It Magic – Ross O’Sullivan
  • Highland Lodge – James Moffatt
  • Fine Theatre – Paul Nolan
  • Mustmeetalady – Jonjo O’Neill
  • Federici – Donald McCain
  • Dare To Endeavour – Patrick Griffin

The Becher Chase takes place at Aintree on Saturday 8th December 2018. It is run over 3m2f and is worth £150,000 with £84K going to the winner.