Race Time: 3.25pm Meeting: Aintree Distance: 3m 1f (Mildmay)
Full Race Name: Betfred Handicap Chase (Listed)
The last thing we need is another tricky handicap just before the big one, but that is exactly what we have here, with Paul Nicholls controlling the weights via the top weight in the handicap with Wonderful Charm (5/1). He has been mixing it in pretty exalted company so far this season with a win over Colour Squadron as well as places behind the likes of Don Cossack and Wishfull Thinking, and a well beaten seventh to stable mate Silviniaco Conti in the King George last Boxing Day, but this is nothing like as arduous (on paper anyway). Top weight is asking a lot but he does seem better armed for the contest than any of the other entries and we can already tell you he will be carrying our cash!
Not one of the declarations arrives with a win against their name last time out, so we need to at least consider other runners, starting on this occasion with Buywise (9/4) who has a win in his penultimate race which is the best on offer. Trained by Evan Williams, the eight year old scored at Ludlow over two miles and at Ffos Las over two and three quarter miles, but has yet to even attempt this three miles and a furlong which has to be a serious concern (though he did win over a fraction short of three miles on heavy going at Taunton in a novice chase, so we aren’t too worried).
Edgardo Sol (10/1) represents the excellent Emma Lavelle and will be ridden by Aidan Coleman which is never a bad thing, and he has won twice here over two miles all be it back in 2011 and then April 2012 – which was his last career win despite a further seventeen attempts. He could win, and has scored off a rating 143 (a mere four pounds lower than today), but looks as though he has forgotten how to get to the front and we can give him a swerve today. With Raajh (16/1) off the track since last December he is hard to recommend leading me to Vino Griego 8/1) who I would really like to win for the Gary Moore stable. They had a terrible day yesterday with two fallers (one a fatality) at Fontwell and a fall for stable star Sire De Grugy at Aintree, so fingers crossed for the now ten year old, but he has only completed five of his last eleven races, and hasn’t won since December 2013 so we can hardly suggest him as a bet I am sorry to say.
Lastly, we give you Duke Of Lucca (7/1), who is a course and distance winner having won the self same race last season off a handicap mark three pounds lower. He hasn’t actually won another race since but has won off higher ratings and carrying more weight than the ten stone four he is lumbered with this afternoon. Richard Johnson rides for Philip Hobbs which is a great combination, and he could well be the one we use if we fancy a forecast bet!