Crabbie's Topham Chase
Grade 3 Handicap,
Aintree 16:05
£120,000 added, 5yo plus,
2m 5f 19y, Class 1   
Friday 8th April 2016

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1 Eastlake 25/1
2 Fairy Rath 25/1
3 Third Intention 33/1
4 Distime 50/1
5 Gallery Exhibition 66/1
NR: Gray Hession (IRE)
29 ran Distances: 4l, 9l, nk
TIME 5m 34.90s (slow by 13.90s)

Eastlake holds off last year's runner-up Fairy Rath to land the Crabbie's Topham Chase

© Racehorse Photos


Barry Geraghty steered Eastlake, trained by Jonjo O'Neill and owned by J P McManus, for whom Geraghty is retained jockey, to victory in the Crabbie's Topham Chase over the Grand National fences.

The 10-year-old Beneficial gelding hasn't won since December 2013.

Geraghty said: "Eastlake was brilliant. He put in a short one at the third-last, which was him being cleverer than me.

"At times he was jumping too well and then I was getting involved sooner than I wanted to. He pinged the Canal Turn and I had a great ride through. The ground has improved since yesterday and he enjoyed that.

"He is a natural jumper. There have been modifications [to the Grand National fences] but it is still all about jumping. They are big fences and plenty of horses have been caught out by them. They might not be as severe as they were but they are still a massive test of a horse."

Asked about the McManus retainer, which Geraghty inherited from A P McCoy after the multiple champion jockey retired, he said: "There is no different pressure compared to what I was under before. There is no external pressure from the McManus family or trainers. I am loving it."

McManus himself said: "A P rode the horse to finish third in this race two years ago, and when he got off him he said 'I'll ride him in next year's National', so I have never known whether the horse wants two miles, two and a half miles or four miles. Today he proved he's pretty good.

"Jonjo has done well with the horse, who has had his problems."

Asked about Shutthefrontdoor, one of his Crabbie's Grand National runners, McManus said: "He ran a great race last year [when fifth] and he was a little too free. He hadn't had a run before. Tomorrow, if they don't have too much rain, he'll have his chance."

This was McManus's second win over the National fences in consecutive days following On The Fringe's win in the Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase, and he said: "They should have more races over these fences!"

Crabbie's Topham Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)
£120,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 5f 19y, Class 1
29 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Eastlake (IRE) 22/1 B J Geraghty
Jonjo O'Neill 10
2nd 4 Fairy Rath (IRE) 25/1 Tom Cannon
N J Gifford 10
3rd 9 Third Intention (IRE) 33/1 T J O'Brien
C L Tizzard 9
4th nk Distime (IRE) 50/1 Jonathan England
Sam Drake 10
5th 7 Gallery Exhibition (IRE) 66/1 D Bass
K C Bailey 9
6th ½ Top Cat Henry (IRE) 18/1 Mr S Waley-Cohen (3)
Dr R D P Newland 8
7th 5 As De Mee (FR) 10/1 Sam Twiston-Davies
P F Nicholls 6
8th La Vaticane (FR) 25/1 C O'Farrell
D Pipe 7
9th 8 Mr Moonshine (IRE) 11/1 Danny Cook
Mrs S J Smith 12
10th 16 Al Alfa 100/1 James Best
P J Hobbs 9
11th 7 Pass The Hat 25/1 J J Burke
A L T Moore 9
12th Bennys Mist (IRE) 10/1 Aidan Coleman
Miss V Williams 10
13th Village Vic (IRE) 10/1 R Johnson
P J Hobbs 9
14th Ruben Cotter (IRE) 20/1 Nick Scholfield
P F Nicholls 10
15th Dare To Endeavour 25/1 Paul Moloney
E McNamara 9
16th 4 Rouge Et Blanc (FR) 66/1 Thomas Garner (3)
O Sherwood 11
17th 2 Ballykan 20/1 Ryan Hatch (3)
N A Twiston-Davies 6
18th 17 Dromnea (IRE) 16/1 B T O'Connell
M F Morris 9
19th 4 Killer Crow (IRE) 12/1 B J Cooper
G Elliott 7
NR Gray Hession (IRE) 20/1 Non Runner
Jonjo O'Neill 9
Also Ran: Bishops Road (IRE) , Cocktails At Dawn , Blood Cotil (FR) , Turban (FR) , Rathlin , Witness In Court (IRE) , Minella Reception (IRE) , Astracad (FR) , Corrin Wood (IRE) , Gullinbursti (IRE)


Fairy Rath is no world-beater, but he ups his game at Aintree in the spring.

Today he finished a gallant runner-up in the Crabbie's Topham Chase for the second year in a row. Ridden by Tom Cannon for trainer Nick Gifford, Fairy Rath led from before the Canal Turn, and was still just ahead at the Elbow on the run-in, but from there he could find no more as winner Eastlake took up the running.

A 25/1 shot, he was beaten four lengths by Eastlake (22/1), while Third Intention (33/1) was third, beaten nine lengths, and Distime (50/1) took fourth, a neck further back. The 8/1 favourite Bishops Road unseated at the first fence - he had been first reserve for the Crabbie's Grand National.

Gifford said: "Graham Cunningham [television presenter] said to me this morning, your dad [Josh, the late champion jockey] won this race 50 years ago today [on the Ryan Price-trained Walpole], and coming to the last I looked up and thought, 'Come on!'.

"He's been beaten by the class horse in the race. We're just short of top class, but this place is just made for him. He just comes alight when he gets here. The class horse did us last year [Rajdhani Express] and we've been beaten by a very good horse again this year.

"I'd just love him to get genuinely good ground. That would give him a great chance, because two miles five furlongs is his absolute maximum trip and Tom said he was on fumes at the Elbow. His whole year is geared around this race, he's a pleasure to train and he's done us all proud.

"He's rated 131, that's what he is, and while he takes his races incredibly well I'm not going to run him again soon. I'll see what else it out there, but if not he'll be out in a field. It's frustrating, I've never known a horse that jumps and travels as well as he does."

Colin Tizzard was pleased with the way top-weight Third Intention ran, said the nine-year-old will most likely head to Punchestown next month.

Tizzard said: "He ran a lovely race. I was just talking to Phil Smith [BHA senior jumps handicapper] and I was saying he appears to be seven pound too high anyway. There is a very nice three-miler at Punchestown and that is probably where we will go next. The way my horses are running now we've got to keep them all going - so we'll be going there with this one.

"He ran a lovely race, one of his best ever. He's by Azamour and there is not another jumper in his family, but he has always been a lovely jumper from the first day we schooled him. The way he jumped round there you would think he was National Hunt bred."