Eider Chase Tips: Eagle to fly to shock Newcastle win for Henderson

Nicky Henderson Close Up Cheltenham

A strong field of stamina-laden stayers will line up for the Eider Handicap Chase at Newcastle on Saturday afternoon, and our man Steve Chambers previews the contest and picks out his best bet...

Emma Lavelle's Eclair Surf was last seen producing a sparkling lead-all-the-way masterclass en route to victory in the Classic Chase at Warwick, and the solid jumper will look to follow that up this weekend with a notable staying chase success in the north east. Unsurprisingly, sitting towards the head of the betting at around 7/1, at the time of writing, Lavelle's charge shaped like there could be more to come in the future, and he's actually around a 33/1 chance for the Grand National in April.

However, currently sitting at number 68 in that list, it's touch and go whether he will make the cut for the Aintree marathon, so Lavelle is sure to have him fully wound up for this event. The eight-year-old will face a much stiffer test on Saturday, as he's been upped a whopping 10lb by the handicapper to a mark of 143, and with nearly top weight to carry it's going to be hard for him to emulate that Warwick success.

Irish contender History Of Fashion is the current favourite at 6/1, and Pat Fahy's raider is a fascinating contender off 130 and with a 7lb claimer on his back, he looks very eye-catching at the weights. Competing over two miles on chase debut against leading Arkle contender Blue Lord at the start of the season, he finally broke his maiden tag at Down Royal over three miles last month. That was off a mark of 119, but he looked way ahead of the handicapper that day, and he still looks to have a big chance despite the notable rise in the weights.

Grand National Odds

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Domaine De L'isle will have the burden of top weight in this event, but he ended last season claiming victory at Cheltenham in April off a mark of 144, and it's that figure he lines up off this weekend. Fourth in the Becher Chase two starts ago was an excellent effort, while he had a spin over hurdles last time out, which should sharpen him up for this contest. It will be tough off top weight in this event, but he has an element of class on his day, so has to be respect.

At the other end of the handicap is the 8/1 chance Danilo D'Airy for Robert Bevis, who has won all three chase starts, and is bidding to make it four from four in the Eider. A winning run of three ended last time when he was beaten over hurdles, but a return to the chasing sphere should see him bounce back to form, but he was hiked up an eye-bulging 15lb for his last success, and having started this winning streak in the mid 70s, he will now take his chance in a tougher race off 120.

Given a meagre 2lb rise for a win at Newcastle last time out, Michael Scudamore's Court Master could be a leading player off 130, while the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Checkitout is another that was only handed a 2lb rise for a win last time out, and that pair are both hovering around the 10/1 mark at the moment, and are notable contenders.

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The Christian Williams-trained 12-year-old Potters Corner is likely to use this contest as a springboard to the Cross Country Chase at next month's Cheltenham Festival, but he's a solid staying chaser on his day, and is sure to be one of those plugging on in the closing stages of the race, but may just come up short.

One that could outrun his lofty odds if the outsider of the entire field and that's Nicky Henderson's BRAVE EAGLE, who has shown very little of late, but he's been given a notable chance by the handicapper on Saturday, and at 33/1 he looks too good to let go from an each-way perspective. Tenth in the Ladbrokes Trophy off 149 earlier in the season, he was then pulled up at Cheltenham off 145 on New Year's Day. However, dropped to a mark of 140 he could be capable of causing a ripple if finding his best form. 

A winner back in June 2019 off a mark of 152, the Seven Barrows inmate was rated a lot higher than that at his peak, so if the drop in the handicap can bring some improvement then he has to be regarded a player, and while there could be stamina doubts in this marathon contest, he is a class act on his day, and he could get the better of these, if on a going day.

Eider Handicap Chase
Brave Eagle silk

Brave Eagle (EW)

Cheltenham Tips
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