Betfred Becher Chase
Grade 3 Handicap, Aintree 13:40
£140,000 added,
6yo plus,
3m 1f 188y, Class 1  entries
Saturday 5th December 2015

1 Highland Lodge 20/1
2 Dare To Endeavour 33/1
3 Dolatulo 10/1
4 Soll 9/1
17 ran Distances: 2¼l, ¾l, nk
TIME 7m 9.20s (slow by 31.20s)

Highland Lodge and Henry Brooke stay on well to beat Dare To Endeavour, Dolatulo & Soll

Highland Lodge
© Grossick Racing Photography
Highland Lodge

There was a fairytale result for the small northern yard of James (Jimmy) Moffatt when the Henry Brooke-ridden Highland Lodge , having his first start for the Cartmel-based stable after being bought recently for £22,000, made much of the running in the £140,000 Betfred Becher Chase over three and a quarter miles.

The nine-year-old, a 20/1 chance who was sold out of Emma Lavelle's yard at Doncaster Sales in early November, raced off the minimum weight of 10st and was 7lb out of the handicap over the Grand National fences for owners Simon Wilson and Bowes Lodge Stables.

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Highland Lodge, one of eight horses still in with a chance two out, took up the running by the ninth of the 21 fences and ran on grittily after the last to beat the Irish-trained Dare To Endeavour (Eric McNamara/Liam Treadwell, 33/1) who finished second by three quarters of a length from Dolatulo (Warren Greatrex/Gavin Sheehan, 10/1), with the fourth Soll (David Pipe/Tom Scudamore, 9/1) a neck behind. Vics Canvas (Dermot Anthony McLoughlin/Robert Dunne, 16/1) came home fifth a further half-length in arrears and Financial Climate (Oliver Sherwood/Thomas Garner) finished sixth after being hampered at the elbow by Soll.

Moffatt said: "Highland Lodge is a lovely big gentleman of a horse with a serious engine and this is my best success in terms of prize money. I sent out Chief Dan George to win the Grade One Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree in 2007 and have had success at the Cheltenham Festival.

"£22,000 is a lot of money for me and my owners. We cannot afford to buy promising young horses and instead try to purchase ones who have shown a bit of ability and try and rejuvenate them.

"Emma was very kind when I asked about Highland Lodge and told he jumped great and a change of scenery might benefit him.

"I was disappointed when I started working the horse a month ago but a fortnight later he started to perform better and his most recent bit of work was promising.

"We hoped that, if he could get his own way, he would run well which he did. It is brilliant to have another big-race success at Aintree.

"We will aim Highland Lodge at the Crabbie's Grand National - he was rated 125 today and I would expect him to go up by 14 or 15lb for this victory considering he was out of the handicap.

"He might sneak in at the bottom of the weights for the Grand National and we'll try to keep him sweet between now and then. If he jumps as well as he did today, he would have a chance.

"Highland Lodge was my 10th winner of the season, so this is my best season numerically since I started training in 2003 and I put it all down to getting married on May 2 to Nadine. There is a baby on the way as she is six months pregnant. She and Charlotte Jones led up Highland Lodge today.

"It is a tough for a small stable like us. We have 14 horses in full training and it would be helpful to have eight or nine more as there are 25 boxes at Pit Farm Racing Stables."

Brooke commented: "That was unreal - those fences are some buzz.

"Jimmy has done all the hard work, my job was just to keep hold of the horse's head. Highland Lodge did all the jumping himself.

"I actually did think that I had a right chance today, with 10st on ground like that (soft going). It suited him down to the ground.

"He half took hold of the bit down to two fences out. I thought 'God, he has some engine on him' and he just kept galloping."

Betfred, the official betting partner of the Crabbie's Grand National Festival, have introduced Highland Lodge at 50/1 in the betting for the £1-million Crabbie's Grand National which is run over an extended four and a quarter miles on April 9, 2016.

The 2014 Crabbie's Grand National winner Pineau De Re fell at the second fence, No Planning unseated at the sixth, the 7/1 favourite Algernon Pazam unseated at the 14th and Portrait King came down at the 20th. Nine of the 17 runners got around the course.


Betfred Becher Handicap Chase
(Grade 3) (National Course)
£140,000 added, 6yo plus, 3m 1f 188y, Class 1
17 ran
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Highland Lodge (IRE) 20/1 Henry Brooke
James Moffatt 9
2nd Dare To Endeavour 33/1 L Treadwell
E McNamara 8
3rd ¾ Dolatulo (FR) 10/1 G Sheehan
W Greatrex 8
4th nk Soll 9/1 T Scudamore
D Pipe 10
5th ½ Vics Canvas (IRE) 16/1 R T Dunne
D A McLoughlin 12
6th Financial Climate (IRE) 33/1 Thomas Garner (3)
O Sherwood 8
7th 27 Saint Are (FR) 8/1 P J Brennan
T R George 9
8th 11 Unioniste (FR) 9/1 Nick Scholfield
P F Nicholls 7
9th Goonyella (IRE) 8/1 J J Burke
J T R Dreaper 8
PU Thunder And Roses (IRE) 10/1 B J Cooper
Ms Sandra Hughes 7
PU Ardkilly Witness (IRE) 25/1 D F O'Regan
Jamie Snowden 9
PU Buachaill Alainn (IRE) 25/1 Michael Byrne
P Bowen 8
PU Cowards Close (IRE) 33/1 M Goldstein
C Gordon 8
F Pineau De Re (FR) 10/1 W Kennedy
Dr R D P Newland 12
F Portrait King (IRE) 14/1 D R Fox (3)
P Griffin 10
UR Algernon Pazham (IRE) 7/1f Ryan Hatch (3)
N A Twiston-Davies 6
UR No Planning 8/1 S Quinlan
Mrs S J Smith 8