Walkon looks set for victory in the big rehearsal for the 2014 Grand National – the Becher Chase

Just beat in last year’s Topham Chase over the course Alan King’s grey Walkon will look to go one better in the Becher Chase today. In a renewal that would be fit for a Grand National itself, Walkon’s chance over the bigger Aintree obstacles stands out. Last Saturday the Hennessy winner franked the form from the Topham Chase and made King’s horse an appealing selection for this Grand National rehearsal.

In his way will not only be the big Aintree obstacles but a field of National hopefuls led up by the likes of On His OwnRoberto Goldback and Join Together. If On His Own can make it round he poses the greatest threat to Walkon, and with Roberto Goldback down to a winning weight he must not be overlooked. Crockford advises punters to place a small bet on any of their Grand National 2014 fancies before the off as prices will tumble  after a good run in the race.

Down at Sandown the Tingle Creek still tingles with excitement even without the mighty Sprinter Sacre. With Sire De Grugy having been collared by Kid Cassidy and McCoy on the run in at Cheltenham connections will hope to get back to winning ways in this Grade One Chase. The two-mile highlight has attracted a classy field where the back to form Somersby may give Sire De Grugy the most to think about. Mick Channon has reported that last year’s form should be written off and if that is true Somersby would have to be respected. Captain Conan loves the course and has the credentials to be in the mix at the finish.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Taquin De Seuil (Sandown 1.50)

A facile win at Ffos Las on his chasing debut was followed up by an eye-catching battling win against the highly regarded Oscar Whisky at Cheltenham. If this potential champion continues to improve he will be a certainty in this race.

Crockford’s Whisper – Walkon e/w (Aintree 2.05)

Second in the Topham, the Paddy Power Gold Cup and December Gold Cup last season, King’s grey can put his fall last time out behind him and once again figure in one of the season’s big races. His experience over the obstacles will set him well for today. Strong each way claims.

Archer’s Selection – Gunner Fifteen (Chepstow 12.25)

Archer would not have missed that this horse won in a canter last time out looking full of promise. On his hurling debut the great horseman would have certainly wanted to have been up.

Crockford’s Gambles around the courses:

Sandown – Vaniteux (12.20), Scholastica e/w (12.50), Utopie Des Bordes e/w (1.20), Taquin De Seuil (1.50), Calculated Risk e/w and Ronaldo Des Mottes e/w (2.25), Sire De Grugy (Tingle Creek 3.00) and Godsmejudge e/w (3.35)

Aintree – Gitane Du Berlais (12.30), Lieutenant Miller (1.00), Walkon e/w and  Roberto Goldback e/w (2.05), Unioniste (2.40) and Dunowen Point e/w (3.15)

Chepstow – Gunner Fifteen and Zayfire Aramis e/w (12.25), Annacotty e/w (12.55), Sausalito Sunrise (1.25) and Renard (3.10)

Wetherby – De Boitron (1.40) and Zaplamation (2.15)


(Featured Photograph – Walkon and Robert Thornton at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)






Robert Thornton Walkon