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Ballyoptic out to boost Twiston-Davies's fine record in Becher Chase

Ballyoptic: bids to provide trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies with another Becher Chase
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1.30 Aintree
Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3) | 3m2f | National course | ITV4/RTV

Twiston-Davies the maestro over National fences

Races over the Grand National fences have been kind to Nigel Twiston-Davies and he will be seeking a seventh success in this contest.

While Earth Summit and Bindaree captured the Grand National for Twiston-Davies, he has been at his most prolific in this race including winning it three times in the last decade.

Two of those successes came courtesy of Hello Bud with Sam Twiston-Davies in the saddle, and the father and son team now combine with Ballyoptic, a Grade 1 winner over hurdles at Aintree.

All about Aintree for Mill

Walk In The Mill was pulled up on his return to action at Wincanton last month, but when it comes to Aintree he has shown himself to be a different animal.

James Best celebrates winning the Becher Chase on Walk In The Mill

Winner of the Becher Chase last year off a 4lb lower mark, Walk In The Mill went on to finish fourth to Tiger Roll in the Grand National and will surely be aimed at another crack at the world’s most famous race later this season.

What they say

Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Ballyoptic
He was outclassed at level weights with very good horses in the Betfair Chase but he had a nice canter round. He had run a nice race at Wetherby previously. He fell at the fourth-last in the National, there are fewer fences this time so I hope he'll be fine!

Brian Ellison, trainer of Definitly Red
We’re thinking about the Grand National for him this season and we need to know now if that’s the likely way we’re going to go. The horse is in great order and he’ll like conditions much more than at Wetherby last time.

Ben Pauling, trainer of Le Breuil
Le Breuil has been in good nick at home and we want to give him a try over this fences as the Grand National is the long-term aim. He was pulled up last time out, but we think we have got to the bottom of that and hopefully he can run well.

Lucinda Russell, trainer of One For Arthur
The more rain they have at Aintree the better for him as it’ll bring his stamina into play. He’s in good form and he’s schooled well, but I think the trip is a mile too short for him.

Sue Smith, trainer of Vintage Clouds
It wasn’t the greatest comeback from him but he’s been in great form since and we think he’s in good order going into this race. 

Vieux Lion Rouge (9), or Old Red Lion, tackles a National fence

David Pipe, trainer of Vieux Lion Rouge
The softer it is the better for him. He did well to win the veterans’ chase at Chepstow and had a good run over hurdles at Cheltenham last time so he’s arriving at the race in good shape. He tends to race a little lazily these days, but if he can keep in there then he’ll be staying on all the way to the end.

Warren Greatrex, trainer of Mulcahys Hill
He won well first time and the form has worked out well. He’s fresh, and I think that's when he's at his best, and he's more unexposed than plenty of the others.

Paul Nicholls, trainer of As De Mee
We are pleased with As De Mee. He picked up a tendon injury last year and missed the whole season. He loves the fences, having won the Grand Sefton, and he had a nice start this season over hurdles. We are looking forward to it.

Richard Newland, trainer of Abolitionist
I'm really looking forward to seeing him run. He was bought with the Grand National in mind and although we're not expecting that any more it's lovely to get him over the fences after a history of injuries. I hope he'll have a lovely spin and get round safely.

James Best, rider of Walk In The Mill
I thought he ran a nice race for a long way at Wincanton on his return and just got a little tired turning into the straight so I pulled him up. Hopefully that will have put him spot on for Saturday.

Kim Bailey, trainer of Wandrin Star
We’ve had this race in mind for him for a while and I think he’ll like the course as well. He’s going there in good shape and I would expect a good run.

Tom Lacey, trainer of Kimberlite Candy
This has been the plan for a while with Kimberlite Candy. Hopefully, this sort of test will suit and the fences will bring out the best in him. He is a horse who wants this trip and hopefully he can run well. 


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He tends to race a little lazily these days, but if he can keep in there then he’ll be staying on all the way to the end
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