Past Winners » Vieux Lion Rouge
Vieux Lion Rouge only has 10st 9lb to carry in the Becher Chase, and that is light enough. Seven of the last 12 winners of the race carried 10st 12lb or less.
It is a little concerning that he is only seven – the youngest winner of the Becher Chase in the last eight years was nine years old – but he is an unusual seven-year-old, in that he ran a cracker in the Grand National last April. The last seven-year-old to win the Grand National was Bogskar, and that was in 1940.
Of course, David Pipe’s horse did not with the National, he was only seventh in the end, beaten almost 50 lengths, but he jumped the fences superbly and he travelled well until they joined the racecourse proper again with two fences to jump. He just faded from there as his youth probably told.
This is his seasonal debut, but he does go well fresh, he won a big handicap chase at Haydock on his debut last season, and his record on his debut reads 1131. Also, you can be sure that Pipe has had this race in mind for him since the National.
On his last run before the National last season, he finished sixth in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, a race that has already produced the Hennessy winner and the Scottish National winner. He was only five lengths behind said Scottish National winner Vicente that day.
The handicapper has dropped him 4lb for his National run to a mark of 142, which was strange, you would have thought that he would have raised him. So he is potentially a really well handicapped horse. Also, he has raced just seven times over fences, so he has plenty of scope for progression.
VIEUX LION ROUGE WON (ADV 11/1, SP 8/1)