Randox Health Topham Chase
Grade 3 Handicap,
Aintree 16:05
£120,000 added, 5yo plus,
2m 5f 19y, Class 1   
Friday 7th April 2017

© Racehorse Photos

There are 61 entries for the Randox Health Topham Chase, including the 2016 winner Eastlake, who is one of three engaged by trainer Jonjo O’Neill along with Go Conquer, who ran a good race when fifth in the G3 Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on March 14 and Fort Worth.

The most successful trainer in Randox Health Topham Chase is Nicky Henderson, who has sent out the winner five times, including in three of the past four years (2013, 2014 and 2015). The three-strong entry from the master of Seven Barrows this time around are the useful novice chaser O O Seven, Gold Present, who was runner-up in the Listed Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and Cocktails At Dawn, who also holds an entry in the Randox Health Grand National.

Henderson is currently battling it out with Paul Nicholls for the trainers’ championship and the Somerset handler, the current champion who won the Topham Chase in 2008 with Gwanako, has five entries.

The Nicholls-trained quintet are headed by Frodon, who landed the G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December and the G2 Pendil Novices’ Chase last time out at Kempton Park, and As De Mee, who has already proved his liking for the Grand National fences having taken the Betfred Grand Sefton Chase in December.

Other possible starters for the reigning champion trainer are Bouvreuil, a good third in the G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at Cheltenham, Art Mauresque and Warriors Tale, a comfortable winner at Newbury last time out.

Thomas Crapper
© Racehorse Photos
Thomas Crapper

Thomas Crapper could make his debut over the famous fences. The 10-year-old was fourth under a five pound penalty in the G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at Cheltenham last week, following an impressive 20-length success in a Grade Three handicap chase at Newbury on March 4.

Trainer Robin Dickin said today: “The Randox Health Topham Chase is definitely an option for Thomas Crapper.

“I want to see how he is nearer the time before committing because he has produced two big performances in competitive handicaps in quick succession. It will either be Aintree or Cheltenham the following the week.

“He knew he had a race after Cheltenham, but he is well and eating everything. He is in good order.

“They dropped him two pounds for Cheltenham as he was originally due to go up 11 for his win at Newbury. I thought that was sensible because if he could not win with a five pound penalty, how was he going to win with 11 more?

“He will have a school over some Aintree style fences as he hasn’t done that yet. I don’t think they will be a problem to him at all. He is a very accomplished jumper and, as my jockey pointed out to me yesterday, Aintree is different to what it was like it was in my day.

“He thrived for moving up from hurdles to fences and he could well thrive again for the switch to those fences around Aintree. The race could really suit him if we get good ground.”

There are a total of 17 Irish-trained entries, including recent Navan G2 winner A Toi Phil, one of three entries for Gordon Elliott. Willie Mullins has seven possibles including Ballycasey, twice a winner at G2 level this season, and Haymount, who was a staying-on third in the G2 J T McNamara National Hunt Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

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Crabbie's Topham Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)
£120,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 5f 19y, Class 1
61 entries
Weights will be revealed on Wednesday, March 29.