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Eider Chase Preview – Key Trends, Runner Previews and Our Verdict + Claim £20 in Free Bets with Midnite

Kitty's Light

There has been a lot of noise about the Grand National at Aintree this week, but the Eider Chase at Newcastle is another of the top staying chases run in Britain and Ireland throughout the jumps season. It is this Saturday’s feature race, and Joe Napier previews the big hitters in the race and gives his verdict.

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The race was won by Christian WIlliams for the second season in a row as Kitty’s Light replicated stablemate Win My Wings by not only winning this, but also the Scottish National afterwards.

  • Seven of the last ten winners carried at least 11st to success
  • Eight of the last ten winners were priced at 10/1 or shorter, with three favourites successful, including in the last two seasons
  • Six of the last ten winners were nine-year-olds. Kitty’s Light broke a run of five nine-year-old winners in a row when winning at the age of seven last year
  • All of the last ten winners had either won, finished third, or failed to complete on their previous start.
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Key Runners

ANGLERS CRAG

(Brian Ellison/Henry Brooke)

Looking to regain the winning thread for the nine-year-olds, Anglers Crag has won all three of his starts so far Brian Ellison after joining his yard in November. The first two required him to battle, but he was a much more comfortable winner at Musselburgh earlier this month. He continues to improve, though there is at least a slight doubt about his ability to handle heavy ground. 

He won on soft-heavy when trained in Ireland, but never succeeded in such conditions for David Pipe, and although his form also tailed off on a sounder surface (all three wins for Ellison have been on good-to-soft), it raises at least a question about the in-form favourite. This trip is also nearly a mile longer than any he has faced previously.


FENLAND TIGER

(Sam England/Jonathan England)

It’s been a productive season for Guiseley-based Sam England, who has a strike rate better than 25% with her chasers this term, substantially better than her rolling average. Her eight-year-old Fenland Tiger is, like the favourite, a horse with three wins already this season, with his only defeat coming at the hands of Anglers Crag in December at Carlisle.

Second that day was Track And Trace, who has since won the North Yorkshire National at Catterick, providing a welcome form boost to the top pair in this market. However, Fenland Tiger now gets a 7lb swing at the weights with Anglers Crag despite having matched his recent pair of victories, while also showing an aptitude for heavy ground at this venue in January. He looks capable of overhauling him over this test.


FLOWER OF SCOTLAND

(Sandy Thomson/Sean Quinlan)

The Eider Chase last returned to Scotland in 2015, but no more patriotic a name could be representing the nation than Sandy Thomson’s runner. Flower Of Scotland is already a national winner of sorts too, having claimed the Scottish Borders National at Thomson’s local track Kelso in December 2022. She did so with a fair bit in hand too.

She made the frame in two more starts that season, including when third in the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh on her next start, but was pulled up on her return at Carlisle. Thomson’s string are in great form now, but that was still this mare’s first distinctly lifeless run for some time, so there would be a few concerns even though her mark entitles her to play a part.


GOLD CLERMONT

(Andy Irvine/Philip Armson)

Another to have enjoyed two recent victories, Gold Clermont is probably the one with the least to prove from a stamina perspective. Her two wins in three recent starts have come on soft over 3m5f at Fakenham and 3m3½f at Fontwell. She has been raised just 9lb in total by the handicapper for those two wins, which is lenient given she has won both in good style.

The issue is with her consistency. In between those two victories she was a well-beaten eighth at Plumpton, admittedly in a slightly higher grade. However, that race was run in similar ground conditions and over a 3m4½f trip at Plumpton, where she had won before. Given this race also represents a hike in class, she is not one to back with too much trust.


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The Field

The top three in the weights all boast chances at their best. However, the top-eight The Galloping Bear, has been badly out of form since runner-up in this off the same mark a year ago, and even though this is a slightly easier assignment, a revival does not look forthcoming.

On the other hand, Tommie Beau has been progressing, winning twice in deep ground at Sedgefield and Fontwell, while he possibly bumped into one who was very well-treated at Plumpton in the race in which Gold Clermont was eighth. He was second, but shaped as if an even more extreme test of stamina will suit, as we know it will for Major Dundee. Alan King’s charge was disappointing at Warwick in the Classic Chase, but that may have been a one off and he is only 3lb higher than for his Midlands National win last year.

Of the others, Easy Bucks is a rank outsider, Sidi Ismael is likelier to run at Exeter on Friday and Prince Des Fichaux is 4lb out of the weights which, for all he can progress, looks a tough task to overcome. Christopher Wood could be on the premises but looks an unlikely winner, while the veteran Rath An Iuir is another inconsistent sort and Cruz Control takes an enormous step up in trip.

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Big Race Verdict

Anglers Crag is in the form of his career, but there are enough reasons to suggest this trip and ground might not improve him to the extent they might for Fenland Tiger, who is 7lb better off for their meeting at the back end of 2023. Sam England’s eight-year-old can overturn that form, but the class and stamina prowess of TOMMIE BEAU might win the day. Seamus Mullins’ charge bumped into a well-treated horse when second at Plumpton and looks like he may relish this even more marathonic trip given his two wins prior to that latest effort. Major Dundee has not been in quite the same form of late, but a revival for him looks more likely than it does for either Flower Of Scotland or The Galloping Bear.

  1. Tommie Beau
  2. Fenland Tiger
  3. Major Dundee
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