Nicholls targets dream double at Aintree handicaps
PAUL Nicholls has his eyes on the two races over the Grand National fences at Aintree on Saturday.
The Ditcheat handler is aiming As De Me at the Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase and Touch Kick for the Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase.
As De Mee, owned by Andy Stewart’s family and actress Dame Judi Dench, is proven over the obstacles, having won the Grand Sefton in 2016.
Nicholls expects the nine-year-old to put up a bold display. “As De Mee has won over the fences before. He is a big 33-1 each way shot for the race I would say,” he said.
There are two past winners among 26 five-day acceptors – Vieux Lion Rouge (2016) and Walk In The Mill (2018) – plus the 2017 Grand National hero, One For Arthur.
The weights are headed on 11st 12lb by Gordon Elliott’s Alpha Des Obeaux and Ballyoptic from Nigel Twiston-Davies’ stable.
Others in the mix are Abolitionist,
Le Breuil, Mysteree, Mulcahys Hill, Rathlin Rose, Regal Flow, Vintage Clouds and Wandrin Star.
Nicholls pins his hopes on Touch Kick in the Grand Sefton, for which there were 19 five-day confirmations.
The top two in the weights, Casablanca Mix and Gold Present are trained by Nicky Henderson.
Ultragold, winner of the Topham Chase in 2017 and 2018, could bid for another triumph over the big fences. There is a likely French raider in It’s Jennifer while among others of interest are Flying Angel, Kayf Adventure and Killaro Boy.
Native River and Might Bite feature among eight entries for the Virgin Bets Price Boost Many Clouds Chase.
Henderson has also put in Top Notch.
The Brian Ellison-trained Definitly Red could go for a third successive win in this race, but is also still in the Becher at this stage.
Aso, Black Corton, Kildisart and Outlander make up the octet.
Trainer Paul Nicholls