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Racing Live -  Aintree 8th December 2012

06:47 It's been dry overnight and the going is as follows:-

National course: Heavy
Hurdles: Soft, heavy on bend
Mildmay: Soft, good to soft in places

10:43 Good morning from Aintree, where it is sunny and not too chilly. There is a slight breeze, slightly head-on relative to the home straight.

We still have just the one non-runner.

11:47 An early start with our opener going off at 12:00 and it sees a dozen going to post for the 2m 1f Betfred New "30 Minute Limit" Coupon Maiden Hurdle.

Classic Case and Jack Albery were slightly on their toes but not as bad as Oscar Magic. Lifetime is a small, narrow horse.

Celtic Abbey was very slightly pulling but was still the best looking of an average bunch.

12:10 Call the police as we have had a robbery here as debutant Buthelezi, an average horse on the flat, makes all to take our opener.

Setting out his stall from the off jockey Jack Quinlan made it clear he wanted to dictate and his mount soon had a healthy lead wit only Classic Case making any semblance of an effort to go with the leader.

Market leader, Oscar Magic, led the main group which also saw Scarlet Fire and Glyn Ceiriog up with the pace.

As they turned for home the field got closer to Buthelezi and it looked as though he would pay the price for his front running, but he clearly had plenty in his tank as instead of tiring he kept up the same relentless pace.

Oscar Magic and Glyn Ceiriog looked to be serious challengers but the former turned out to be one paced and the latter was quickly pulled up between the final two flights.

Buthelezi went on to come home a most comfortable seven length winner with Oscar Magic second and Johnny Delta a further twenty lengths back in third.

As would be expected on Merseyside Thatcherite was never in contention.  

13:23 Another 2m 1f hurdle for race two, this time for the girls and there are nine of them off to the start.

Miss Conduct, as is her feminine want, was last into the parade ring and I didn't get a chance to see her. There were no negatives amongst the others with L'Unique and Ironically looking the best.

12:45 That was potentially going to be a great finish but at the final analysis it turned out to be quite uncompetitive with a not very edifying slow motion finish.

Miss Conduct, by far the most experienced runner in the field, set out to make all and she still had the advantage as they lined up for home but the two market leaders L'Unique and Cockney Sparrow were on her quarters, both having been held up in the early stages of the race.

Three out the pair were inseparable as they opened not so much a gap, more a chasm, on their rivals.

The duo were still together, as if attached by Velcro, as they cleared two out but then L'Unique gradually edged clear and by the final flight there was daylight between teh pair.

L'Unique pulled further clear on the run-in to record a dozen length victory over teh now one paced Cockney Sparrow.

It was 47 lengths to the rest and these were the ones seemingly coming home in slow motion. Miss Conduct did well to hold on an keep third spot with Ironically seemingly running on the spot to take fourth.   

12:59 Our first chase is on the Mildmay course and it sees just four lining up for the 3m 1f Betfred Treble Odds On Lucky 15's Chase.

It may only be a four runner contest but it's very open and there are no clues from the parade ring, with Across The Bay being the very narrow pick.

13:16 Well full marks to Jason Maguire who did very well to keep Across The Bay in contention as long as he did.

Attempting to make all again the horse showed a distinct propensity to hang left and try and run down his fences and as soon as Maguire managed to open up a healthy lead the horse did its best to lose it.

For most of the race Wayward Prince, Quito De La Roque and Calgary Bay followed in Indian file, with the last named being deliberately held up, although his jumping was also very scrappy.

As they went down the far side for the final time only two lengths separated the four runners as Across The Bay still managed to hold a lead.

Quito De La Roque, sent off favourite, looked to be in prime position to strike as they lined up for home but was unable to strike a decisive blow.

It was Wayward Prince who did strike, hitting the front at the second last and pulling clear.

Across The Bay did try to battle back but in the end Wayward Prince came home 2.5lengths clear of the long time leader.

Quito De La Roque held on for third but that was probably down to Calgary Bay tiring more than anything else.  

Wayward Prince will head to the Cheltenham Gold Cup via the Argento Chase at the same course in January.

13:29 It's back to the smaller obstacles and the 2m 4f Betfred "Bonus King Bingo" Novices' Handicap Hurdle with 13 due to compete.

Catch The Fire was a slight puller and Richmond looked quite edgy.

I only had a brief look a Beeves as he was late into the parade ring but he looked very nice.


13:44 After 2.5miles racegoers were treated to the closest of close finishes as Master Of The Sea and Bathwick Brave crossed the line together.

I was standing in line with the finish and I could not separate the pair as it came to a bob finish with, eventually, Master Of The Sea, getting the call by a short head.

Mirific and Kealshore Again had shared the running, whilst Master Of The Sea was in the group immediately behind the front pair and Bathwick Brave was held up.

As they began to turn for home the front pair had come back to the field and Master Of The Sea and Powerful Ambition were snapping at their heels, whilst Bathwick Brave was making steady progress through the field.

By two out Master Of The Sea and Powerful Ambition were the hares to be chased but by the last Bathwick Brave had replaced Powerful Ambition as the challenger.

The pair cleared the last together and neither was going to budge as they each took the lead as they bobbed towards the line.

Powerful Ambition came home third but 19 lengths behind the front pair.    

13:58 Our feature contest and the first over the National fences, it's the 16 runner Betfred Becher Handicap Chase over 3m 2f.

If you are looking for any paddock clues then I'm sorry you're going to be disappointed as they all look good.

Ballabriggs was very relaxed with a definite "been there, done that" look.

For what it's worth I have backed Problema Tic although I also backed Bathwick Brave in the last so my luck isn't hot this afternoon.

14:23 Well emotional scenes at Aintree as 14-year-old Hello Bud shows he's not past it as he holds off the fast finishing Join Together to win the race for a second time, by a fast diminishing neck.

The old boy set the pace for most of the contest, until Gulible Gordon headed him at Bechers, however he wasn't going to go down without a fight and two out he hit the front again two out.

Come the elbow there were plenty of potential rivals with the almost white Swing Bill looking to be best of the rest along with Big Fella Thanks.

However it was Join Together who emerged as the biggest danger. Having been settled for most of the contest he made steady progress before launching a final challenge after the elbow.

Luckily for backers of Hello Bud he had a big enough lead as Join Together was eating up the ground getting within a neck of the winner.

It was very close for minor honours with Big Fella Thanks narrowly getting the better of Swing Bill by a nose for third and In Compliance not that far behind in fifth.

Former National winner Ballabriggs was with the leaders before hitting the fence before Bechers quite hard and losing his position.

Favourite West End Rocker was never in contention, always behind before pulling up.

14:55 Another shot from the Becher as Fabalu scores four faults at the water.

14:57 I didn't get a chance to see the 14:45 race but Bear's Affair won the contest in fine style, ten lengths clear of Merrydown with Awaywiththegreys back in third.

15:12 Our final race is our second over the National Fences as nine line up for the extended 2m 5f Betfred "Goals Galore" Grand Sefton Handicap Chase.

Again a ring full of decent looking horses. Gansey was a slight puller. Hard to be dogmatic in terms of the best looking but Nacarat and Little Josh both looked nice.

15:32 A great afternoon for team Twiston-Davies as Little Josh takes the Grand Sefton for trainer Nigel and son Sam, giving them a double over the National fences and a treble for the afternoon. 

Little Josh set the early pace along with Nacarat, until Gansey swept by as they cleared Bechers.

Gansey was looking the likely winner as they headed for home but it seems Davies was taking a breather.

The pair were well clear of Tranquil Sea and Nacarat as they crossed the Melling Road for the final time.

Jumping the last the duo were upsides but as they came along the long run-in Little Josh edged clear although Gansey was not going to go down without a fight and was still within 1.75lengths as they crossed the line.

Tranquil Sea finished third, 19 lengths behind and Nacarat walked across the line in his own time to be the only other finisher.

15:44 That's it from a good afternoons racing here at Aintree. I must admit I like this meeting as it has good quality racing without the crowds of the National meeting.

It's been very much the the afternoon for team Twiston-Davies as they record a treble, including both the races over the big fences.

The weather was also reasonably kind with the mizzle only coming for the final race.

Also, and most importantly, all the runners came home OK.

From Aintree a very good afternoon.

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Non-Runners

The time in brackets is the time the horse was officially declared a non-runner.

SC - Self Certificate
VC - Vet's Certificate

15:20
5 Rebel de Maquis (lame - 19:51 Fri)

Results

12:00 Maiden Hurdle 2m 1f  (3,400m)

1st 2 Buthelezi    4/1
2nd 8 Oscar Magic   3/1 f
3rd 6 Jonny Delta 5/1
Tote Win 5.40
Places 2.20 1.60 1.90
Exacta 18.80
Trifecta 121.60
CSF 16.22
Distances 7l  20l
12 Ran

12:35 Listed Hurdle 2m 1f  (3,400m)

1st 8 L'unique    15/8 f
2nd 4 Cockney Sparrow 5/2
3rd 9 Miss Conduct 25/1
Tote Win 2.40
Places 1.20 1.40 2.80
Exacta 6.00
CSF 6.54
Distances 12l  47l
9 Ran
l

13:05 Listed Chase 3m 1f (5,000m)

1st 4 Wayward Prince 4/1
2nd 2 Across The Bay   15/8
Tote Win 5.90
Exacta 13.60
CSF 11.67
Distances 2.5l  3.75l 
Fav Quito De La Roque 13/8 (3rd)
4 Ran

13:35 Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f   (4,000m)

1st 13 Master Of The Sea   15/8 f
2nd 4 Bathwick Brave   10/1
3rd 10 Powerful Ambition   9/1
Tote Win 3.10
Places 1.50 3.90 3.50
Exacta 27.30
Trifecta 302.10
CSF 20.90
Distances Short head  19l
13 Ran

14:10 Becher Chase 3m 2f (5,200m)

1st 14 Hello Bud   14/1
2nd 2 Join Together   5/1
3rd 3 Big Fella Thanks 7/1
4th 5 Swing Bill    20/1
Tote Win 18.70
Places 3.20 1.50 2.10 4.70
Exacta 121.00
Trifecta 1 096.50
CSF 84.54
Distances neck  1.75l  Nose
Fav West End Rocker 4/1  (PU)
16 Ran

14:45 Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f  (4,000m)

1st 1 Bear's Affair   3/1 f
2nd 10 Merrydown   17/2
3rd 4 Awaywiththegreys   7/1
Tote Win 4.30
Places 1.80 2.90 2.80
Exacta 33.60
CSF 28.76
Tricast 167.84
Distances 10l  6l
11 Ran
NR 5

15:20 Grand Sefton Chase 2m 5f 110yds (4,300m)

1st 4 Little Josh   7/2 f
2nd 6 Gansey   5/1
3rd 2 Tranquil Sea   9/1
Tote Win 4.50
Places 1.70 1.90 2.10
Exacta 23.10
CSF 21.81
Tricast 144.08
Distances 1.75l  19l
9 Ran
NR 5