Topham Chase Betting Tips – Modus Appeals Most in Hot Aintree Handicap

Aintree Betting Tips · Friday, 09th Apr 2021 - 16:05

Grand Sefton third could go better in Topham

The big betting race over the Grand National fences at Aintree on Friday is the 2m 5f Grade 3 Topham Chase (16:05). This is a wide-open handicap, but Modus gets a tentative vote. Trained by Paul Nicholls for JP McManus, this 11-year-old Motivator gelding ran a fine race over course and distance in December.

That came off top-weight in the Grand Sefton when a 6 3/4 lengths third to Beau Bay. Modus meets the runner-up, Sir Jack Yates, off 5lb better terms. There was less than two lengths between them that day, so it gives him a big chance of reversing form. Most of Modus’s career successes have come on a sounder surface than he had last time out.

As we haven’t seen him since the Grand Sefton, he may have been laid out for the Topham Chase by his shrewd connections. Form over the famous spruce-covered fences can often be the key to this race. Modus brings that to the table. Jonjo O’Neill Junior takes the ride once again, and has a win on the Mildmay course aboard him.

This is a very open contest, so getting heavily stuck into anything probably isn’t wise. Modus makes more appeal than most off the same mark of 150 as his course and distance third. Odds of 12/1 with 888sport are good each-way value for this, then.

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Livelovelaugh among many dangers

You can make cases for plenty of the 28-runner field here, but the horse heading the betting is Livelovelaugh. One of two in the Topham Chase trained by Willie Mullins, this 11-year-old has only ever won one race over fences back in January 2018. That doesn’t tell the full story, however.

Livelovelaugh ran well for a long way in the 2019 Grand National here. He was a close fourth jumping Valentine’s Brook for the second time, but faded from two out. Clearly, the Beneficial gelding didn’t get the marathon trip and finished 33 lengths behind Tiger Roll in 11th.

Although worse off at the weights with Outlander, who was home 1 1/4 lengths ahead in ninth, Livelovelaugh has run some big races in defeat in Irish handicaps this season. They include when sixth in the Galway Plate and close-up thirds at Leopardstown on his last two outings.

As Livelovelaugh split Grand National contenders Minella Times and Farclas on his penultimate start, he is of obvious interest in the Topham Chase here. He was desperately unlucky when chinned by Mitchouka last time out too. Livelovelaugh may gain compensation at 13/2 with William Hill and Patrick Mullins taking the ride for just the fourth time.

Storm Control the Topham Chase each-way value

It’s interesting that Storm Control drops back in trip after not lasting home when fifth in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham last time out. This front-running eight-year-old trained by Kerry Lee won consecutive races around Prestbury Park earlier in the season.

Storm Control kept on finding for regular jockey Richard Patrick, jumping well and making all on both occasions. A 5lb rise for his length victory over Potters Legend, who ran second in the Peter Marsh at Haydock and has won since, was too much. However, the handicapper has dropped Storm Control 2lb since the Kim Muir to what could be a workable mark of 140.

If allowed to get into a rhythm out in front in the Topham Chase, then he could be hard to peg back. He’ll have to take to the Grand National fences of course, but Storm Control could hit the frame at odds of 25/1 with Betfair here.

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