Topham Handicap Chase
16:00 Aintree, Friday
Live on ITV
1. Ibleo (Venetia Williams/ Charlie Deutsch)
Progressed rapidly over fences this season, winning cosily at Sandown/Doncaster before running well to finish a staying-on third in Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival. Worth a go at this trip.
2. Magic Saint (Paul Nicholls/ Harry Cobden)
Proved better than ever when putting up a high-class effort to win a Cheltenham handicap (2m) in November but disappointed upped in grade at Newbury latest and probably better over a shorter trip.
3. Two For Gold (Kim Bailey/ David Bass)
Tough and reliable chaser who has finished out of the frame only once over fences. Others look better treated as a result and not the most fluent of jumpers.
4. Caribean Boy (Nicky Henderson/ Daryl Jacob)
Taking winner of 20f Newbury Grade 2 in November and caught the eye in the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival 3 weeks ago, coming home well in a steadily-run race. High on shortlist.
5. Modus (Paul Nicholls/ Jonjo O’Neill jnr)
Very smart chaser who defied 16-month absence with ready win in 20f handicap chase here in November and fared best of those held up when third in Grand Sefton over C&D following month. Player.
6. Robin des Foret (Willie Mullins/ Brian Hayes)
Strong traveller who often finds less than looks likely but dug deep to snap a long losing run in a minor event at Clonmel last month. Likely will prove vulnerable up this long run-in, though.
7. Huntsman Son (Alex Hales/ Kielan Woods)
Made light of an 18-month absence with impressive victory in 19f Wetherby listed handicap chase on return and better than bare result at Cheltenham both starts since. Can go well.
8. Livelovelaugh (Willie Mullins/ Patrick Mullins)
Better than ever when placed in handicaps at Leopardstown last 2 starts and took extremely well to these fences when mid-division in the 2019 Grand National (didn’t stay). Big run expected.
9. Precious Cargo (Nicky Henderson/ Nico de Boinville)
Failed to meet expectations since impressing on chase debut at Newbury last season but shaped better than the result would suggest when fifth at Warwick 6 weeks ago, making rapid headway.
10. Glen Forsa (Mick Channon/ Jonathan Burke)
Very smart novice in 2018/19. Lightly raced since and mostly disappointing, including in the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival 3 weeks ago.
11. Visioman (Henry de Bromhead/ Rachael Blackmore)
Boasts a good strike rate over fences (4-9) and was in decent heart in the autumn, winning at around 2½m at Kilbeggan and Limerick. Recent return over hurdles should leave him spot on fitness-wise.
12. Snugsborough Hall (Liam Cusack/ Derek O’Connor)
Most progressive as a novice and turned in his most encouraging effort of the season when seventh of 14 in handicap chase at Leopardstown (21.4f, good, 25/1) 33 days ago. Probably no back number.
13. Dunvegan (Pat Fahy/ Bryan Cooper)
Creditable fourth on handicap chase debut at Punchestown in November and bounced back from a couple of disappointing efforts (seemingly failed to stay 3m) when third at Gowran. More needed on balance.
14. Kauto Riko (Tom Gretton/ Sean Bowen)
Winless since 2018 but is very useful on his day and returned after a wind op with good fourth of 16 in 20f handicap at Cheltenham in November, though getting going too late to land a blow.
15. Storm Control (Kerry Lee/ Richard Patrick)
Has had an excellent campaign, winning twice at Cheltenham and respectable fifth in Kim Muir. Bold-jumping front-runner who could go well if getting into a decent rhythm over this shorter trip.
16. Ravenhill Road (Sue Smith/ Ryan Mania)
Looked at least as good as ever when making all at Doncaster last month. This is much tougher from a 9 lb higher mark, however, and has not always been a fluent jumper.
17. Senior Citizen (Alan King/ Adrian Heskin)
Coped really well with the demands of a big-field handicap when seventh in the Grand Sefton over C&D, impressing with his accurate jumping. Creditable fourth at Newbury since and frame claims.
18. Pink Eyed Pedro (David Brace/ Jack Tudor (3))
Likeable chaser but found a good run of form coming to a halt in Grand Sefton over C&D in December and well held back over hurdles 3 months later.
19. Relentless Dreamer (Rebecca Curtis/ Nick Scholfield)
Sparingly raced in 2018/19 but shaped encouragingly when third at Chepstow on last season’s return. Reportedly finished sore on this year’s reappearance and well held back over hurdles 3 weeks ago.
20. My Way (Paul Nicholls/ Bryony Frost)
Blinkered and finally got off the mark over fences when making all in Kempton handicap but was hammered by the handicapper and duly struggled there next time.
21. Lust For Glory (Nicky Henderson/ Sam Waley-Cohen)
Twice a winner over fences this season but struggled back in a handicap at Sandown last time and others make more appeal.
22. Morning Vicar (Nicky Henderson/ James Bowen)
Shaped like a non-stayer in the Kim Muir (3¼m) at the Cheltenham Festival so will be suited by dropping back in trip here. Others have more appealing profiles but is not handicapped out of things.
23. Outlander (Richard Spencer/ Darragh O’Keeffe)
Classy chaser for Gordon Elliott in his pomp who took a small step back in the right direction on cross-country debut at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. Well held on belated return at Ascot 12 days ago.
24. Realm Keeper (Venetia Williams/ Robert Dunne)
Fairly useful ex-French chaser who has finally got his act together for this yard, suited by drop in trip to win at Fontwell and Carlisle. Will find this much more competitive, however.
25. Court Master (Michael Scudamore/ Brendan Powell)
Steadily progressive chaser who stayed on strongly to score over 2¾m at Kelso last month. Likeable type but a 5 lb higher mark (2 lb out of weights) in a stronger race demands more.
26. Tiquer (Alan Jones/ Tom O’Brien)
Veteran who shaped as if retaining his ability after 13 months off when runner-up at Chepstow in January but didn’t jump well and easy to oppose from out of the handicap.
27. Sir Jack Yeats (Richard Spencer/ James Best)
Fairly useful chaser who was runner-up in Grand Sefton over C&D but found good run of form coming to an end at Fakenham and struggled back over hurdles next time. 4 lb out of the handicap.
28. Zalvados (Oliver Greenall/ Danny McMenamin)
Arrives in good form but is a frustrating sort who won’t be suited by this long run-in and is 6 lb out of the handicap.