Grand Sefton Handicap Chase Tips: Back this star to shine over National fences at Aintree

Grand Sefton Handicap Chase Tips: We have a top tip for the Aintree showpiece.
Grand Sefton Handicap Chase Tips: We have a top tip for the Aintree showpiece.

We will gain our first sight of the legendary Grand National fences this season at Aintree on Saturday afternoon, as the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase takes centre stage, and we preview the event here and pick out our best bet in the race...

Jonjo O'Neill is looking to claim victory in the Grand Sefton for the first time since 2003 (Dark Room) and the Jackdaws Castle handler will saddle a leading contender in the shape of Time To Get Up, who is bidding for a hat-trick of wins, and is currently vying for favouritism in this 2m 5f 19y contest.

Having impressed when winning at Wincanton back in February, the Jonjo O'Neill-trained eight-year-old followed up with a gutsy win in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter. Currently a 25/1 shot with some bookmakers for the 2022 Grand National, Time To Get Up will be gaining his first experience over the National fences, but he looks tailor-made for the unique test. Upped 6lbs for that Uttoxeter win, he will have to deal with a new mark of 144, but the thing that could scupper his chances is the distance, as he shaped like a real out and out stayer when winning the Midlands National, and now going less than three miles for this contest, then he may just lack a bit of toe in the closing stages.

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Paul Nicholls has trained three of the last eight winners of this event and the Ditcheat handler will look to enhance that impressive record as he saddles Cat Tiger, who will be the mount of David Maxwell. The seven-year-old is one contender lining up with experience under his belt as he was an excellent third in the Foxhunters' Chase at Aintree's Grand National meeting in April, and a mark of 134 looks very eye-catching for him. He was last seen finishing second in a Southwell Hunters' Chase in May, so if he can perform to his highest level after a break then he has to be one etched on to the shortlist.

Jamie Snowden's Hogan's Height stormed to glory in the 2019 Grand Sefton, and is only 4lbs higher for the 2021 renewal. He oozes experience over the National fences, and he was a very creditable 12th in last season's Grand National, but he has struggled to get his head in front in recent times and it's worth taking him with an alternative selection.

That selection is going to be Alan King's SENIOR CITIZEN, who was seen last month bounding to a taking win at Market Rasen, and despite earning a 5lbs rise for that success, he still looks potentially well handicapped to hit the jackpot here. He could only finish seventh behind Beau Bay in last season's Grand Sefton, but that came on ground a little too soft for him, while he showed improvements when grabbing third spot in the Topham Chase on quicker ground during the Grand National meeting.

With conditions likely to be similar on Saturday, and with him having the benefit of a run this season, then King's charge can show all his class, and could potentially show his hand as a potential National contender for the spring.

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Peter Bowen's Francky Du Berlais finished well behind Senior Citizen last time out, but he's significantly better off at the weights, so he is sure to get a little closer, and could be a possible each-way play, while there's a brace of double-figured priced contenders that could make the frame.

Richard Spencer's Sir Jack Yeats put up a bold bid for glory in this event 12 months ago, and was a fine second to Beau Bay, and he will run off the same mark of 126 here, so has to be respected, while the Christian Williams-trained Five Star Getaway notched up a run of wins last season over fences, and if he can take to the Aintree test then could well play a part in the finish.

But, in what looks a thrilling renewal of the Grand Sefton, it's Senior Citizen that can prevail for the Barbury Castle team, and show his potential Grand National credentials with a win on Merseyside.

Grand Sefton Handicap Chase
Senior Citizen silk

Senior Citizen

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