Monet's Garden Hat-Trick in Old Roan Chase
1 Monet's Garden 4/1
Monet's Garden won the totetentofollow Old Roan Chase for an emotional third time with a thrilling success over Poquelin at Aintree.
The 12-year-old grey, who took the prize in 2007 and 2009, made all the running and shook off the persistent challenge of Paul Nicholls' charge to score by half a length in the hands of Dougie Costello.
It was a battle royal down the straight and the first two pulled clear of Tartak, the 15-8 favourite, in third place.
Monet's Garden (4-1) was soon in command and dictated affairs from the front as he went in search of a fifth course triumph. His jumping was immaculate and although he never held a long lead, he was always comfortable.
Poquelin looked a big danger, but Monet's Garden pulled out a fine leap at the second-last. He also jumped the final fence in great style, staying on strongly to land this Grade Two contest for Nicky Richards yet again.
PETERBOROUGH AIM FOR MONET'S
Monet's Garden will head for the Peterborough Chase in December following his exemplary success at Aintree on Saturday.
Nicky Richards' 12-year-old grey turned in an immaculate round of jumping to win the Old Roan Chase on Merseyside for a third time and will now report for duty at Huntingdon on December 9 for a race he won two years ago.
Richards said: "We're very proud of him. He's at the veteran stage now, but was showing us the right signs before the race and had been training very well. It's always in the back of your mind how long he can last for, but I was very happy to run him and he didn't let us down."
He added: "As long as we can keep him safe and sound he'll keep going, but the first time we see his ability is on the wane he'll be retired.
"He'll go for the Peterborough Chase as long as he's fresh and well. He had to work pretty hard on Saturday so we're not even thinking about Ascot in November."
The Greystoke handler also reserved special praise for Dougie Costello, who was riding Monet's Garden for the first time.
Barry Geraghty, twice a winner on the grey, had been in the frame at Aintree, but instead elected to partner Poquelin.
Richards added: "Dougie gave him a super ride and will ride him again. Fair play to Barry, he put his hand up and was man enough to admit he'd made the wrong decision."
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