Run over the iconic Grand National fences, the contest is regularly seen as a perfect trial for the ‘race that stops the nation’ back at Aintree in April. Two winners of the race have gone on to win the Grand National – Amberleigh House and Silver Birch. Earth Summit won the race in 1998 following his Grand National win the previous April.
Now a 12-year-old Vieux Lion Rouge has is already a dual winner of the contest, one of four horses to achieve the feat along with Into The Red, Hello Bud and Walk In The Mill.
First successful in the contest in 2016, Vieux Lion Rouge was a brilliant winner of the race last year under Conor O’Farrell when rolling back the years to score in fine style. This contest and a slice of history has been the plan ever since and stable jockey Tom Scudamore is set to be on board.
Following his 2020 victory in the Becher Chase, Vieux Lion Rouge went on to finish 10th in the Welsh National and then fell at the 20th fence in this year’s Grand National when still going well. The Sabiango gelding returned to action when seventh at Chepstow in October and should come on plenty for that reappearance.
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Discussing one of his stable stars, Pipe, who tasted Grand National success with Comply Or Die in 2008, said in an interview with betting expert “Vieux Lion Rouge had a nice prep at Chepstow – this has been his main aim for the first half of the season. He is still full of beans at home despite being a 12-year-old and as everyone knows he loves it round the Grand National fences.
“He had schooled well over the Grand National fences and he jumps them better than normal fences, but we couldn't have dreamed about what he has done.
“We hope for a clear round and hopefully he has a great run on Saturday. He looked to still be going well when falling in the Grand National last season and it was just an uncharacteristic mistake.
“Vieux Lion Rouge is as well as ever at home and hopefully he can run really well for us. Tom Scudamore will be on board.”
The Nicholashayne handler has three other runners in the Becher Chase headed by Via Dolorosa who was fourth over the Grand National fences in the Grand Sefton on his debut for the yard, whilst Abaya Du Mathan and El Paso Wood will be making their debuts for the yard.
Pipe, in an interview with bettingexpert.com continued: “We have three other runners in the Becher Chase on Saturday. Via Dolorosa ran in the Grand Sefton the other day and ran a really good race.
"We’re a bit unsure about this trip but he ran a great race in the Sefton and whoever rides him will be in for a good ride.
"The other two Abaya Du Mathan and El Paso Wood are running first time out for us and they have decent form in France. They are a bit out of the weights, but they will take their chances.
“You don’t get an easy Becher, every jockey loves riding over those fences and every trainer and owner also gets very excited.
“You just want to get over the first five or six and get a horse into a rhythm then you can think about riding a race with those fences.
“I would like it to be on the slower side, but I’m sure it will be lovely ground for them.”