The Last Samuri tops weights for Aintree’s Betfred Becher Chase on Saturday, December 3

Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri heads the weights for the £140,000 Betfred Becher Chase (59 entries – up from 47 entries in both 2015 & 2014 and 43 in 2013), the first of two races over the famous Grand National fences at Aintree on Betfred Becher Chase Community Day, Saturday, December 3.
The Last Samuri (Kim Bailey, 11st 12lb, 10/1 with the sponsor) was fifth on his comeback this season in the Grade One JNWine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on November 5 and is one of three entries for owners Paul & Clare Rooney.
Their colours could also be carried in the Betfred Becher Chase by Betfred’s 8/1 favourite Three Faces West (Philip Hobbs, 11st), who routed the opposition in three-mile handicap chase at Haydock Park last weekend, and recent Hexham scorer Beeves (Jennie Candlish, 10st 4lb, 20/1).
Owners Ann & Alan Potts look to have two leading contenders in Viconte Du Noyer (11st 7lb, Colin Tizzard, 12/1), who relished the step up to just shy of three and a half miles in a valuable handicap chase at Cheltenham earlier this month, and 2015 Irish Grand National third Sizing Coal (Jim Dreaper IRE, 10st 3lb, 12/1).
Highland Lodge (Jimmy Moffatt, 10st 4lb, 16/1) is on course to try and become the first back-to-back winner of the race after a two and a quarter length victory over Dare To Endeavour (10st 2lb, 16/1) last year.
Dare To Endeavour’s trainer Eric McNamara is hoping his charge can go one better on December 3 following two good performances so far this season. The nine-year-old was not beaten far in a handicap hurdle at Listowel in September and last time out finished fifth behind Tiger Roll in the Munster National at Limerick on October 9.
McNamara said: “The Betfred Becher Chase is Dare To Endeavour’s big target for the season. He schooled over fences this week and jumped super, so all being well he will be there.
“I thought he ran well at Limerick in a very competitive race, especially given the ground was quick enough for him.
“The big Aintree fences bring out the best in him and hopefully there will be a nice ease in the ground. The softer the ground the better really. If he gets that, we would be hoping for a really good run.
“We are hoping to get him high enough rated for the Randox Health Grand National this season and winning the Becher will obviously be a big help in that regard.
“He is that type of horse in that he is an exceptionally good jumper who stays well and we need to use that to bring out the best in him.”
There are 14 Irish-trained entries in total in the Betfred Becher Chase. Gordon Elliott’s six-strong team includes Grand National sixth Ucello Conti (11st 1lb, 14/1) and Cheltenham Festival scorer Empire Of Dirt (11st 4lb, 16/1), while Mouse Morris’s trio features the last two winners of the Irish Grand National in Rogue Angel (10st 12lb, 25/1) and Thunder And Roses (10st 11lb, 33/1).
Other contenders include bet365 Gold Cup winner The Young Master (Neil Mulholland, 11st 3lb, 10/1), Shutthefrontdoor (Jonjo O’Neill, 11st 1lb, 14/1) and Firebird Flyer(Evan Williams, 10st 8lb, 14/1), who landed the Midlands Grand National in March.
Betfred Becher Chase – sponsors bet: 8 Three Faces West; 10 The Last Samuri, The Young Master; 12 Sizing Coal, Viconte du Noyer; 14 Firebird Flyer, Shutthefrontdoor, Ucello Conti; 16 Alvarado, Cogry, Dare To Endeavour, Empire of Dirt, Gas Line Boy, Highland Lodge, Mysteree, One For Arthur, Ruben Cotter, Saint Are, Shuil Royale, Silvergrove, Vieux Lion Rouge, Virak, Wounded Warrior; 20 Beeves, Bless The Wings, Cocktails At Dawn, Double Ross, Dromnea, Gentleman Jon, Hadrian’s Approach, Killer Crow, Knock House, Midnight Prayer, Perfect Candidate, Seventh Sky, Streets of Promise, Vivaldi Collonges, Ziga Boy; 25 Clarcam, Federici, Lamb Or Cod, Milborough, Potters Cross, Rogue Angel, Smooth Stepper, Straidnahanna, Subtle Grey, Triolo d’Alene; 33 Aachen, Beforeall, Bob Ford, Godsmejudge, Kingswell Theatre, Mad Brian, No Buts, Portrait King, Thunder And Roses; 40 Financial Climate, Howlongisafoot, Vikekhal.
¼ 1-2-3-4
 
Betfred Becher Chase Specials – sponsors bet: 100/1 Any horse to win 2016 BetfredBecher Chase and 2017 Randox Health Grand National.
WIN ONLY
Popular chaser Third Intention (Colin Tizzard, 11st 12lb, 20/1) tops the weights for the other race over the Grand National fences on December 3, the £70,000 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase (25 entries) over two miles and five furlongs.
The nine-year-old proved himself as good as ever when winning the G2 188bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase on Aintree’s Mildmay Course last month.
Betfred Grand Sefton Handicap Chase – sponsors bet: 10 Le Mercurey; 12 Bennys Mist, La Vaticane, Quite By Chance, Troika Steps, Valadom; 14 Loose Chips; 16 Astracad, Cocktails At Dawn, Federici, Go Conquer, Henryville, More Buck’s, Ruben Cotter, Seefood, Seventh Sky; 20 Beeves, Dusky Lark, Fort Worth, Rathlin, Sew On Target, Third Intention, Vintage Vinnie; 25 Gallery Exhibition, Lord Wishes, Milgen Bay, No Buts, The Italian Yob; 33 Aachen, Howlongisafoot, Un Guet Apens, Witness In Court; 40 Rouge et Blanc; 50 Premier Grand Cru, Voyage A New York.
¼ 1-2-3-4
Schooling Fences
Grand National-style schooling fences are available for contenders for the two races.
Snow in the Lake District has created problems in getting vehicles in to extract the spruce and consequently, Aintree has had to prioritise which schooling fences to dress.
There are currently two Grand National-style schooling fences available at The Jockey Club Estates Lambourn training grounds. Two fences will also be available from Thursday, November 24, at the Curragh Racecourse in Ireland.
If the weather improves, Aintree will endeavour to also provide schooling fences at David Pipe’s yard and at Malton.
The Betfred Becher Handicap Chase
Grade 3, £140,000 total prize fund. Three miles and two furlongs (3m 1f 188y) over the Grand National fences, 1.35pm, Saturday, December 3, 2016. For six-year-olds and upwards. Penalties: after November 20, a winner of a chase 3lb; no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed November 15 (59 entries), weights revealed November 23. Five-day confirmations November 28, final declarations 10am, Thursday, December 1. Maximum field size 30 runners plus two reserves.
Horse
Age
Horse
Owner
Trainer
THE LAST SAMURI (IRE)
8
11-12
Paul & Clare Rooney
Kim Bailey
CLARCAM (FR)
6
11-08
Gigginstown House Stud
Gordon Elliott IRE
VIRAK (FR)
7
11-08
Hills of Ledbury (Aga)
Paul Nicholls
VICONTE DU NOYER (FR)
7
11-07
Ann & Alan Potts
Colin Tizzard
WOUNDED WARRIOR (IRE)
7
11-06
Gigginstown House Stud
Noel Meade IRE
VIVALDI COLLONGES (FR)
7
11-05
The Gi Gi Syndicate
Paul Nicholls
EMPIRE OF DIRT (IRE)
9
11-04
Gigginstown House Stud
Gordon Elliott IRE
THE YOUNG MASTER
7
11-03
Dajam & The Old Masters
Neil Mulholland
TRIOLO D’ALENE (FR)
9
11-03
Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr
Nicky Henderson
COCKTAILS AT DAWN
8
11-03
Robin Geffen & Sir John Ritblat
Nicky Henderson
SEVENTH SKY (GER)
9
11-02
Exors of the Late Mr John Heron
Charlie Mann
SHUIL ROYALE (IRE)
11
11-02
Phil Fry
Harry Fry
DOUBLE ROSS (IRE)
10
11-02
Options O Syndicate
Nigel Twiston-Davies
AACHEN
12
11-01
Tony Bloom
Venetia Williams
UCELLO CONTI (FR)
8
11-01
Simon Munir/Isaac Souede
Gordon Elliott IRE
SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR (IRE)
9
11-01
J P McManus
Jonjo O’Neill
THREE FACES WEST (IRE)
8
11-00
Paul & Clare Rooney
Philip Hobbs
PERFECT CANDIDATE (IRE)
9
1100
ISL Recruitment
Fergal O’Brien
SAINT ARE (FR)
10
11-00
D W Fox
Tom George
ROGUE ANGEL (IRE)
8
10-12
Gigginstown House Stud
Mouse Morris IRE
THUNDER AND ROSES (IRE)
8
10-11
Gigginstown House Stud
Mouse Morris IRE
BLESS THE WINGS (IRE)
11
10-09
Adrian Butler/S P O’Connor
Gordon Elliott IRE
VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR)
7
10-09
Prof Caroline Tisdall & John Gent
David Pipe
RUBEN COTTER (IRE)
10
10-09
Exors of the Late Graham Roach
Paul Nicholls
KNOCK HOUSE (IRE)
7
10-08
Tim Leslie
Donald McCain
FIREBIRD FLYER (IRE)
9
10-08
R E R Williams
Evan Williams
HADRIAN’S APPROACH (IRE)
9
10-06
Richard & Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes
Nicky Henderson
SILVERGROVE
8
10-05
Nicholas Piper & Claire Piper
Ben Pauling
MIDNIGHT PRAYER
11
10-05
The Legends Partnership
Alan King
ZIGA BOY (FR)
7
10-04
Axom LI
Alan King
BEEVES (IRE)
9
10-04
Paul & Clare Rooney
Jennie Candlish
HIGHLAND LODGE (IRE)
10
10-04
Bowes Lodge Stables
James Moffatt
ONE FOR ARTHUR (IRE)
7
10-04
Two Golf Widows
Lucinda Russell
DROMNEA (IRE)
9
10-04
Mrs A M Daly
Mouse Morris IRE
KINGSWELL THEATRE
7
10-04
John Murray
Michael Scudamore
STREETS OF PROMISE (IRE)
7
10-04
Gempro
Michael Scudamore
SIZING COAL (IRE)
8
10-03
Alan & Ann Potts Partnership
Jim Dreaper IRE
GENTLEMAN JON
8
10-03
J P Romans
Colin Tizzard
GAS LINE BOY (IRE)
10
10-03
The Three Graces
Ian Williams
FEDERICI
7
10-03
Jon Glews
Enda Bolger IRE
ALVARADO (IRE)
11
10-02
William & Angela Rucker
Fergal O’Brien
MILBOROUGH (IRE)
10
10-02
Helen Cross
Ian Duncan
SUBTLE GREY (IRE)
7
10-02
Deva Racing Subtle Grey Partnership
Donald McCain
BOB FORD (IRE)
9
10-02
The JJ Partnership
Rebecca Curtis
STRAIDNAHANNA (IRE)
7
10-02
M B & R H Scholey
Sue Smith
DARE TO ENDEAVOUR
9
10-02
Aidan Ryan
Eric McNamara IRE
COGRY
7
10-01
Graham and Alison Jelley
Nigel Twiston-Davies
MAD BRIAN (IRE)
10
10-00
Black Steel Square Syndicate
Gillian Callaghan IRE
KILLER CROW (IRE)
7
9-12
Gigginstown House Stud
Gordon Elliott IRE
LAMB OR COD (IRE)
9
9-11
Terry Warner
Philip Hobbs
PORTRAIT KING (IRE)
11
9-11
James Beaumont & Douglas Pryde
Patrick Griffin IRE
MYSTEREE (IRE)
8
9-10
Lynne Maclennan
Michael Scudamore
HOWLONGISAFOOT (IRE)
7
9-10
D S Dennis
Chris Gordon
POTTERS CROSS
9
9-08
Conyers, O’Reilly, Roddis, Zeffman
Rebecca Curtis
SMOOTH STEPPER
7
9-08
Aafke Clarke
Sue Smith
NO BUTS
8
9-04
Wontcostalot Partnership
David Bridgwater
VIKEKHAL (FR)
7
9-03
N J Roach
Gary Moore
BEFOREALL (IRE)
8
9-02
Beforeall Partnership
Oliver Sherwood
GODSMEJUDGE (IRE)
10
9-00
Favourites Racing Ltd
David Dennis
FINANCIAL CLIMATE (IRE)
9
8-08
Sara Fillery & Friends
Oliver Sherwood
 
59 entries
14 Irish-trained
 
 
The Betfred Grand Sefton Handicap Chase
Class 2, £70,000 total prize fund. Two miles and five furlongs (2m 5f 19y) over the Grand National fences, 3.15pm, Saturday, December 3, 2016. For six-year-olds and upwards. Penalties: after November 20, a winner of a chase 3lb; no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed November 15 (25 entries), weights revealed November 23. Five-day confirmations November 28, final declarations 10am, Friday, December 2. Maximum field size 25.
 
Horse
Age
Wgt
Owner
Trainer
THIRD INTENTION (IRE)
9
11-12
Robert and Sarah Tizzard
Colin Tizzard
LE MERCUREY (FR)
6
11-10
Chris Giles & Colm Donlon
Paul Nicholls
COCKTAILS AT DAWN
8
11-08
Robin Geffen & Sir John Ritblat
Nicky Henderson
SEVENTH SKY (GER)
9
11-07
Exors of the Late John Heron
Charlie Mann
AACHEN
12
11-06
Tony Bloom
Venetia Williams
QUITE BY CHANCE
7
11-05
T Hamlin, J M Dare, J W Snook, J T Warner
Colin Tizzard
BENNYS MIST (IRE)
10
11-03
Mezzone Family
Venetia Williams
RUBEN COTTER (IRE)
10
11-00
Exors of the Late C G Roach
Paul Nicholls
HENRYVILLE
8
10-13
R P B Michaelson & E M Thornton
Harry Fry
VALADOM (FR)
7
10-13
Richard Hobson
Richard Hobson
WITNESS IN COURT (IRE)
9
10-12
Tim Leslie
Donald McCain
LOOSE CHIPS
10
10-11
Barrels Of Courage
Charlie Longsdon
VINTAGE VINNIE (IRE)
7
10-10
Trembath, Hyde, Outhart & Hill
Rebecca Curtis
LA VATICANE (FR)
7
10-10
Maria Bukhtoyarova
David Pipe
RATHLIN
11
10-10
Masters Of The Hall 2
Micky Hammond
BEEVES (IRE)
9
10-09
Paul & Clare Rooney
Jennie Candlish
AS DE MEE (FR)
6
10-09
The Stewart Family & Judi Dench
Paul Nicholls
SEW ON TARGET (IRE)
11
10-08
A Selway
Colin Tizzard
FEDERICI
7
10-08
Jon Glews
Enda Bolger
GO CONQUER (IRE)
7
10-08
Paul & Clare Rooney
Jonjo O’Neill
LORD WISHES (IRE)
9
10-07
Leeds Plywood and Doors Ltd
James Ewart
GALLERY EXHIBITION (IRE)
9
10-07
The GFH Partnership
Kim Bailey
SEEFOOD (IRE)
9
10-06
C Stedmand & J Provan
Dr Richard Newland
ASTRACAD (FR)
10
10-06
Nigel Twiston-Davies
Nigel Twiston-Davies
DUSKY LARK
6
10-03
Sara Biggins & Celia Djivanovic
Colin Tizzard
HOWLONGISAFOOT (IRE)
7
10-01
D S Dennis
Chris Gordon
TROIKA STEPPES
8
10-00
William Williamson
Fergal O’Brien
MORE BUCK’S (IRE)
6
9-13
The Stewart Family
Paul Nicholls
ROUGE ET BLANC (FR)
11
9-13
O Sherwood & Tim Syder
Oliver Sherwood
UN GUET APENS (FR)
8
9-11
Drew, Sperling, Graham, Carruthers
James Ewart
NO BUTS
8
9-09
Wontcostalot Partnership
David Bridgwater
FORT WORTH (IRE)
7
9-09
Power Panels Electrical Systems Ltd
Jonjo O’Neill
THE ITALIAN YOB (IRE)
8
9-08
The Macaroni Beach Society
Nick Williams
MILGEN BAY
10
9-06
James & Clare Luck
Oliver Sherwood
VOYAGE A NEW YORK (FR)
7
8-12
J Fyffe
Lucinda Russell
PREMIER GRAND CRU (FR)
10
8-10
Leeds Plywood and Doors Ltd
James Ewart
 
25 entries
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