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One For Arthur and Walk In The Mill on course for Aintree

Alpha Des Obeaux and Ballyoptic head the weights on 11st 12lb, details of which are revealed today, for the £150,000 G3 Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase (59 entries) over the Grand National fences at Aintree on Saturday, 7 December, Becher Chase Day.

Alpha Des Obeaux, one of four entries for Irish trainer Gordon Elliott, finished third in the G1 Champion Chase at Down Royal on 2 November, while Ballyoptic captured the G2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on the same afternoon. Ballyoptic is expected to run this weekend in the G1 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park.

Vic Venturi in 2009 was last top-weight to win Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase.

Elliott has also engaged Galway Plate victor Borice (11st), 2018 Irish Grand National hero General Principle (10st 10lb) and Out Sam (10st 7lb), the winner of last season's Cork Grand National.

Ballyoptic's trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is the most successful handler in Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase with six victories and the Gloucestershire handler is also responsible for Scottish Grand National fourth Blue Flight (11st 3lb).

Ante-post favourite Give Me A Copper, who headlines four entries for champion trainer Paul Nicholls, has been allotted 11st 1lb on the back of his victory in the Listed Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton.

A handful of entries have already excelled over the Grand National fences, none more so than 2017 Randox Health Grand National victor One For Arthur (Lucinda Russell, 11st 2lb), the first Scottish-trained winner of the world's greatest chase since Rubstic in 1979.

Having missed the 2018 Randox Health Grand National due to injury, One For Arthur finished sixth in this year's renewal. The 10-year-old began the current campaign with a fourth behind Mysteree (Michael Scudamore, 10st 5lb) in a handicap chase at Kelso on 26 October.

Russell said: "One For Arthur is in good shape and the plan is the Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase.

"He ran a really good race at Kelso on his return to action. We were delighted with the performance.

"The Becher was always going to be his next target and we are looking forward to taking him back to Aintree."

Last year's Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase victor Walk In The Mill (Robert Walford, 10st 8lb), who went on to finish fourth in the Randox Health Grand National, is one of two former winners among the entries alongside the 2016 victor Vieux Lion Rouge (David Pipe, 10st 12lb).

Robert Walford said: "Walk In The Mill has come out of his reappearance at Wincanton fine [when PU in Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap Chase].

"We are happy with him at home and the plan now to hopefully head back to Aintree for the Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase."

The seven Irish-trained entries also feature the Willie Mullins-trained Pleasant Company (11st 7lb), who was a fast-finishing second to Tiger Roll in the 2018 Randox Health Grand National.

Owner Trevor Hemmings has an excellent record over the Grand National fences. His four entries include Vintage Clouds (Sue Smith, 10st 12lb) and Lake View Lad (Nick Alexander, 11st 9lb), who finished second and third in the G3 Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, as well as Burtons Well (Venetia Williams, 10st 5lb), the winner of a veterans' handicap chase at Aintree on 26 October.

Other notable contenders include G2 National Hunt Chase scorer Le Breuil (Ben Pauling, 11st 3lb), fellow second season chaser Top Ville Ben (Phil Kirby, 11st 4lb) and promising novice Mulcahys Hill (Warren Greatrex, 10st 11lb).

O O Seven tops weights for £80,000 Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase

O O Seven has been handed top-weight of 11st 12lb for the other race over the Grand National fences on Becher Chase Day, the £80,000 Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs.

O O Seven, one of five entries for trainer Nicky Henderson, has not raced since landing a valuable grade A handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival in early May.

Henderson's strong team also features progressive mare Casablanca Mix (11st 11lb), who has won her two latest starts including the Listed Summer Plate Handicap Chase at Market Rasen.

Leading ante-post fancy Call It Magic (Ross O'Sullivan), one of four Irish-trained contenders, has been given 10st 6lb, while the sole French-trained contender It's Jennifer (Louisa Carberry) has been allotted 10st 1lb.

As De Mee (Paul Nicholls, 11st 1lb) captured the Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase in 2016 and the nine-year-old could bid to become the first multiple winner of the race.

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