2021 Topham Chase Preview and Betting Tips: Take the 12/1 for this each-way bet
Run over the intermediate distance of 2 miles 5 furlongs, the Topham Chase provides an opportunity for horses lacking the requisite stamina for the Grand National to test their mettle over 18 of the most iconic obstacles in horse racing.
A total of 32 horses stood their ground at the latest declaration stage, but the ante-post market is well formed, so we’ve had a look at the leading contenders and picked out a double figure price to back in the Topham Chase ante-post market.
The luckless Livelovelaugh (6/1) is on a losing run of 16, stretching back over three years, but went agonisingly close to a return to the winners’ enclosure at Leopardstown last month. The winner that day, Mitchouka, had previously finished a close fifth in the valuable Matheson Handicap Chase, also at Leopardstown, the previous month, so the form bears close inspection. However, Livelovelaugh was rated 137 at Leopardstown, but is now rated 148 on this side of the Irish Sea, so could hardly be called well handicapped.
Farclas (8/1) is just 1lb better off for 2¼ lengths with Livelovelaugh on their running at Leopardstown in February, but again ran well when second in the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival. He, too, is 6lb higher in the weights this time, which tempers enthusiasm for him, as does his lack of his experience over the National fences.
Speaking of experience over the National fences, Senior Citizen (12/1) only weakened on the run-in when seventh in the Grand Sefton Chase, over course and distance, in November. He was a close, staying-on fourth in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury last month on his only start since and, although 3lb higher in the weights here, his jumping ability should stand him in good stead. His two chase wins have come on good and soft, so he should have no problem with underfoot conditions either.
Six-time champion trainer Nicky Henderson has yet to win the Grand National, yet has won this race five times, including three in a row in 2013, 2014 and 2015. At the time of writing, he has four entries, the most interesting of which appears to be Morning Vicar (12/1). The beautifully-bred 7-year-old weakened approaching the second-last fence in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, so dropping back down in distance is in his favour. He has time on his side after just five starts over fences.
At the other end of the handicap, Ibleo (16/1) must defy the welter burden of 11 st 12lb if he is to win on his first attempt beyond 2 miles 4 furlongs. He has been raised 3lb for finishing third in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, but came from miles back on that occasion, suggesting that stepping up in distance won’t do him any harm. Indeed, he has been a model of consistency since sent over fences early last year and, while he lacks experience over the National fences, jumps well, so appeals as one of the more likely winners.
Topham Chase Betting Tip
A certain amount of luck in running is always required to win the Topham Chase but, barring accidents, it’s hard to escape the chances of Senior Citizen, who already has a pretty solid profile and can reasonably be expected to improve a little for his Newbury comeback. If his early season form with Espoir De Romay is anything like reliable, he could be absolutely thrown in!
Selection: Senior Citizen (12/1 with 888Sport)
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