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Saint Are - Aintree 14.4.12

Saint Are: fell at the fifth fence in last Saturday's Hennessy Gold Cup

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

Aintree ace Saint could bounce back in Becher

SAINT ARE could make a quick return to action in the £110,000 Betfred Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree this Saturday, a track jockey Dougie Costello believes he would jump around "all day long".

That comment, relayed by trainer Tim Vaughan on Tuesday, comes despite Saint Are falling at the fifth fence in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury last weekend.

Vaughan passed on that Costello was bemused by his soft fall at Newbury, and the trainer is confident the six-year-old could add to his already tremendous record at Aintree should he school well midweek and be given the go-ahead for the Becher.

Saint Are is a 12-1 shot for the race - over the famous Grand National fences - with the race sponsor.

He won the Grade 1 Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree's Grand National meeting in April 2011, and followed up at the same fixture last season in the Listed John Smith's Handicap Chase, both over 3m1f on the Mildmay course.

Vaughan said: "Saint Are has come out of the Hennessy absolutely fine. We are going to school him on Wednesday morning and Thursday morning to see how he jumps and, if that goes well, we will definitely give the Betfred Becher Chase serious consideration.

"It was very frustrating on Saturday because everything had gone really well in the build up to the Hennessy and we were anticipating a big run from him. It was a soft fall as he just nudged the top of the fence but couldn't get his legs out.

Tim Vaughan

Tim Vaughan: trainer of Saint Are

  PICTURE: David Dew (

"He jumped brilliantly at Aintree last season and after that Dougie said we should look at the Grand National with him because he will jump around there all day long. Dougie was bemused why he fell on Saturday as he said he is normally so nimble and careful but it's just one of those things."

Vaughan added: "We might need to give him a couple more runs for experience before we look at a race like the Grand National, but it's one day at a time and we are grateful he has come back in one piece."

Following 12mm of rain in the last 36 hours, the going at Aintree on Tuesday was soft, heavy at the Canal Turn.

Wednesday is forecast to be dry with sunny spells, while there is predicted to be up to another 6mm of rain on Thursday.

The forecast for Friday and Saturday is for dry and bright conditions.

Andrew Tulloch, Aintree's clerk of the course and director of racing, said on Tuesday: "With the recent rain, the ground is heavy from the Canal Turn down to Valentine's but overall I am delighted with the condition of the course."

West End Rocker was a market mover on Tuesday, the Alan King-trained horse being cut to 8-1 joint favourite (from 9) by Betfred. Join Together also attracted some interest and was cut to 8-1 (from 10) by Paddy Power.

It was a busy day in bookmakers' trading rooms, with entries for Sandown's best two races on Saturday, plus Punchestown's John Durkan card on Sunday to contemplate.

The vast majority of firms priced up the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, with brilliant Racing Post Arkle winner Sprinter Sacre 1-2 or 2-5 with most bookmakers.

Sanctuaire is available at 5-2, and the other eight entries are 10-1 or bigger.

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