Irish challenger Crosshue Boy (10st 10lb) is firmly on course for the £150,000 Becher Handicap Chase (1.30pm, 58 entries), one of two races over the famous Grand National fences at Aintree on Saturday, December 8th, Becher Chase Day.
Trained in Co Wexford by Sean Doyle, Crosshue Boy proved a revelation in the second half of last season.
The eight-year-old won three races in the space of 10 days in March at Leopardstown, Wexford and Down Royal. He ended last season with a decisive victory in the valuable Dawn Homes Novices’ Championship Handicap Chase over three miles at Ayr on April 21st.
Crosshue Boy was not disgraced on his reappearance this season, coming home 12th in a handicap hurdle over two and three quarter miles at Galway on October 28th.
Doyle said: “Crosshue Boy has improved plenty from his run in Galway.
“I was hoping to get one more run into him, but the ground was just a bit too quick over here, so we have decided to go straight to Aintree.
“I think he should stay well and I have no problem with stepping him up to three and a quarter miles.
“Robbie Power schooled him over the Aintree fences at the Curragh on Tuesday morning [November 27th] and he jumped very well.
“This will be the first time Crosshue Boy has run in this sort of grade over fences and we want to find out if he can step up to the mark.
“If he takes to the fences real well and finishes in the first half dozen, we will have to strongly consider returning in April for the Grand National.”
Image supplied by The Jockey ClubBlack Apalachi (2008) and Vic Venturi (2009), both trained by the late Dessie Hughes, are the two Irish-trained winners of the Becher Handicap Chase since the race was first run in 1992.
The other race over the Grand National fences on Becher Chase Day is the £80,000 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase (3.15pm, 42 entries), with the five-day confirmation stage for both races at noon on Monday, December 3rd.
Becher Chase Day will include a parade of horses who have won or run well over the Grand National fences.
Those parading are as follows:
Always Waining (Topham Handicap Chase winner 2010, 2011, 2012)
Cassia Heights (Topham Handicap Chase winner 2004)
Chance Du Roy (Becher Handicap Chase winner 2013)
Dunbrody Millar (Topham Handicap Chase winner 2007)
Saint Are (Third in the 2014 Becher Handicap Chase & runner-up in the 2015 Grand National & third in the 2017 Grand National)
Scots Grey (Foxhunters’ Chase winner 2007)