Updated: April 5, 2014

On the final day of the Aintree Festival, Liverpool held a minute applause in memory of the Hilsborough 96, The Military Wives Choir sang the national anthem and a great Grand National race took place.

1.30 Mersey Novices Hurdle (Grade 1): Distance 2m 4f: Fences 11: Runners: 12

At jump one Monkey Kingdom, Splash of Ginge and Kayf Moss were first over, with Dell’ Arca in fourth position. With 7 to go Lac Fontana was in 5th place and over the back straight the entire field spread over about ten lengths. Monkey Kingdom had the lead advantage over Kayf Moss by around two lengths at 6 to go.  But both horses lost ground within a couple of fences and Oscar Hoof was a faller three out from the finish. Splash of Ginge, Lac Fontana, Wild Blue Yonder and Dell’Arca were the front four with two flights remaining. At the line Lac Fontana a 9-2f secured victory by 1 ½ lengths over Splash of Ginge at 12-1. Half a length behind Dell’ Acra was third at 13-2 odds.

Lac Fontana Winners Enclosure. Image credit @tdthurgood

Lac Fontana Winners Enclosure. Image credit @tdthurgood

2.05 Doom Bar Maghull Novices Chase (Grade 1): Distance 2m: Fences 12: Runners 7

The front runners were in order Next Sensation, Trifolium, Balder Success, Moscow Mannon with Simply Ned the last in the field.  A ten length spread contained the field and Balder Success was going well in third spot with four to go. Simply Ned by then had nimbly negotiated the inner line to get into a much better 4th spot. Trifolium by a nose was in front of Next Sensation with three hurdles left. At the final flight Balder Success was charging through the field and Simply Ned was running very well too. At the post Balder Success took the win at 7-2 (2f) odds by 4 lengths over Simply Ned at 12-1. Only half a length behind Trifolium was third at 11-4f.

2.50 Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1): Distance 3m 110yrds: Fences 13: Runners 7

From the starters flag Zarkandar and At Fishers Cross took to the front and had a lead of just under ten lengths at one point. Melodic Rendevous in third place and Whisper in fourth gradually narrowed the leading margin to about eight lengths by the end of circuit one. With 6 to go the gap between the front two and the rest of the field was five lengths. Thousand Stars travelling in 5th place now got back into the running with 3 to go, and the field had closed down Zarkandar and At Fishers Cross with two flights left. With the final hurdle Whisper had a narrow advantage over At Fishers Cross, and both fought hard toward the line. Whisper went all out and secured victory by one length at 4-1 over At Fishers Cross at 11-8f. Thousand Stars making a superb run gained third spot 3 ¾  lengths behind the second horse.

3.25 Betfred TV Handicap Chase: Distance 3m 1f: Fences 19: Runners 17 NR Your Busy

Right from the start the distinctive grey silhouette of Our Mick went to the head of the field, and had a six length advantage with eight jumps left. Victor Hewgo in last place continued to struggle and eventually pulled up with ten to go. Minella for Value, Vino Griego and Gullinbursti and Duke of Lucca were moving steadily behind Our Mick until they closed him down completely. With only two hurdles remaining Our Mick still held a narrow lead but by the post he was not in contention, probably having run out of steam by then. Victory went to Duke of Lucca by a head over Vino Griego at 12-1 and 25-1 respectively. Eight lengths behind the front two Gullinbursti took third place at 10-1 and in fourth spot Kian’s Delight at 14-1 odds.

4.15 Crabbies GRAND NATIONAL Chase (Grade 3): Distance 4m 3f 110yrds: Fences 30: Runners 40

Battle Group’s temperamental disposition caused a false start, although he did go at the second attempt. However the starter wasn’t ready and called the field back, so the race began at the third attempt. Battle Group didn’t budge when the race got underway, so from the start 39 horses were in contention. Early fallers in the big race were Twirling Magnet at one, Burton Port at jump two and Big Shu at fence three. The large field were spread wide and Across the Bay and Rose of the Moon took the early initiative. At the Canal turn Our Father and Tidal Bay were gone from contention, and at Valentines the race was over for Long Run and Mountainous. At 11 of 30 the front running order read Across the Bay in first, Colbert Station second, Rose of the Moon third and Mr Moonshine 4th. The 13th fence was very nearly unlucky for Pineau De Re who was involved in a collision. TeaForThree fell at the biggest fence on the course (jump 15) and the leader Across the Bay was taken off course by a loose horse Tidal Bay between 16 and 17. As a result the Donald McCain trained horse lost a lot of ground and never recovered. Rocky Creek headed the field with Colbert Station with Mr Moonshine and Double Seven close by. Fence 20 seen Shakalakaboomboom pull up and Quito De La Roque did the same at 21 and Triolo D’ Alene at 22. Monbeg Dude by this point was getting closer in the running but made a big mistake at fence 24. Mr Moonshine assumed the lead spot with Rocky Creek, Double Seven, Pineau De Re and Chance Du Roy in order by fence 26. A tiring Mr Moonshine allowed Rocky Creek to head the field with three to go, and Balthazar King made a run for it going into the second last hurdle. Pineau De Re in 5th position at two to go, went into the last jump just in front of Rocky Creek and Double Seven. Balthazar King was chasing the front three going into the long home straight and had caught two them by the elbow. But Pineau De Re had a six length advantage by then and went on to win at 25-1 with Balthazar pulling back a length to come in second at 14-1. Double Seven a 10-1 JF was third 1 ¼ lengths behind Balthazar King. Ten lengths behind the front three, in fourth place was Alvarado at 33-1. This horse at fence four was in last spot and ran a tremendous race, jumping well and avoiding fallen horses to take a winning bet place.

18 horses from the 40 declared field finished the race (Battle Group never started): 5. Rocky Creek 6. Chance Du Roy 7. Monbeg Dude 8. RAZ DE MAREE 9. Swing Bill 10. Kruzhlinin 11. Buckers Bridge 12. The Package 13. Vesper Bill 14. ACROSS THE BAY 15.MR MOONSHINE 16. Prince De Beauchene 17. Hunt Ball 18. Hawkes Point.

My other horse choice (capitals above) LION NA BEARNAI pulled up at fence 27.

Pineau Du Re at the last fence. Image credit @Channel4Racing

Pineau Du Re at the last fence. Image credit @Channel4Racing

5.10 Handicap Hurdle (Conds/Amateur Riders): Distance 2m 110 yrds: Runners 22

Winner: Court Minstrel 16-1 by 1 ¼ lengths over 2nd Rainbow Peak 8-1 2f, 4 lengths ahead of 3rd Glen Beg, 4th Nesterenko.

5.45 Champion Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2): Distance 2m 1f: Runners 19 NR Celtic Agent

Winner: Ballybolley 14-1 by a head over 2nd Relic Rock 12-1, 2 ½ lengths over 3rd Aqalim 16-1, 1 ¾ lengths over 4th Ordo Ab Chao.

All horses and riders in the Grand National were unhurt for the second year running. And so the entertaining horse racing festival at Aintree has now come to an end.



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