2019 Grand Sefton Chase tips – 13/2 & 7/1 picks for Aintree’s Saturday closer

Brian Healy gives his two against the field for Saturday's Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree which closes out a quality racecard at the Merseyside track.

Saturday’s top-class fixture at Aintree on Saturday sees two races go to post over the Grand National fences, and following on from the Topham Chase eariler in the racecard, the meeting concludes with the Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase which gets underway at 3.15pm.

The 2m 5f contest boasts a first prize of almost £50,000, and a potential field of 19 runners could go to post to face the fearsome and unique Aintree Grand National obstacles with an eye to returning here in April to contest the Grand National proper.

Brian Healy looks through the potential field of runners for Saturday’s concluding race on a cracking Aintree racecard where he picks out his two against the field.

First Selection – TOUCH KICK (Paul Nicholls)

Paul Nicholls has won three of the last six renewals of this race, and the Ditcheat handler could sent TOUCH KICK (7/1, Coral) into battle for this race where the Presenting gelding looks to hold solid claims.

A decent sort over hurdles, he took his form up a notch when switched to chasing ahead of the 2017/18 campaign where he showed progressive form in a lightly raced season which included a win at Sandown over Lithic. However, he was absent for ten months following his third-place finish behind Hell’s Kitchen at Kempton until returning at Hereford last November with a victory over Conna Cross.

Following good efforts in the frame at Newbury and Chepstow, and then making a return to winning ways at Taunton in Feburary he went off the boil in his last two starts of the season which culminated in being pulled up here behind Kildisart. However, he made another winning return to action when successful at Fakenham on his reappearance, and given plenty of time he could be worth siding with again to follow up.

That effort saw him run out a ready seven lengths’ winner over Hepijeu, travelling well into the race and finding plenty for pressure when asked for his effort, and a subsequent 7lbs rise in the weights could leave him with scope to improve.

He might ideally want better ground than he’s likely to get on Saturday despite having won in the past on softer ground; but if the conditions don’t inconvenience and he takes to this different style of obstacle then it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise to see him firmly in the mix for his trainer who has a good recent record in the event.

Touch Kick could bid to give Paul Nicholls another winner in the Grand Sefton Chase.

Second Selection – ULTRAGOLD (Colin Tizzard)

ULTRAGOLD (13/2, William Hill) has been out of sorts in recent runs, including when pulled up on his reappearance behind Vinndication in the recent Sodexo Gold Cup back in November. However, Colin Tizzard’s charge boasts a good record around these fences, and a return to this sort of test could see the Kapgarde gelding bounce back.

He has contested over these obstacles five times in all, winning successive Topham Chases in 2017 and 2018, while he has also finished runner-up in the 2017 renewal of this race as well as the 2018 Becher Chase.

The veteran also contested in and completed the course in last season’s Grand National, finishing down the field although he was later found to be lame. That run had come on the back of finishing fifth in the Classic Chase at Warwick before a disappointing run in the Cross-country Chase during the Cheltenham Festival.

There is every likelihood that he needed his reappearance at Ascot last month, and he should strip a lot fitter for that return where he pulled up just after the third last although he was tailed off at the time. But, a return to this venue with a start under his belt could be the catalyst for a return to form, and with his record here hard to crib then he can post a big run.

Ultragold boasts a formidale record over the Grand National fences and can run well again in Saturday’s renewal.