PART II

DIARY – AINTREE FESTIVAL

GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY

THURSDAY 12 APRIL 2018

 

 

 

f race 5 grand vision.jpg

 

Grand Vision is fine following his departure

at the Canal Turn during the Fox Hunters’ Chase

 

 

Click here to read my Grand National Thursday Diary Part I

 

It was soon time for the fourth race of the day, the Aintree Hurdle. 

The favourite for this race was Supasundae, trained by Jessica Harrington and ridden by Robbie Power; price 11-10.  There were two greys, Air Horse One and Diakali; also a French-raider Izzo, ridden by Richard Johnson today.

There was no Buveur D’Air this year, but the favourite had been the runner-up in Cheltenham’s Stayers’ Hurdle and The New One was also stepping back down in trip, having been disappointing in the same race.  My Tent Or Yours had missed the Festival this year; the mercurial L’Ami Serge had won the Grade 1 French Champion Hurdle, but can never be relied upon!  I like Cyrus Darius; during the summer of 2018 he would be transferred to Colin Tizzard’s yard.   

As this race was today’s feature event, having exited onto the racecourse, the runners were paraded in front of the stands before they headed to the starting gate, which was a third of the way along the back straight; two of the three flights of hurdles being jumped before the far turn.  

Race 4

Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)

Distance

2 miles 4 furlongs (11 flights to negotiate)

No. of Runners

9

Air Horse One, Clyne, Cyrus Darius, Diakali, Izzo, L’Ami Serge, My Tent Or Yours, Supasundae, The New One

 

And then they were off and heading towards the first flight, led by Diakali from Clyne.  The runners were already strung-out before they’d even reached it; bringing up the rear were L’Ami Serge, Cyrus Darius and Izzo.  The horses cleared the obstacle in their stride, with the lighter grey already half a dozen lengths clear of his rivals as they continued towards the second hurdle.

There were no noticeable errors at this flight and the nine competitors headed into the top bend, with Diakali now around ten lengths clear of Clyne who, in turn, was six lengths clear of The New One in third.  Having travelled along the side of the racecourse, the runners entered the home straight, with Diakali still well clear of the Evan Williams-trained runner.  The New One shifted to his right when jumping the first flight therein, nudging into My Tent Or Yours in the process.  Supasundae travelled behind these, ahead of L’Ami Serge, Air Horse One, Cyrus Darius and, finally, Izzo.

Meanwhile Joshua Moore’s mount had soon reached and skipped over the fourth flight; Izzo blundered at this one.  The competitors continued down the home straight, with the leader holding an advantage of 15 to 20 lengths over Clyne as he jumped the next.  The second was still clear of the main group, which was led by Supasundae and The New One as they travelled down past the main grandstands with one circuit to travel. 

The leader continued to press on as he continued around the bottom bend and into the back straight once more.  He’d soon jumped the first flight therein, with the others strung out like washing behind him; Air Horse One made an error at this obstacle, and The New One soon dropped back to fifth position.  The journey along the back straight continued, with the long-time leader still well clear of his rivals as he cleared the seventh; Supasundae was currently leading the main group, from My Tent Or Yours.  The competitors crossed the sanded track-way on their journey to the last flight in the back straight; the long-time leader jumped it well, Clyne less so.  Air Horse One subsequently received reminders as the runners headed into the top turn.

As they headed along the side of the racecourse, Clyne had begun eating into Diakali’s lead with every stride; however, the leading duo was still well clear of the remainder.  Adam Wedge’s mount took over the running as they rounded the home turn, and set sail for the third last.  But the cavalry were coming, in the shape of Supasundae, My Tent Or Yours, Cyrus Darius and L’Ami Serge. 

Clyne was five lengths clear of the tiring Diakali as they jumped the three out; the latter was collared by Supasundae and My Tent or Yours shortly afterwards, and subsequently by Cyrus Darius and L’Ami Serge.  Clyne remained ahead as they jumped the penultimate flight, but his rivals continued to reduce the deficit, with the challenge led by Supasundae. 

Robbie Power switched his mount to the far side as they approached the final flight and took a narrow advantage; meanwhile, having initially been short of room between My Tent Or Yours and Cyrus Darius, L’Ami Serge suddenly burst through to mount his challenge as they jumped the last.  The latter was then driven into the lead by jockey Daryl Jacob.  On this occasion, the mercurial L’Ami Serge was not for catching and stayed on to win by 3 lengths from Supasundae at the line. 

Despite having chased Diakali for much of the race, Clyne hung on to third place as veteran My Tent Or Yours had weakened and faded on the run-in to finish 4th.  Cyrus Darius completed in 5th, Diakali in 6th and Izzo 7th and last.  The New One had been pulled up before three out, as had Air Horse One.

Although the winner had finished 2nd in the Long Walk Hurdle, he’d been only 8th in the Stayers’ Hurdle; today’s trip is his optimum and the race was run to suit him too.

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

L’Ami Serge

Nicky Henderson

Daryl Jacob

2nd

Supasundae

Jessica Harrington

Robbie Power

3rd

Clyne

Evan Williams

Adam Wedge

4th

My Tent Or Yours

Nicky Henderson

Barry Geraghty

 

We chose to remain at our favourite vantage point ahead of the next race. 

 

Race 4 - 3:25pm

THE BETWAY AINTREE HURDLE (CLASS 1) (Grade 1)

 

DIAKALI (FR), ridden by Joshua Moore, did not parade in racecard order. Being satisfied that it was due to circumstances beyond the rider’s control, no further action was taken.

The performance of THE NEW ONE (IRE), which was pulled up, was considered. Nigel Twiston-Davies could offer no explanation for the gelding’s performance. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of THE NEW ONE (IRE) during routine testing failed to reveal any abnormalities.

 

It was soon time for the fifth race of the day; the Fox Hunters’ Chase for amateur riders which is run over the Grand National fences. 

 

The favourite for the event was the beautiful grey Grand Vision, trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by Mr Jamie Codd.  Captain Guy Disney had a ride in this race; the amputee was aboard the Kim Bailey-trained Gallery Exhibition.  However, his mount was playing up in the tunnel and threw his rider.  Fortunately Guy was okay and followed his horse out onto the racecourse on foot.  However once aboard, Gallery Exhibition proved reluctant to begin his journey to the start; Sam Waley-Cohen subsequently gave him a lead, and with the help of the stable-lass too, they got the Kim Bailey runner started on his way.

 

The second grey in the race was Unioniste.  My fancy for this one was Bear’s Affair; a horse formerly trained by Nicky Henderson.  Page Fuller, who is attached to Jamie Snowden’s yard and who I often see when visiting the stable, was riding Mon Parrain; she would turn professional in the summer of 2018.

 

The start of the race was at the far end of the home straight, with two fences to jump before The Chair; having reached the starting area, the riders took their mounts to look at the first obstacle, before having their girths checked prior to the race.  Gallery Exhibition was also reluctant to move away from the ‘viewing’ fence in order to join the others.

Race 5

Fox Hunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase (Amateur Riders)

Distance

2 miles 5 furlongs 19 yards (18 fences to negotiate)

No. of Runners

21

Balnaslow, Barrakilla, Bear’s Affair, Bound For Glory, Curraigflemens, Distime, Eddies Miracle, Gallery Exhibition, Grand Vision, Greensalt, Lilbitluso, Mon Parrain, Never Complain, On The Fringe, Rouge Et Blanc, Sir Jack Yeats, Unioniste, Warden Hill, Wells De Lune, Winged Crusader, Wonderful Charm

 

Having congregated at the gate, the Starter told them to walk in but, even though a number were jogging, he was happy and let them go first time.  Having been an organised line-up, there were a number of horses in the front line during the journey to the first fence, including Grand Vision and the first one to land was Bound For Glory; there were no casualties at this fence, so 21 runners continued to the next.  Prominent behind the leader were Wells De Lune, veteran On The Fringe with Nina Carberry aboard, and also Barrakilla.

Wells De Lune joined Bound For Glory at the head of affairs before the fence, but he slowed on the approach and jumped out slightly to his right.  Two from the rear, Page Fuller’s mount Mon Parrain made an error.  The only horse behind him was Winged Crusader and these two were both detached from the main field.

With all runners still standing, they headed towards the third, which was The Chair.  Once again Wells De Lune had assumed the lead but lost it in air as Bound For Glory out-jumped him once more.  Greensalt made an error and Winged Crusader was extremely slow, but they all survived to continue to the water-jump for the one and only time. 

Wells De Lune had assumed the lead again and jumped this fence ahead of Bound For Glory.  This duo headed around the bend and out into the country followed by Barrakilla, Lilbitluso and Sir Jack Yeats; Greensalt and Balnaslow came next, from Bear’s Affair, On The Fringe, Gallery Exhibition, Eddie’s Miracle, Grand Vision, Never Complain, Rouge Et Blanc, Curraigflemens, Wonderful Charm, Distime, Unioniste, then there was a gap to Warden Hill, Winged Crusader and Mon Parrain.      

The horses continued over the Melling Road on their journey to the fifth fence, still led by the hooded Wells De Lune representing last year’s winning trainer Mickey Bowen.  The leader jumped to his right over the obstacle, and slightly across Bound For Glory in the process.  Further back in the field, the favourite made a mistake when hampered by Eddie’s Miracle, but they all cleared this fence and continued to the sixth obstacle.  Eddie’s Miracle got a little bit close to one of his rivals, Bear’s Affair, upon landing over this one.  Having made an error travelling in rear, Mon Parrain received a remainder.   

The following fence was the big open-ditch; known as ‘Westhead’ after a former course-builder. The leaders jumped this okay but, at the back of the main group, 13-year-old Rouge Et Blanc blundered and Pippa Glanville lost her left iron as a result.  She got it back, but the saddle had slipped and she was forced to pull up before the next.  Besides, it was later discovered that the horse had bled from its nose.

Meanwhile, the leading group had already jumped the next, where Wells Du Lune made an error.  The trailing Winged Crusader hit the top of this and, although he remained on his feet, Amie Waugh was catapulted out of the saddle.  This left nineteen runners to continue to the fence before Becher’s; although Warden Hill and Mon Parrain were tailed-off badly in rear.

There were two departures at this one, namely Wells De Lune and Eddie’s Miracle; the former unseated and the latter was recorded as fell.  Grand Vision was also hampered by Eddie’s Miracle’s departure and was subsequently ridden along for a few strides and also received a couple of reminders.  The new style of Aintree fence causes far fewer falls these days; the jockeys just part company with their mounts!  Having jumped the obstacle, Page Fuller decided to call it a day aboard Mon Parrain.  Wells De Lune’s jockey had walked away, but Barry O’Neill remained down for a while following his mishap.   

With three further runners out of the race, sixteen continued to the famous fence, or should that be infamous fence.  Bound For Glory flew over it, from Lilbitluso, the blinkered Sir Jack Yeats, Barrakilla, Greensalt, Bear’s Affair, Balnaslow, Never Complain who got a little bit close to Gallery Exhibition, followed by the also blinkered Wonderful Charm, Distime, On The Fringe, Grand Vision, Unioniste with jockey David Maxwell re-gathering his reins on landing, Carraigflemens and, finally, Warden Hill.

The next fence was ‘Fionavon; Distime blundered here but survived.  The horses continued to the Canal Turn, with Bound For Glory carried a little bit wide due a loose horse travelling up his inside.  Lilbitluso got too close to the fence and came down heavily on his forehand.  Grand Vision caught his hind-legs in the fence and also fell; the latter was soon on his feet and galloped after the field.  Phew!  However, Lilbitluso endeavoured to get to his feet but couldn’t.

Meanwhile the remaining fourteen runners continued to Valentine’s Brook; Bound For Glory and Barrakilla jumped this in unison; further back in the field, Wonderful Charm made an error.  They continued to the next, a plain fence, where Barrakilla blundered, enabling Bound For Glory to go into an undisputed lead once more.  Warden Hill departed here, whilst trailing the field; he unseated his jockey.  Tom Chatfeild-Roberts kept hold of his mount’s reins and led him away; race over.

This left thirteen horses to continue to the final open-ditch; four from home.  Bound For Glory led, from Barrakilla, Greensalt, Sir Jack Yeats, Bear’s Affair, Never Complain, Distime, Balnaslow, On The Fringe, Wonderful Charm, Gallery Exhibition, Unioniste and Curraigflemens.  Never Complain blundered at this one, impeding Distime slightly, and Bear’s Affair jumped across Balnaslow.  There was a loose horse too, and he also blundered!

Having jumped like a stag throughout the race, Bound For Glory blundered badly at the next, having stepped through the fence.  The rider released the reins and the partnership survived; he remained three lengths clear of his nearest rival, which was currently Greensalt.  The runners subsequently headed back across the Melling Road with two fences remaining.  Bound For Glory was only a length clear, when he was hampered slightly by the loose horse turning in. 

Hannah Lewis’ mount still led narrowly as they cleared the second last, with Greensalt, Balnaslow and Bear’s Affair launching their challenges as they continued to the final obstacle.  Greensalt led over this one but, subsequently, he hung to the right as he approached the elbow.  Derek O’Connor switched to the left and his mount, together with Bear’s Affair, came through the gap between William Easterby’s mount and Bound For Glory.

Bear’s Affair claimed the rail as they headed down the long run-in to the line, but his rival began to assert as they reached the half furlong post.  Last year’s runner-up wasn’t to be denied this year and, although he may have slightly impeded Bear’s Affair at one point, he galloped on to win by 2½ lengths at the winning post.   

Greensalt claimed 3rd position, 4 lengths behind the runner-up, with Barrakilla 4th, On The Fringe 5th, Bound For Glory a gallant 6th, Unioniste 7th, Distime 8th, Sir Jack Yeats 9th, Never Complain 10th, Wonderful Charm 11th and Gallery Exhibition, under Guy Disney, the last to complete in 12th; Curraigflemens having been pulled up before two out when tailed off completely.

Derek O’Connor said that the horse had already had a hard season last year, before finishing as runner-up but this year the preparation had been much better; he’d finished 7th in the Cheltenham Festival’s Foxhunter the previous month.  He thanked connections for keeping the horse in training, following the death of the owner the previous November.  The winning horse was skittish when Olly Bell was interviewing the jockey; he just didn’t like the ‘microphone on a stick’! 

Derek O’Connor has ridden over 1000 winners, as an amateur, despite only being permitted as an amateur to ride for around 60 days a year; and this during a 10-year-period.  Amazingly, despite his record, this was his first winner over the Grand National fences.

Guy Disney thoroughly enjoyed his experience, despite his mount struggling in today’s very soft ground at the far end of the course.  He implied that it was surreal to ride alongside the likes of amateurs Derek O’Connor, Nina Carberry and Jamie Codd.  

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Balnaslow

Graham John McKeever

Mr Derek O’Connor

2nd

Bear’s Affair

Philip Rowley

Mr Alex Edwards

3rd

Greensalt

W H Easterby

Mr William Easterby

4th

Barrakilla

Fergal O’Brien

Mr Zac Baker

5th

On The Fringe

Enda Bolger

Ms Nina Carberry

6th

Bound For Glory

D M G Fitch-Peyton

Miss Hannah Lewis

7th

Unioniste

Paul Nicholls

Mr David Maxwell

8th

Distime

Mrs D J Ralph

Mr William Biddick

9th

Sir Jack Yeats

Richard Spencer

Mr James King

10th

Never Complain

Mrs F Marshall

Mr Charlie Marshall

11th

Wonderful Charm

Paul Nicholls

Mr Sam Waley-Cohen

12th

Gallery Exhibition

Kim Bailey

Mr Guy Disney

 

And those which did not finish:

 

Pulled Up

Before 2 out (17th)

Curraigflemens

David Kemp

Mr Richard Collinson

Unseated

14th fence

Warden Hill

Mrs H Connors

Mr Tom Chatfeild-Roberts

Fell

Canal Turn (12th)

Lilbitluso

J J O’Shea

Mr Gillon Crow

Fell

Canal Turn (12th)

Grand Vision

Colin Tizzard

Mr Jamie Codd

Pulled Up

Before Bechers (10th)

Mon Parrain

Mrs Kim Smyly

Miss Page Fuller

Unseated

9th fence

Wells De Lune

Mickey Bowen

Mr Peter Bryan

Fell

9th fence

Eddies Miracle

D M Christie

Mr B O’Neill

Pulled Up

8th fence

Rouge Et Blanc

Oliver Sherwood

Miss Pippa Glanville

Unseated

8th fence

Winger Crusader

Miss A Waugh

Miss Amie Waugh

 

We remained beside the course-side rails following the race.

 

Sadly, Lilbitluso proved to be a fatality, having sustained a serious injury when falling at the Canal Turn.  RIP

Unfortunately 12-year-old Bound For Glory passed away following a run at Fakenham the following month.  RIP      

It was good news regarding Grand Vision, he returned safely although rider-less; I met him during Colin Tizzard’s Open Day the following August.  J

Race 5 - 4:05pm

THE RANDOX HEALTH FOXHUNTERS' OPEN HUNTERS’ STEEPLE CHASE (CLASS 2)

 

Mr Derek O’Connor was suspended for 2 days for failing to obey the Stewards’ instruction to attend a pre-race Jockeys briefing.

Having arrived after the pre-race Jockeys briefing had commenced, Mr Sam Waley-Cohen was suspended for 1 day
for failing to obey the Stewards’ instruction to attend the briefing on time *This report was amended on 13 April to clarify the 1 day suspension*

Mr Derek O’Connor, the rider of the winner, BALNASLOW (IRE), was suspended for 2 days for using his whip with excessive force after the last fence. The gelding was examined by the Veterinary Officer after the race and was found to have no abnormalities.

Following the race, Miss Pippa Glanville reported that her saddle slipped on ROUGE ET BLANC (FR), which was pulled up, and the Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding revealed it had bled from the nose. The Veterinary Officer reported that GALLERY EXHIBITION (IRE), unplaced, sustained a laceration to its right fore.

The favourite for the next race was King’s Socks, trained by David Pipe and ridden by Tom Scudamore; price 7-2.  The horse had finished 5th in the Plate at the Cheltenham Festival the previous month.  There were two greys in this race – Wisty and Theflyingportrait.

One of my favourite horses, Theinval was running in this race, ridden by the cute Jeremiah McGrath; the partnership had been runners-up in this event last year.  My well-priced each way fancy was Bentelimar priced at 10-1. 

The starting gate for this event was in the far corner of the track; the cross fence being the first obstacle. 

Race 6

Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

Distance

2 miles (12 fences to negotiate)

No. of Runners

16

Gino Trail, Overtown Express, Tommy Silver, Sizing Platinum, Wisty, Theinval, Robinshill, King’s Socks, Bun Doran, Doitforthevillage, Theflyingportrait, Vosne Romanee, Baby King, Noche De Reyes, Bentelimar, Savello

 

Savello was a little bit tardy in joining the others; they were already heading towards the starting gate whilst he was walking in the opposite direction.  However, Bridget Andrews tagged onto the back of the pack as they passed by and then they were off, at the first time of asking. 

Gino Trail and Theflyingportrait led the runners towards the cross-fence; they all cleared it well before heading around the bend and into the home straight for the first time.  The flashy leader flew over the second fence, from Theflyingportrait and Robinshill; Bentelimar travelled in fourth position, from Tommy Silver, King’s Socks, Theinval, Bun Doran, Vosne Romanee, Baby King, Sizing Platinum, Noche De Reyes, Overtown Express, Doitforthevillage, Wisty and Savello.

The sixteen competitors continued to the third obstacle,; it was the first of three open-ditches to be negotiated during the race.  They negotiated it safely, although Robinshill took it more slowly than his rivals and Wisty had become detached at the back of the field.  The horses continued across the intersection with the Grand National course on their way to the fourth fence.  Gino Trail was out-jumped by Theflyingportrait at this one and Sizing Platinum wasn’t fluent here.  The leading duo disputed the running as they headed down towards the winning post with one circuit now to travel. 

These two were well clear of their rivals as they headed around the bottom bend, with Jamie Moore’s mount going on again as they travelled towards the entrance to the back straight.  Robinshill and Bentelimar led the pursuing group. The leader got close to the next fence but remained ahead; towards the rear of the field, both Overtown Express and Sizing Platinum made errors here.

Gino Trail continued to set the pace as the competitors headed towards and over the sixth fence; Sizing Platinum and Wisty now disputed last position.  The following fence was an open-ditch, which the leader jumped well, his jockey having seen a stride and ridden him into it.  Theflyingportrait wasn’t fluent, having dragged his hind-legs through the fence; Doitforthevillage made a mistake here too.

Sean Quinlan’s mount had lost ground upon the leader as they headed across the sanded track-way on their journey to five out.  On the outside of the field, Savello made a bad error; Gina Andrews lost grip of the reins, with both her hands, but her mount didn’t lose much ground, initially!   Gino Trail was well clear of his rivals as he headed into the far turn and continued along the side of the track. 

Bentelimar overtook Theflyingportrait as they jumped the cross-fence and the latter quickly lost his place.  Gino Trail led the competitors into the home straight but his advantage had been reduced to a length as he jumped three out.  Not far behind the leading duo were Doitforthevillage, Bun Doran, Baby King and Theinval.  The Charlie Longsdon-trained runner took over the lead as they continued to two out; the final open-ditch.  Theival had moved into third position by this point.  The leading five jumped it well, whereas the fading Baby King blundered badly. 

Bentelimar was ridden clear as they crossed the route of the Grand National course, with Jerry McGrath’s mount moving into second spot whilst in hot pursuit of the leader.  Both Bentelimar and Theinval flew the last; the latter around 3 lengths adrift.  But, try as he might, Theinval could close no further and Jonathan Burke’s mount was driven out to win by 3¼ lengths at the winning post.  Despite setting a hot pace, Gino Trail clung on to finish 3rd, 18 lengths behind the runner-up. 

Doitforthevillage finished 4th, Bun Doran 5th and Sizing Platinum 6th.  Theflyingportait was last home in 11th position; Wisty having made an error at the cross-fence was pulled up before the next, Baby King was pulled up before the last, King’s Socks before 3 out too, as was Tommy Silver.  Robinshill was pulled up 2 out.     

Yet again this year, Theinval had to settle for 2nd place, having lost out last year to Double W’s.  Harry Derham, who is Paul Nicholls’ Assistant, congratulated the winning jockey after the line. 

Jonathan said the flat track suited his horse, as did the strong pace today; Bentelimar stays well.  He also said the cheek-pieces helped the chestnut today; they ‘woke him up’ having become a little clumsy with his jumping recently.  

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Bentelimar

Charlie Longsdon

Jonathan Burke

2nd

Theinval

Nicky Henderson

Jeremiah McGrath

3rd

Gino Trail

Kerry Lee

Jamie Moore

4th

Doitforthevillage

Paul Henderson

Tom O’Brien

 

We decided not to return to the steppings above the Winners’ Enclosure to see the runners return. 


Race 6 - 4:40pm

THE BETWAY RED RUM HANDICAP STEEPLE CHASE (CLASS 1) (Grade 3)

 

Permission was given for GINO TRAIL (IRE) to go early to post and DOITFORTHEVILLAGE (IRE) wore a hood in the Parade Ring only.

The performance of TOMMY SILVER (FR), which was pulled up, was considered. The representative of Paul Nicholls explained that the gelding was unsuited by the going, which was officially described as Soft (Good to Soft in Places), and would prefer a quicker surface.

The performance of KING’S SOCKS (FR), which was pulled up, was considered. The representative of David Pipe could offer no explanation for the gelding’s performance. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of KING’S SOCKS (FR) during routine testing failed to reveal any abnormalities.

The winner, BENTELIMAR (IRE), appeared to show an improvement in form compared with its previous run at Kempton on 17 March 2018, where the gelding was seventh of ten, beaten 23¾ lengths. Charlie Longsdon explained that BENTELIMAR (IRE) appreciated the drop back in trip on this occasion to 2 miles from 2 miles 4½ furlongs. The gelding was routine tested.

Following the race, A. P. Heskin reported that BABY KING (IRE), which was pulled up, made a bad mistake at the second last fence.

The favourite for the final race of the day was Getaway Katie Mai, trained by John Queally and ridden by amateur jockey Jamie Codd; price 15-8.  Presumably she was the favourite because she’d finished 2nd to subsequent Cheltenham Festival bumper winner Relegate in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown on soft ground in February.

There were two greys; namely Dissavril and Sparkling Dawn.  One runner of interest, namely 25-1 shot Midnightreferendum, trained by Alan King and ridden by Wayne Hutchinson. 

The starting gate was situated in the far corner of the track.

Race 7

Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2)

Distance

2 miles and 209 yards (no obstacles!)

No. of Runners

20

Ceara Be, Darling Du Large, Dissavril, Duhallow Gesture, Getaway Katie Mai, Jaxlight, Meep Meep, Midnightreferendum, Paper Promise, Posh Trish, Princess Roxy, Rococo Style, Sea Story, Secret Escape, Sparkling Dawn, Buildmeupbuttercup, Cedar Valley, Kuragina, Maebh, Zakharova

And then they were off, with Princess Roxy and Duhallow Gesture leading the way as they headed along the side of the racecourse.  They were followed by Secret Escape, Cedar Valley and Jaxlight.  Duhallow Gesture went on as they continued around the bend and into the home straight on the first occasion; Ceara Be brought up the rear.

The twenty runners had soon passed through between the first set of empty hurdle wings, the Anthony Honeyball horse continuing to spearhead the field.  They made steady progress down towards the main grandstands, passing through two further sets of empty hurdle wings as they did so. 

The order, as they continued towards the winning post was, Duhallow Gesture, from Princess Roxy, Jaxlight, Secret Escape, Cedar Valley, Midnight Referendum against the inside rail, Posh Trish, Sparkling Dawn, Kuragina, Rococo Style, Darling Du Large, Meep Meep, Paper Promise, Sea Story, Zakharova, Buildmeupbuttercup, Getaway Katie Mai, Dissavril, Maebh and Ceara Be.   

The runners subsequently headed around the bottom bend and into the back straight for the one and only time, with Duhallow Gesture continuing to lead.  There was no change at the head of affairs as the mares and fillies continued through two sets of empty hurdle wings, before crossing the sanded track-way and heading through one further set of empty wings.  Having entered the far turn, Rococo Style was being pushed along in mid-field.  At the rear of the pack were Maebh and Ceara Be, with the held-up favourite Getaway Katie Mai just in front of them.

Having journeyed along the side of the track, the runners soon entered the home straight with Duhallow Gesture continuing at the head of affairs from Princess Roxy, Secret Escape, Jaxlight, Posh Trish, Midnightreferendum and Cedar Valley.  The long-time leader remained ahead as they travelled between the first two sets of empty hurdle wings, with Midnightreferendum having improved into third position and Getaway Katie Mai making good headway towards the far side.

There was a long run to the final set of empty hurdle wings and the favourite continued to gain upon the leader, moving into runner-up position as they approached them.  Meanwhile, the Alan King-runner had got the better of Secret Escape and now occupied third spot.  The long-time leader was collared at the one furlong post by Jamie Codd’s mount, which then edged to her right despite the jockey using the persuader in his right hand.

Duhallow Gesture plugged on bravely in second, until overtaken in the final 75 yards by Midnightreferendum and, although the latter stayed on under pressure, she finished 1¼ lengths behind Getaway Katie Mai at the line.  Duhallow Gesture finished a further 2¾ lengths away in 3rd; a neck ahead of Meep Meep, with Buildmeupbuttercup and Secret Escape in 5th and 6th respectively.

However, it has to be mentioned that the jockey administered at least 18 strokes with his whip during the closing stages and received a long ban as a result; he cheated, whereas Wayne Hutchinson aboard the runner-up did not.      

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Getaway Katie Mai

John Queally

Mr Jamie Codd

2nd

Midnightreferendum

Alan King

Wayne Hutchinson

3rd

Duhallow Gesture

Anthony Honeyball

Richie McLernon

4th

Meep Meep

Tom Lacey

Tom Scudamore

 

After this, the final race, we chose to return to the steppings above the Winners’ Enclosure to see the runners return.

 

Race 7 - 5:15pm

THE GOFFS NICKEL COIN MARES' STANDARD OPEN NATIONAL HUNT FLAT RACE (CLASS 1) (Grade 2)

 

The Stable Inspecting Officer reported that Anthony Honeyball, the trainer of DUHALLOW GESTURE (IRE), had brought an unlabelled substance into the racecourse stables. Anthony Honeyball, the Stable Inspecting Officer and the Anti-Doping Manager were interviewed. Being satisfied that the mare had received only normal food and water by mouth on the day of racing, the Stewards allowed DUHALLOW GESTURE (IRE) to run and ordered that it be routine tested. They further confiscated the substance, ordered that it be tested, and referred the matter to the Head Office of the British Horseracing Authority.

Mr J. J. Codd, the rider of the winner, GETAWAY KATIE MAI (IRE), was suspended for 17 days and fined £400 for using his whip above the permitted level from the wings of the second last. The mare was examined by the Veterinary Officer after the race and was found to have no abnormalities.

It had been a good day for the home team, with five of the seven winners; one for Northern Ireland and one for Eire; Nicky Henderson had gained a treble today.  The Irish had won the Fox Hunters and the Mares’ Bumper. 

 

Wishing to avoid the exit queues on day one, we stayed to watch a number of the horses go through the Goffs UK sales ring after the day’s racing had been completed. 

 

Here are the results of the aforementioned sale:

http://www.goffsuk.com/sales-results/sales/the-aintree-sale-2018

 

Better safe than sorry, we popped to the ladies loo behind the Earl of Derby stand before heading back along the concourse and crossing the home straight in order to reach the bus which would take us back to the car park.

 

Having alighted, we walked along the sanded track-way and over the Melling Road, before heading through the ‘gazebo’ which sheltered the entrance.  We took a right turn upon reaching the driveway to continue our journey back to Sandra’s car. 

 

We subsequently set off along the driveway to reach the exit point just beyond Anchor Bridge; there were no queues to leave. Once outside, we encountered a barrier which made it difficult to turn right onto Aintree Lane as we’d hoped.  However, we were having none of this, so took a right turn into the nearest residential road; Sandra did a 3-point turn, before heading back to the Aintree Lane and turning left.  

 

We continued on our journey along Aintree Lane, passing the Blue Anchor pub and negotiating numerous speed bumps, en route to a mini-roundabout where we turned right into Wango Lane.  Shortly afterwards we arrived at a set of traffic lights which regulated traffic as it headed over the single-lane canal swing bridge.  As we headed over the canal, I noticed it was clear of surface weed and rubbish this year. 

 

We headed under a railway bridge, after which housing-related construction works continued to the right-hand side of the road. Shortly afterwards we arrived at a further set of traffic lights; these were situated at a crossroads upon the A506.  We turned left once the lights had turned to green, heading along the dual carriageway to a large roundabout located beneath the M57.

 

We negotiated this road island, and subsequently headed up the slip-road onto the motorway, travelling for just one junction before leaving via another slip-road which led down onto the A580.

 

Our journey continued eastwards, where we negotiated a number of traffic light-controlled junctions, plus one roundabout, before reaching the M6.  It travels through open-countryside for much of the way, the exceptions being the industrial estate close to the M57 motorway, the northern outskirts of St Helens, and Haydock too.  It’s a pleasant drive, on a dual-carriageway, with a speed limit of 60 mph for the majority of the way. 

 

A horsebox, belonging to Paul Nicholls, overtook us as we approached the M6 junction; we were surprised to see it head onto the northbound carriageway thereof!

 

Our hotel, just beyond Haydock racecourse and close to Golborne, is only a short distance to the east of the M6, with one roundabout to negotiate between the motorway bridge and the entrance to Stone Cross. 

 

We arrived back at the hotel at 19:20, with dinner booked for 20:00.  This evening we were sat in the largest room within the restaurant, but squeezed into a space between doorways.  Today’s meal was a sweet potato and feta lasagne, followed by a Cadburys Dairy Milk sundae. 

 

The service was probably the worst we’ve ever had; the waiter even forgot to give us a copy of the menu!  However, there was a group celebrating a birthday, sitting at the large table within the conservatory area; this included the delivery of a large birthday cake.  I think the waiter was so engrossed in keeping that particular party happy, that he forgot about the other paying customers within the room!

 

Fortunately the food was very good, apart from the ‘brain freeze’ I suffered as a result of the coldness of the sundae.  

 

Having returned to my room, I spent time making notes for my diary before dozing off to sleep.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

PHOTOS – Aintree Festival Day 1 (Index)

 

 

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