Betfred Becher Chase
|Grade 3 Handicap, Aintree 13:30
3m 2f, Class 1
|Saturday 6th December 2014|
Sam Waley-Cohen a specialist over the National Fences and Oscar Time, twice placed in the National, wins the Becher Chase at 25/1
1 Oscar Time 25/1
2 Mendip Express 12/1
3 Saint Are 12/1
4 Alfie Spinner 25/1
5 Chance Du Roy 12/1
25 ran Distances: ¾l, 3l, 1l
TIME 6m 54.40s (slow by 16.40s)
A record field of 25 lined up for the Grade Three handicap chase over three and a quarter miles of the Grand National course and 22 of the famous fences, with 13-year-old Oscar Time, second in the Crabbie's Grand National in 2011 and fourth in 2013, taking the lead from the gambled-on 8/1 favourite Our Father at the last.
Robert Waley-Cohen was delighted with the victory. He said: "We have had the most enormous fun with Oscar Time. We bought him to run in the Grand National and he was second the first year (2011), when brilliantly trained by Martin Lynch in Ireland.
"He was fourth in the National two years later, got a bit injured, and we said 'he's pretty old and no horse at that age has ever won the National, so we will take him to our home in Warwickshire, nurse him back to health and get him going'.
"Then he was going so well that we said 'let's run him in a point-to-point', which he won very easily. That didn't take much out of him and we ran him in a hunter chase nine days later, which he won, and another 14 days later, which he won.
"We said 'he's 13 but he has still got it, so we will give it a go'. The Becher was obviously the target - he is a better horse here at Aintree than he is anywhere else. He gets here and he sort of stands up straight and loves it.
"He doesn't get the National trip and he will be 14 in a few weeks so he won't run in the 2015 Crabbie's Grand National.
"Sam is rather extraordinary around here - that's now five wins over the fences for him and he's been second three times and placed on a few other occasions. I don't know how he does it."
Sam Waley-Cohen's previous four successes over the Grand National fences came on Katarino in the Crabbie's Fox Hunters in both 2005 and 2006, on Warne in the same race in April and on Liberthine in the 2006 Crabbie's Topham Chase.
The 32-year-old winning rider said: "I didn't want to let Our Father get too far ahead, but I just took my time. I thought he'd gone for home early enough anyway and if I'd chased him Oscar Time would not have lasted.
"The run-in felt very long as Oscar Time doesn't do much in front and I could hear the other horse coming, but to be fair my horse has pulled out enough. He is a great horse and part of the family at home. It is a very special day.
"You've got to have the right horse for the Grand National course and anyone could have ridden Oscar Time today, as he's such a good ride over these fences.
"It has been a great course for me and it suits me in lots of ways. Most racecourses the jockeys ride them week in, week out and I come out once in a blue moon and I have to learn the course. But we have all ridden this course roughly the same amount, so it is a bit more balanced up."
Balbriggan was pulled up by David Casey before the 10th fence and was found to have fractured a bone below the pastern joint, an injury seen in Flat racing, and was humanely put down.
Betfred Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Nat Course)
£140,000 added, 6yo plus, 3m 2f, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
|1st||Oscar Time (IRE) 25/1
Mr S Waley-Cohen (3)
|2nd||¾||Mendip Express (IRE) 12/1
Mr W Biddick (3)
|3rd||3||Saint Are (FR) 12/1
D F O'Regan
|10-6||T R George||8|
|4th||1||Alfie Spinner (IRE) 25/1
D A Jacob
|5th||nk||Chance du Roy (FR) 12/1
T J O'Brien
|11-6||P J Hobbs||10|
|6th||10||Renard (FR) 25/1
|11-7||Miss V Williams||9|
|7th||½||Kruzhlinin (GER) 33/1
J M Maguire
|11-4||D McCain Jnr||7|
|8th||¾||Highland Lodge (IRE) 12/1
|10-11||Miss E C Lavelle||8|
|9th||2¼||Our Father (IRE) 8/1f
|10th||6||Shakalaka-boomboom (IRE) 25/1
Peter Carberry (3)
|10-11||N J Henderson||10|
|11th||2||Mon Parrain (FR) 40/1
|11-9||P F Nicholls||8|
|12th||34||Green Flag (IRE) 11/1
|11-7||Miss Lucinda V Russell||7|
|13th||2½||Across The Bay (IRE) 40/1
|11-9||D McCain Jnr||10|
|14th||14||Master Neo (FR) 25/1
M J Quinlan
|10-2||N J Hawke||8|
|PU||Al Co (FR) 50/1
J E Moore
|PU||Mr Moonshine (IRE) 25/1
Daragh Bourke (5)
|11-11||Mrs S J Smith||10|
|PU||Burton Port (IRE) 33/1
R P Mclernon
|PU||Just A Par (IRE) 11/1
|11-6||P F Nicholls||7|
|PU||Lion Na Bearnai (IRE) 66/1
A P Heskin
|PU||The Package 20/1
|PU||Balbriggan (IRE) 11/1
D J Casey
|PU||Ballybough Gorta (IRE) 33/1
|UR||Knock A Hand (IRE) 25/1
M G Nolan (3)
|UR||Goonyella (IRE) 12/1
J J Burke (3)
|11-1||J T R Dreaper||7|
|UR||Benbens (IRE) 14/1
Ryan Hatch (5)
|10-13||N A Twiston-Davies||9|