Topham Chase Friday 13th April 2012 

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Always Waining Lands Topham Treble

1 Always Waining 11/1
2 Chance Du Roy 16/1
3 Fistral Beach 22/1
4 Aimigayle 12/1
26 ran Distances: 4½l, 1¼l, 10l
TIME 5m 26.20s (slow by 5.20s)

The Peter Bowen-trained Always Waining entered the history books when landing an unprecedented third consecutive John Smith’s Topham Chase over the Grand National fences after he came home four and a half lengths clear of Chance Du Roy.

Always Waining
© Grossick Racing Photography

Always Waining

The 11-year-old has been disappointing over hurdles this season and owner Peter Douglas had only decided on Thursday morning to miss the John Smith’s Grand National in favour of today’s race.

“It’s sets him alight as soon as he steps off the box here but he’s as flat as a pancake everywhere else. He loves this place and hates every other place,” said Bowen. “You never know what might have happened in the National but it’s some achievement to win three Tophams.

“We were very close to running in the National, Peter rang yesterday morning and said he’d prefer to go for the Topham in case the ground became soft. I’d have preferred to go for the National but wasn’t going to disagree, you can’t persuade an owner to run a horse in the National if he doesn’t want to, and I’m glad we’ve gone for the Topham now. Peter just thought that four and a half miles on soft ground would be too far for him.

“We have been racing him over hurdles because we thought that if we’d run him over fences he’d have gone down the weights and not got in the National. Over hurdles they go a bit quick for him but he just loves these fences.

“I can’t get inside his head, he doesn’t want to know anywhere else. He also finished fourth in the Becher here when the ground was totally unsuitable for him.

“For an 11-year-old that ran on the Flat as well, it is amazing that he has lasted so well. He’ll probably have the same prep next season as he has had for the past three years and maybe go for the Becher. The thing is to not get disappointed with him over hurdles. Last time out I thought ‘bloody hell he’s disappointing’. We’ve had a long losing spell with coughing as well so it doesn’t do much for your confidence. My son Micky has ridden him out every day for the past three years and loves him. This has made our season.”

Jockey Tom O’Brien added: “He's absolutely amazing. He gives everyone who rides him a great spin around here and I'm delighted with that. He hears the crowd and he just takes off. I knew Chance Du Roy would take some passing as I won on him last time. It's hard to win big races these days. It's amazing to get a big one on the board.

“I’ve won two Tophams on him and he’ll hopefully he’ll be in one piece to come here and give it a go next year. He just seems to save his best for this place.”

Trainer’s wife Karen Bowen added: “I believed Always Waining was capable of winning, but to think of winning three Topham Chases on the bounce, you just don’t think it can come true. He was coming into the race in good form again, although his form hasn’t suggested it, but he does come to himself at this time of the year.

Owner Peter Doulgas said: “I wasn’t relaxed at all watching that because Peter’s (Bowen) been going on such a bad run with his horses, but to win here and get out of a ruck like that is fantastic.

“We had the choice of running in the Grand National which we didn’t have last year, but we thought the ground had gone against us with the rain. However, the ground has been drying all week so we are kicking ourselves, but this is great compensation.


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Always Waining
P Bowen
T J O'Brien
10st 11lbs
11 - 1
Chance Du Roy
P J Hobbs
R Johnson
11st 7lbs
16 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
Fistral Beach
P F Nicholls
D A Jacob
11st 4lbs
22 - 1
1 1/4 length
Miss S Smith
C Bolger
10st 2lbs
12 - 1
10 lengths
Paradis de Thaix
Mrs J Harrington
Paul Moloney
10st 2lbs
25 - 1
14 lengths
Minella Theatre
Mrs L Hill
David Bass
10st 0lbs
40 - 1
3/4 length
Little Josh
N A Twiston-Davies
S Twiston-Davies
11st 4lbs
6 - 1
3 1/2 lengths
Apt Approach
W P Mullins
P Townend
11st 9lbs
12 - 1
5 lengths
Moon Over Miami
C J Mann
W Kennedy
10st 0lbs
50 - 1
Giorgio Quercus
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 9lbs
25 - 1
1 3/4 length
Wake Board
Dr R D P Newland
C I Gillies
10st 0lbs
80 - 1
11 lengths
Frankie Figg
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
10st 3lbs
15 - 2
1 1/2 length
D McCain Jnr
Brian Harding
10st 0lbs
16 - 1
3 lengths
Bai Zhu
N J Henderson
Felix de Giles
10st 0lbs
16 - 1
1 3/4 length
Tim Vaughan
Aidan Coleman
11st 12lbs
22 - 1
6 lengths
C Gordon
Tom Cannon
11st 1lbs
40 - 1
1 1/4 length
Douglas Julian
Mrs S J Smith
Ryan Mania
10st 0lbs
20 - 1
2 1/2 lengths
Montoya's Son
C Grant
K Renwick
10st 0lbs
33 - 1
3/4 length
Sunday City
P Bowen
J E Moore
10st 2lbs
66 - 1
41 lengths
D Pipe
T Scudamore
11st 1lbs
25 - 1
T R George
P J Brennan
10st 13lbs
7 - 1
N F Glynn
D J Condon
10st 3lbs
11 - 1
Arklow Ger
P Nolan
P Carberry
10st 2lbs
25 - 1
Rio Gael
P Bowen
B Hughes
10st 0lbs
50 - 1
N A Twiston-Davies
D C Costello
10st 0lbs
33 - 1
Massini Sunset
N R Mitchell
Conor O'Farrell
10st 0lbs
100 - 1



On his first attempt at the unique Grand National fences, Chance Du Roy acquitted himself with utmost credit, beating all bar course specialist Always Waining in the John Smith’s Topham Chase. “He was neat and clever all the way,” said rider Richard Johnson. “He wouldn’t be the biggest of horses but he really enjoyed himself, ran out of his skin.

“It’s great fun riding those fence on a horse who takes to them. Let’s hope Planet Of Sound [his John Smith’s Grand National mount] does as well.”

Chance Du Roy is likely to be back at Aintree next year for a second tilt at the two and three-quarter mile Grade 3 contest. “He’s been a fantastic horse for us,” said trainer Philip Hobbs of the eight-year-old. “This is his sort of distance and perhaps softer ground would have helped. It’s difficult to beat a horse [Always Waining] who only seems to come to life here, and so is probably very well handicapped. I should think ours will be back for another crack in a year’s time.”


Sussex trainer Suzy Smith had never run a horse over Aintree’s National fences, so she was thrilled that Aimigayle finished fourth in the John Smith’s Topham Chase.

The Colin Bolger-ridden mare was prominent for much of the trip until fading on the run-in.

Smith said: “That was such a thrill and Colin gave her a great ride. She really took to the fences as we hoped she would, but she just got a little bit stuck in the rain-softened ground.

“She really wants top of the ground. Colin said he felt she might win turning for home, but then the ground began to have an effect and she couldn’t quicken off it.

“This is the first time we’ve run any horse over these fences and she’s been a good mare for us so she’s very precious, but she’s a big mare and we always thought she would be suited to Aintree.”

Aimigayle’s rating of 129 before today’s race means she would probably struggle to get a run in the John Smith’s Grand National, but that could be a goal, said Smith.

“There is a question as to whether she would stay the trip in the National, but looking at that we would have to consider it,” said Smith. “She was staying on so well - in an ideal world we would want a three-mile National!”

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