Boylesports Becher Handicap Chase
Grade 3 Handicap,
National Course, Aintree 14:05
£150,000 guaranteed, 6yo plus,
3m 1f 188y, Class 1   entries
Saturday 3rd December 2022

1 Ashtown Lad 5/1
2 Gesskille 4/1F
3 Percussion 10/1
4 Fortescue 33/1
22 ran NR: Now Where Or When Distances: 2¼l, 3¼l, 4½l
Time: 6m 50.97s (slow by 12.97s)

Having plundered both the Betfair Chase and Coral Gold Cup over the last few weekends, Dan Skelton continued his purple patch in the training ranks when Ashtown Lad triumphed over the famous Grand National fences. 

Kept wide but close to the pace by Harry Skelton, Ashtown Lad was in prime position to land a telling blow and with the jumping finished, the son of Flemensfirth dug deep and responded gamely to his rider’s urgings to hold off 4-1 favourite Gesskille.

Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero’s six-year-old was finishing runner-up over the National obstacles for the second successive outing having also picked up a silver medal in last month’s Grand Sefton, while the symmetry continued with Grand Sefton third Percussion again filling the final spot on the podium. 

Having won this off a mark of 138, Ashtown Lad has now put himself in the picture for a return to Merseyside for the National in April and Paddy Power make him a 33-1 shot for the great race, while Ladbrokes go even further and make him 20-1. 


Winning owner Darren Yates, who made more than £500,000 after placing a bet on Frankie Dettori’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ at Ascot in 1996, said: “Honestly I think that tops the Frankie day, when you own one it’s just incredible.

“I’ve not been moved by a win like that, it was special. We’ve had Blaklion finish sixth in the Grand National before and whether this lad stays quite that far I don’t know. I’ve just won the Becher, though, so I can’t complain! It’s absolutely amazing.”

The Skelton brothers were both enjoying a first victory over the National fences and a fourth successive major weekend success following the recent triumphs of Nube Negra at Cheltenham, Protektorat at Haydock and Le Milos at Newbury.

“It’s been an absolutely incredible month and I’m so, so proud of the team,” said Dan Skelton.

“He has to have space this horse – if you get him crowded he can just curl up on you a little bit. He got a great position today and jumped beautifully. It’s a first winner for both myself and Harry over these fences. Sometimes it feels like it’s not going to happen so I’m absolutely delighted.

“That (Grand National) is one of the options. Darren obviously harbours a serious interest in the National and whether a winner over those fences increases that desire or diminishes it I’m not sure, but I don’t think it will diminish it.

“We just have to think very hard about the trip. Last year in the Scottish National he didn’t stay, but who is to say as he gets a bit older he won’t stay a bit better? He loves the jumps and that’s vital.

“This run will come to an end, of course it will, but while it’s not we’ll keep enjoying it.”


Harry Skelton added: “That was fantastic. I just wanted to get out wide as he’s a big horse and likes a bit of space and he was in a good rhythm.

“He took to it really well and his ears were pricked. The whole way round I was very comfortable.

“He would be (a great ride in the Grand National). He didn’t quite stay in the Scottish National, but this is a big race in its own right today – it’s massive.

“We’re having an unbelievable run. Dan is doing a fantastic job training and leads us from the top. The staff working endlessly and we’re all enjoying it.

“I couldn’t believe it last week after Le Milos won, but we know in this game you’re soon back down and you need to keep your feet on the ground.

“We’ll enjoy our wins and take our hidings and beatings. It’s been a magic few weeks.”

Becher Handicap Chase
(Grade 3) (National Course)
£150,000 guaranteed, 6yo plus, 3m 1f 188y, Class 1
22 ran
Going: Good to Soft

1     Ashtown Lad 8 11-5 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton 5/1
Gesskille 6 11-4 Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero Henry Brooke 4/1F
Percussion 7 10-11 L J Morgan Gavin Sheehan 10/1
Fortescue 8 11-12 Henry Daly Hugh Nugent 33/1
Five Star Getaway 8 10-13 Christian Williams Jack Tudor 7/1
nk Cloth Cap 10 11-7 Jonjo O'Neill Richie McLernon 33/1
hd Hill Sixteen 9 11-12 Sandy Thomson Ryan Mania 12/1
6 Snow Leopardess 10 11-13 Charlie Longsdon Brian Hughes 16/1
Enqarde 8 11-1 Dr Richard Newland Charlie Hammond 33/1
14 Fagan 12 11-4 Alex Hales Derek Fox 100/1
5 Fantastikas 7 11-8 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies 14/1
hd Recite A Prayer 7 11-11 W P Mullins Brian Hayes 20/1
8 The Wolf 8 11-5 Olly Murphy A P Heskin 14/1
14 ¾ De Rasher Counter 10 12-0 Emma Lavelle Tom Bellamy 20/1
Francky Du Berlais 9 12-0 Peter Bowen James Bowen 50/1
nk Dr Kananga 8 11-7 Ben Clarke Ben Jones 8/1
Domaine De L'Isle 9 10-13 Sean Curran Kevin Sexton 33/1
FELL Minella Bobo 9 10-2 Rebecca Curtis Sean Bowen 66/1

PU The Jam Man 9 11-11 Ronan M P McNally Gavin Brouder 33/1
PU Rapid Flight 6 11-4 James Moffatt Danny McMenamin 40/1
UR Didero Vallis 9 10-8 Venetia Williams Miss Lucy Turner 14/1
UR Captain Kangaroo 7 11-2 W P Mullins Jack Foley
NR 20 Now Where Or When 7 10-11 S R B Crawford NON RUNNER