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.
Good morning from Aintree, where there is broken
cloud and a strong wind, behind relative to the home straight.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
I'll be off to the parade ring shortly and will report back on what I see.
I'm not too sure what action shots I will get today
as our viewing area is not in the best of positions.
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.
Well a good result for the girls as the only filly in the contest,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
It's the matalan.co.uk Red Rum Handicap Chase next,
a two mile contest with seventeen lining up.
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
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
Kings Grey came home fourth.
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
It has taken a while but finally a result for the punters as
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.
Racing concludes with the extended three mile
Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle with the little matter of 21 runners.
Some more respite for punters as the well backed co-favourite
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.
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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