The countryside came to town at Aintree with the usual display of hounds,ducks being herded by dogs,clay pigeon shooting and other various things that drew the attention of the much younger locals from what a distinctly more urban environment just a few miles up the road from Liverpool.On the track trainer Colin Tizzard picked up where he had left off from last season as the ever durable chaser Third Intention struck Gold for Dorest to land the first graded steeplechase of the 2016-17 campaign in an enthralling renewal of the Grade Two Old Roan Chase over 2m4f as he recovered from an early race blunder to plunder the prize under Aidan Coleman, sitting behind the pace early on he made good headway and saw off the attentions of the Melling victor God’s Own with Vibrato Valtat back in third,always consistent he scored his first big win at the top level and could go to Ascot next month before a crack at the Peterborough Chase, 2m4f is his best trip over fences.
God’s Own like plenty will strip much fitter,he could head to Sandown for the Tingle Creek,Vibrato Valtat had every chance leading over two out and could be set for a step up in trip soon to three miles which might be better for him.
Smad Place came fourth and in the main this was a prep for the Hennessy which he will strip much fitter for, Three Musketeers sent off the 7/4f travelled ok but never picked up in his first race in big company,he should have learnt plenty from what a big race chaser needs to do.
The feature 2m4f hurdle had a shock result and a different race as the low sun meant the two hurdles in the straight had to be bypassed and Ireland landed a 25-1 shock as Massini’s Tap under Paul Townend saw off favourite Born Survivor in a battle up the long straight to score by five lengths.
In the opening 2m4f maiden hurdle the Skelton team looked to have found a nice one in Robin Row who broke his duck over timber in decent style by easily beating short priced favourite No Comment quite comfortably by twelve lengths, the winner travelled much the best and jumped very well while No Comment made a few errors which cost him and he should be back being schooled after this but he remains with potential, as fort Robin Row he should make a nice hurdler and could easily follow up in novice company.
Kerrow put in a workmanlike performance to land the 3m hurdle for Conditional Jockeys,an unlucky faller at Wetherby in the spring he beat Scottish raider Tantamount by 3.5 lengths and looks like he should kick on from here in the Trevor Hemmings colour and his workable mark of 120 was very much used here, he will be better when sent chasing but should pay his way over timber for now.
Veteran chasers gave the crowd a nice race to enjoy as Shuil Royale under Noel Fehily for Harry Fry followed up from his August second at Worcester and kept Irish raider and at 13 the oldest runner in the contest Your Busy in second spot by five lengths, the 3m1f trip is the winners best and will no doubt be aimed at the final but still showed the old zest is still their.
Trainer Katy Price whose based in Hay On Wye gained her first winner at the home of the Grand National as Minellacelebration went one better from his chasing debut at Exeter this month by landing the 3m1f novice handicap chase, always tracking the leading runners he with a circuit to go and ground out an impressive victory as he just hung on by half a length from the Pipe chasing debutant What A Moment, Minellacelebration has races mainly down in the West County and all on right handed tracks, this was his first win going left, he looks ideal for a satellite national during the season, What A Moment ran a fine race in defeat and should get a small race like this sooner.
Finally in the concluding mares’ bumper Miss Night Owl just held on from the staying on Constante Vie by half a length to score on her first run under rules, an ex Irish pointer she could be anything like so many of the runners, favourite was the Warren Greatrex trained Ilovemints who couldn’t pick up when needed and trailed down the field, as the only previous winner she was giving away weight and a switch to hurdles is looking the best option, as for Miss Night Owl she could do no more than win but could be vulnerable under a penalty in another bumper.
Buywise,9yo stayed on in the 2m4f feature hurdle and this will set him up for the big handicap chases this season
Dr Robin,6yo fourth in the 3m1f Nov Hcap Chase ran well on his chasing debut,will land a nice race somewhere