Horse racing betting tips: The Last Samuri can put rivals to the sword in Becher Chase

 
Bill Esdaile
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2016 Crabbie's Grand National
The Last Samuri finished third in last year's Becher Chase (Source: Getty)

Aintree stages the Randox Health Becher Chase (1.30pm) on Saturday, so for the first time this season we get a glimpse of the famous Grand National fences.

A field of 16 has been declared for what promises to be a real stamina test over 3m 2f on heavy ground.

The hot favourite and most likely winner is Nigel Twiston-Davies' Blaklion.

His close second to Bristol De Mai at Wetherby on his seasonal reappearance looks terrific form now and there is very little not to like about him other than his price.

At just 5/2, he won't be carrying any of my cash and don't forget he hasn't actually won a race since the 2016 RSA Chase at Cheltenham.

Instead, I'm going to concentrate on two at either end of the handicap, starting with top weight THE LAST SAMURI.

Kim Bailey’s nine-year-old faces a big task to lug 11st 12lbs over more than three miles around here on heavy ground, but I think he’s up to it, and is worth supporting at 8/1.

He was only beaten a length in this 12 months ago off the same mark and his stable appear in better form this time around.

I couldn't believe how well he ran on his reappearance over hurdles at Kempton and that would have blown the cobwebs away.

My other selection is the veteran PORTRAIT KING at a massive 25/1.

He's getting a bit long in the tooth now, but handles heavy ground, stays well and has run well over these fences in the past.

Remarkably, he found the gears to finish third to Ultragold in the Topham over 2m5f here in April and he can feature if lining up in the same form on Saturday.

POINTERS - SATURDAY

The Last Samuri e/w 1.30pm Aintree

Portrait King e/w 1.30pm Aintree

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