The Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, one of five races staged over the Grand National fences at Aintree during the course of the Jump season, is moving its position in the calendar and will now take place at the November meeting (Saturday 6th November in 2021).
Staged over two miles and five furlongs, the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase was revived in 2003 and alongside the Becher Handicap Chase was one of two contests run over the Grand National fences at Aintree’s December meeting (Saturday 4th December in 2021). The 2020 running of the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase went to Beau Bay, trained by Dr Richard Newland and ridden by Charlie Hammond.
Explaining the decision Sulekha Varma, Clerk of the Course at Aintree, said: “By moving the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase forward a month to the November meeting there are now three fixtures a year where the Grand National fences are utilised, with the Becher Handicap Chase following at the December meeting and then the three contests at Randox Grand National Festival in April.
“We felt that the November meeting at Aintree lacked a highlight and this move should hopefully give it a boost. It always feels extra special at our fixtures when the famous Grand National fences are in use it is exciting that the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase will now have its own billing.
“By having the opportunity to run a horse over the Grand National fences at a different time of year, we also hoping that moving the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase forward a month will assist trainers in their planning for the Randox Grand National Festival.”
Trainer Jamie Snowden saddled Hogan’s Height to victory in the 2019 Grand Seton Handicap Chase and the Lambourn handler extended his support to the movement of the contest to the November meeting.
Snowden said: “I think this is a sensible move, as it means that it will now be possible to run a horse in the Grand Sefton and then go on the Becher the following month.
“I wonder if the possibility of having a bonus for a horse that can win the Grand Sefton, Becher and Grand National could ever be an option in the future.
“Hogan’s Height is being aimed at the Grand Sefton once again this year and I am also considering the race as an option for Thomas Macdonagh.”
The Grand Sefton Handicap Chase will remain an early-closing race, with entries for the 2021 renewal closing at noon on Tuesday 12th October.