OVER THE MOON FOR MOON
Sue Moon, 50, an account manager for an agricultural engineering firm, is the winner of the Aintree Style Award, winning a Range Rover Evoque and Chi Chi London dresses.
Moon, who is mother of Leah, and wife to Simon, is from Euxton, Chorley, Lancashire and bought her dress bag and shoes from Seasons in Clitheroe and acquired her hat from a boutique in Windermere.
RACING ON LADIES’ DAY
1.45pm Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL FOR ELLIOTT
Three Musketeers made a winning debut for Irish trainer Gordon Elliott with success in the opening race on day two, Ladies Day, of the Randox Health Grand National Festival.
Ridden by Jack Kennedy, the nine-year-old son of Flemensfirth was backed into 8/1 from 14/1 just before the off. He took up the lead in the closing stages of the two mile and four furlong event and registered a length and three-quarter success over the Tim Vaughan-trained Point Of Principle (25/1) in second.
Three Musketeers was previously trained in England by Dan Skelton and Elliott paid tribute to the gelding’s former handler, who suggested the horse should move to Elliott’s Cullentra Stables in County Meath.
Elliott said: “Three Musketeers has been with me a couple of months now. In fairness to Dan Skelton, he recommended that the owner send him over to me – he just thought the horse had gone a bit shady. A big thanks has to go to him.
“It was nice to win today. He is my first horse for the owners, who are from Liverpool originally. I was worried we might be going a step too high, but Jack gave him a great ride.”
Kennedy said: “It kind of all worked out the way we wanted it to, so it was great.
“They went a really strong gallop and he was a little bit behind the bridle the whole way, but I knew he would stay going and I was confident I would pick them off in the home straight.
2.20pm Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade1)
FELIX MAKES ELLIOTT HAPPY
Felix Desjy’s success in the G1 £100,000 Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle was trainer Gordon Elliott’s second win of the day, following Three Musketeers (above). Both were well-backed and it was a 39.5/1 double for the Co Meath trainer.
7/2 shot Felix Desjy, owned by Gigginstown House Stud and ridden by Jack Kennedy, made most of the running in the two-mile race and survived a bad blunder at a hurdle halfway round to win by a length and a half from 3/1 favourite Aramon (Willie Mullins/Ruby Walsh).
Elliott said: “We thought he’d like the track here today, and Jack was good and brave and let him stride along, and if he’d got beaten for doing that, he wouldn’t have been getting the blame. Maybe he got a bit of a freebie, but that’s the name of the game. Jack used his initiative and that’s why we use these lads.
“I thought we might be in trouble after he made that mistake, but in fairness to the horse, in the last 50, 100 yards you couldn’t fault him – he picked up and went on.
“Chasing is going to be his game, but this was a great run.”
The six-year-old’s success put jockey Jack Kennedy top of the Aintree jockeys’ table following his success in the opening race.
Kennedy said: “He was very lucky at the first down the back but to be fair to the horse he did well to have the scope to get there from where he came up from. I was still happy enough turning in as he stays further than two miles and so I was confident he would keep going, but coming to the last I could hear Aramon coming. He dug deep though and kept going all the way to the line.
He added: “He’s always had plenty of ability but we’ve been waiting for things to fall right for him. You probably won’t see the best of him until he jumps a fence.”
2.50pm Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
LOSTINTRANSLATION A NEW FLAGSHIP FOR TIZZARD STABLE
Colin Tizzard hopes that his quest for a new flagship performer might be over after last month’s Cheltenham second Lostintranslation (3/1) went one better under a change of tactics in the G1 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase, beating favourite Topofthegame (10/11) smoothly by six lengths.
Tizzard, who admitted that things haven’t been easy for the stable lately, said: “He’s just a dream horse. I’ve always felt that after the Cue Cards, Native Rivers and Thistlecracks, where am I going to find another one. I think we’ve seen him today and it’s lovely isn’t it. It was like poetry, wasn’t it.
“This game has never been easy. We have had some wonderful times in recent years with these good horses but if we can’t have a bad month there is something wrong somewhere along the line. There are always issues but lovely horses like Lostintranslation make it worthwhile.
“You would think he will be a flagbearer next season. He stays, jumps and travels. He has got everything and is a beautiful, big, strong boy as well. He is a lovely creature.”
Explaining the more patient ride, he said: “I don’t usually get involved in the tactics, but we had a word with Robbie (Power) and changed the tactics. Because he’s such a good jumper he’s been getting to the front and then getting picked off by pacier horses. We wanted to save his pace for the end, for Topofthegame, thinking we might beat him for pace. That’s absolutely lovely.”
Power said:”I love Lostintranslation. All season he has done nothing wrong and kept the best of company.
“We have come here over three miles and he has never come off the bridle. I had so much horse underneath me.
“I am so happy for the horse winning a G1 because he deserves it. He is such a good jumper and a joy to ride.
“The late William Codd produced him and did a fantastic job.”
3.25pm JLT Melling Chase (Grade 1)
MIN WITH THE MINIMUM OF EFFORT
Ruby Walsh rode his second winner at this year’s Randox Health Grand National Festival, and, remarkably, it looked even easier than the first.
His win on Kemboy in the G1 Betway Bowl was impressive, but Min’s success in the G1 JLT Chase oozed superiority over his toiling rivals, including runner-up Politologue. Twelve months ago the positions were reversed, and Min’s trainer, Willie Mullins, said: “John Hales [the owner of Politologue] has just been across and said ‘We need a decider next year’.”
Min (2/1f) made all the running and won by 20 lengths from Politologue (5/2).
To the comment that Min’s victory was the easiest of the week so far, Mullins said rhetorically: “Was Kemboy not impressive enough for you?
“Yes, he [Min] was impressive, and the school around Cheltenham [when only fifth to Altior in the G1 Betway Queen Mother Chase] did him well!
“The change of tactics, and letting him go back to just enjoying himself worked well, and Ruby said that from fence to fence he was just getting more confident.
“I always gave him a chance in this race – last year’s race was close enough, and I felt that if we did things really right, and often times it is just one mistake that makes a difference, he was coming here in good form. He didn’t have a hard race at Cheltenham when he sulked because we wanted him do what he didn’t want to do, and today he just grew horns when he was allowed to do his own thing. That suited him.
“I think he’s back to his best, and that may have been his best performance. He coped with everything fantastically before the race and looked really well – he has a fantastic summer coat on him already.”
Walsh said: “He got into a lovely rhythm today and jumped like a buck. Willie took the ear plugs out today and he was good and revved. I was a bit of a passenger for the first half mile, but you don’t mind getting runaway with on something like this that knows where he is going and has the power and scope that he has. He is clever enough horse and, looking at him there, knows he has done well today.
Randox Health Topham Chase
CADMIUM PAINTS THE PERFECT PICTURE
The Willie Mullins-trained Cadmium put up a brilliant performance of jumping and galloping to run away with the G3 £140,000 Randox Health Topham Chase over the Grand National fences.
Ridden by Paul Townend, for whom it was a first winner over the Grand National fences, seven-year-old Cadmium was an 8/1 chance. He beat Sub Lieutenant, trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore, by six lengths.
Mullins was winning the Randox Health Topham Chase for the second time, having first taken it in 2002 with Its Time For A Win.
He said: “That was very good. He was going at his own speed limit, but you’d have to worry, watching him, if he’d stay. His jumping was phenomenal. He was very clean, and Paul got a great line. He [Townend] was very good at the Canal Turn with the loose horse near him.”
On Cadmium’s owners, Supreme Horse Racing Club/K Sharp, Mullins said: “They are great to train for – a great bunch. They don’t have huge expectations, they really enjoy their racing and are delighted when a horse wins. We all know we are lucky to have horses like these; they don’t have super-expensive horses, they have middle-of-the-road horses that anyone can have.”
Ridden by Paul Townend, the seven-year-old son of Early March, jumped well throughout the two mile and five furlong contest and ran on strongly in the closing stages to score by six lengths.
The rider said: “Cadmium was deadly, wasn’t he? He was fairly lit up before the race but it was not a bad thing because I was able to get a position and hold it early on. I got into a beautiful rhythm and it was straightforward.
“You can only go as fast as they are able. Luckily, this lad has a little bit of class and he was able to go that gallop within himself.
“This is brilliant. Like I said after the Gold Cup, you dream of riding big winners on TV. The race is something special over those fences and I had not got close to riding a winner over them until today.”
“I got into a great rhythm early – Cadmium has a little bit of class and I was able to get into the positon I wanted to be in early on. He just loved it, he winged from fence to fence and gave himself breather whenever he needed. He was getting lonely up the straight as much as anything.
“You usually know after the first or second what kind of ride you are going to get. The way he took them on, he was deadly. He was measured but was attacking them at the same time. It’s a joy to ride a horse like him that takes those fences that well. It’s a different buzz to riding any other race.”
4.40pm £100,000 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
CHAMP STARTS TO LIVE UP TO HIS NAME
Nicky Henderson’s mood was tempered by concerns for the injury suffered by owner JP McManus’ retained rider Barry Geraghty after Mark Walsh stepped in for a smooth three-length win in the extended three-mile G1 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle on last month’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle second Champ (9/4 favourite), but there was no disguising his regard for the seven-year-old horse, who is named after Sir Anthony McCoy.
He said: “Mark was in his suit walking off the racecourse when I called him back and told him to get changed, and although he knew absolutely nothing about Champ he did give him a beautiful ride.
“Champ just needs to switch off and we very nearly switched him this morning to tomorrow’s two-and-a half-mile novice with the change on the ground. I rang Barry three times, and JP and I talked for hours. It would have been perfectly legal, but Barry couldn’t decide and I couldn’t decide. The only thing I wanted to do was to find out if he did stay three miles for next year.
“They didn’t go a great gallop, but I thought it would tell us more for next season, when he’ll have to go chasing. He’s starting to live up to his name. He is good, and he just has the most lovely nature and temperament. I’m, not talking about McCoy, by the way. I’m talking about the horse. He’s a lovely horse.”
Mark Walsh picked up the winning spare ride following an injury to Barry Geraghty from a fall in the Randox Health Topham Chase.
Walsh said: “Hopefully Barry will be okay. Nicky said to me get him [Champ] settled and covered up, and everything went to plan.
“I rode him to get the trip and drop the bridle. It was the one thing Nicky emphasised to me. He’s a big horse, but very nimble on his feet and will make a lovely chaser one day.”
5.15pm £45,000 Weatherbys Racing Bank Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
MCFABULOUS IS AB FAB
Paul Nicholls saddled his first winner at this year’s Randox Health Grand National Festival when McFabulous landed the G2 Weatherbys Racing Bank Bumper, the closing race on Ladies’ Day.
The Harry Cobden-ridden five-year-old (2/1f) beat Thebannerkingrebel (14/1) and Santa Ross (3/1) by 1l and 2¾l.
McFabulous was bought by bloodstock agent Tom Malone for €88,000 as an unbroken store horse, and he has gone on to become one of the brightest hopes among Nicholls’ academy of high-quality young horses. His only defeat in four bumper races this season came at Cheltenham in November when he was found to have sore shins after finishing unplaced. He came back to form with a win at Newbury last month.
Nicholls said: “He’s a lovely young horse and he’s been schooled over hurdles and jumps them well. He’ll make a lovely novice hurdler for next season.
“I have a lovely lot of bumper horses to go hurdling next season and he probably heads them up.
“He has a proper pedigree, he’s not slow and he’ll start over two miles next season.”
Winning rider Cobden said: “McFabulous is still very green and raw, but he has got a fair engine under the bonnet and is learning all the time.
“Around the bends, he is still slightly unbalanced, but he will be a nice horse for the Supreme next year anyway.
“It’s great to have a winner on the day.”