Racing Live -  Aintree 4th April 2013

07:18 It's day one of the Grand National meeting and the going is  Good, Good to Soft in places on the Mildmay and hurdle courses and Good to Soft, Good in places on the National course.

10:55 Good morning from Aintree, where there is broken cloud and a strong wind, behind relative to the home straight.

12:23 I've just walked the course and here are a few of my snaps. To open larger versions of the photograph just click the image.

The first is looking down the home straight and the second shows the empty stands before the gates open.

The third shows the approach to the most famous fence on the course, Bechers Brook.

Looking Down the home straight Empty Stands Bechers Brook

Bechers Landing SideFoinavonNext up we have the landing side of Bechers Brook, although as you can see nowadays the brook is covered.

The rickety construction on the right is the commentators position for the course, television and radio commentators out in the country.

It's certainly not a place to be if you do not have a head for heights and with the blustery conditions I don't envy them in the least.

FoinavonAfter Bechers Brook we have the smallest fence, now known as the Foinavon fence, the fence where all the carnage took place in 1967, allowing the 100/1 outsider Foinavon to take the contest.

View from the Canal TurnCanal Turn is the point furthest from the stands and if the jockeys had the time to look to their left they would see the stands far away in the distance.

Valentines BrookThe next iconic fence is Valentines Brook, although this time the brook is not covered, having said that the Brook is very narrow at that point.

Open DitchAlthough the course has it's iconic fences it is the open ditch, two after Valentines that is, for me, the most daunting. 

Five feet high it has a spread of 10' 6"" and can easily catch out the unwary.

LunchSo those are some of the sights of the Grand National course, the only other thing to share is the now traditional lunch shot.

Lunch today was a tasty  meat and potato pie with spuds and peas.

13:35 We're 25 mins away from our opener and ten will go to post for the extended two mile Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.

I'll be off to the parade ring shortly and will report back on what I see.

13:40 I'm not too sure what action shots I will get today as our viewing area is not in the best of positions.

13:49 A few of them in the opener are getting edgy the parade ring but there is a lot going on there to distract them.

Rolling Star was getting really upset at one point.

Runswick Royal was best looking and also catching the eye at a long price was Bob's World. 

Race One Finish14:10 Well a good result for the girls as the only filly in the contest, L'Unique takes the spoils in our opener, giving trainer Alan King his fourth winner in the contest.

Settled behind the winners Wayne Hutchinson took the filly into the lead approaching the last and the pair went on to record a 1.25length victory.

Runswick Royal, by contrast, was held up in rear but made good late progress to take second spot.

Third place went to Irish Saint, under Ruby Walsh, who had made most of the running but he had no response when challenged by the late finishers.

Rolling Star was sent off favourite and was in with every chance as they lined up for home but showed little in the closing stages.

14:28 Race two is the mouthwatering Betfred Bowl Chase over 3m1f, with eight lining up.

All the runners look good although Menorah was pulling slightly. Quito De La Roque was very relaxed. 

First Lieutenant14:38 That turned into a good race with First Lieutenant winning the race for Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary.

He had to battle for victory as Menorah gave him a run for his money, leading over the last and not ceding the lead to the winner without a battle.

Silviniaco Conti looking for some redemption after falling in the Gold Cup was sent of the short priced favourite but was arguably given too much to do by Ruby Walsh, coming home a closing third, getting to within a length of the runner-upS.

It was the Quito De La Roque, in the same colours as the winner, who set the place, initially sharing the running with Whodoyouthink, who then dropped out like a stone.

Menorah tracked the leaders and led two out, pulling clear with the winner as Quito De La Roque tired.

Menorah still led over the last but on the run-in First Lieutenant battled on to take victory by three parts of a length.

The win was another victory for up and coming rider Bryan Cooper.

15:02 Our feature contest today is the 2m 4f John Smith's Aintree Hurdle with nine facing the starter.

Another good contest with a good looking bunch and all the usual suspects looking good, notably Grandouet, Oscar Whiskey and The New One, with an honourable mention for Prospect Wells.

Zarkandar15:11 Wow - that is what I call a race. They set off at a pedestrian pace but Zarkandar was prepared to make the running with Thousand Stars and Grandouet.

As they took the first flight in the home straight Zarkandar still had the lead but The New One was looming large and by two out The New One Had a narrow lead over Zarkandar, with Thousand Stars not out of it.

Clearing the last The New One still had a narrow lead but as they came up the run-in Ruby Walsh got low in the saddle and edged Zarkandar back into the lead and despite The New One fighting back Zarkandar held on bravely by half a length.

Thousand Stars was a further length and a quarter back in third.

15:31 It's time now for the first contest over the National fences as 24 line up for the John Smith's Foxhunters, an extended 2m 5f contest.

15:53 The first three home in the Foxhunters were priced 100/1, 33/1 and 40/1 so it is little surprise there are some very happy bookmakers here at Aintree.

Not only was the result a shock, there was also a photo finish as Tartan Snow beat Cool Friend by a neck with Rash Move a further 3.75lengths back in third spot.

The start didn't auger well for Saturday as we had a false start then it took a while for the starter to get the runners lined up.

Bold Addition and Cottage Oak were sent off the joint favourites. Bold Addition took a nasty fall at Bechers and Cottage Oak finished 8th.

A sad postscript is that BAttlefront collapsed and died after being pulled up at the fence after Bechers.

The photographs show the runners after they had jumped the water, going out into the country and after they finished, the winner is No 23 in the red and grey colours.

After the water  Going into the country After the race

16:12 It's the Red Rum Handicap Chase next, a two mile contest with seventeen lining up.

Oiseau De Nuit16:20 He's been third in this race before, he's been second in this race before, but today Oiseau De Nuit makes it a full set as he comes home the winner of the Red Rum chase.

Settled mid-division by young Brendan Powell he made progress to be behind the winners as they turned for home. Hitting the front between the last two fences he spring heeled the last fence and ran on to record a five length victory.

Tanks For That, who had been with the pace throughout, took second spot whilst Kie, who had shared the running with Echo Bob, held on for third place.

Kings Grey came home fourth. 

16:41 The Betfred Maifesto Novices' Chase is next, a 2m 4f contest with seven lining up.

Actually not an inspirational lot in the parade ring with Sunny Legend the narrow pick.

Captain Conan16:56 It has taken a while but finally a result for the punters as Captain Conan wins as he pleases under Barry Geraghty.

Spending most of the race behind the front running Fago he hit the front three out with Tap Night looking the most likely challenger, but in truth there was no challenge as Captain Conan wasn't really out of second gear and had Geraghty been so inclined.

Tap Night held on for second whilst Changing Times was doing best late on and he ran on to take third spot with His Excellency back in fourth.

17:17 Racing concludes with the extended three mile Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle with the little matter of 21 runners.

Battle Group17:33 Some more respite for punters as the well backed co-favourite Battle Group comes home the convincing winner of the finale.

Hitting the front two out he pulled clear to win as he pleased.

Fellow co-favourite could only watch on in second as the winner pulled clear, going on to record a 10 length victory.

First Fandango was a further 3.25lengths back in third place whilst Connectivity outsprinted Baby Shine to take fourth.

17:44 That's it from the opening day of the 2013 Grand National meeting which continues tomorrow and Saturday.

Our coverage tomorrow is a complete contrast as we are off to Leicester's opening flat meeting of the season.

From a sunny Aintree good evening.

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

SC - Self Certificate
VC - Vet's Certificate

7 Earth Dream (Lame - SC 12:18)

16 Nozic (infection - SC 11:08)

4 Drumshambo (going - 14:50)

2 Close House (not eaten up - SC 08:51)


14:00 Juvenile Hurdle 2m 110ytds  (3,300m)

1st 10 L'unique  10/1
2nd 7 Runswick Royal  20/1
3rd 4 Irish Saint  3/1
Tote Win 11.50
Places 2.20 5.60 1.70
Exacta 215.70
CSF 167.06
Distances 1.25l, 5l
Fav Rolling Star  5/2
10 Ran

14:30 Betfred Bowl 3m 1f  (5,000m)

1st 2 First Lieutenant  7/2
2nd 3 Menorah  14/1
3rd 5 Silviniaco Conti  Evens fav
Tote Win 4.40
Places 1.70 3.20 1.10
Exacta 43.30
Trifecta 124.00
CSF 46.22
Distances .75l, 1l
8 Ran

15:05 Aintree Hurdle 2m 4f (4,000m)

1st 9 Zarkandar  11/2
2nd 7 The New One  11/4 f
3rd 8 Thousand Stars  10/1
Tote Win 5.70
Places 1.90 1.50 2.50
Exacta 20.10
CSF 20.53
Distances .5l, 1.25l
9 Ran

15:40 Foxhunters 2m 5f 110yds   (4,300m)

1st 23 Tartan Snow 100/1
2nd 25 Cool Friend  33/1
3rd 17 Rash Move  40/1
Tote Win 140.40
Places 28.60 7.60 9.90
Exacta 1,729.00
CSF 2,049.48
Distances neck, 3.75l
Favs Bold Addition, Cottage Oak 5/1
27 Ran
Nr 7

16:15 Red Rum Chase 2m  (3,200m)

1st 2 Oiseau de Nuit  20-Jan
2nd 3 Tanks For That  20-Jan
3rd 18 Kie  25-Jan
4th 12 Kings Grey  20-Jan
Tote Win 32.20
Places 5.00 3.30 4.50 4.20
Exacta 377.10
Trifecta 6,008.10
CSF 339.25
Distances 5l, 1.5l, 1.5l
Fav Rebel Rebellion  6/1
17 Ran
Nr 16

16:50 Novices' Chase 2m 4f  (4,000m)

1st 1 Captain Conan  6/5 f
2nd 8 Tap Night  8/1
Tote Win 2.20
Places 1.40 2.50
Exacta 10.30
CSF 11.00
Distances 3.25l
7 Ran
Nr 4

17:25 Handicap Hurdle 3m  110yds (4,900m)

1st 22 Battle Group 8/1 cf
2nd 5 Jetson  8/1 cf
3rd 3 First Fandango 33/1
4th 20 Connectivity  14/1
Tote Win 9.40
Places 2.50 2.80 7.00 4.60
Exacta 82.40
CSF 65.64
Distances 10l, 3.25l, 7l
CFav Lienosus
21 Ran
Nr 2