Highland Lodge on target for Topham Chase

Highland Lodge and Henry Brooke jump the final fence en route to winning the Betfred Becher Chase at Aintree
Image: Highland Lodge: Topham Chase expected to suit

Jimmy Moffatt believes the combination of a shorter trip and a return to the Grand National fences will bring out the best in Highland Lodge when he tackles the Randox Health Topham Chase at Aintree on April 13.

The 12-year-old disappointed when pulled up in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock in January, although he had previously turned in a sound effort when third in the Becher Chase over the famous Aintree fences back in December.

Highland Lodge contested the Grand National itself last year and having been pulled up before the last obstacle that day, Moffatt thinks the two miles and five furlongs of the Topham presents enough of a test.

He said: "We have had to regroup since Highland Lodge ran at Haydock.

"We are fairly certain now that he needs the Aintree fences to bring out the best in him, so the Topham Chase is the plan.

"We did not feel that he got the trip in the Grand National last year and, given how well he has run in the Becher, we think the Topham will suit.

"He is a prominent racer and brilliant jumper over the fences, and those sort of horses tend to do well in the Topham."

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Highland Lodge has been allotted just 10st 4lb for the Topham, with the Richard Hobson-trained Shantou Flyer leading the way on 11st 12lb.

The Pat Kelly-trained Mall Dini (11st 5lb) and Willie Mullins' pair of Patricks Park (10st 4lb) and Pairofbrowneyes (11st 1lb) spearhead a 17-strong Irish entry.

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