Randox Health Fox Hunters' Chase
£40,000 added, Aintree 16:05
6yo plus,
2m 5f 19y, Class 2    
Thursday 6th April 2017

1 Dineur 16/1
2 Balnaslow 7/1
3 Big Fella Thanks 40/1
4 Pacha Du Polder 11/2
28 ran NR: Moscow
Distances: 1¾l, 1½l, ¾l Time: 5m 32.10s

Dineur goes one better than last year and wins the Foxhunters' Chase over the National fences

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Peter Bowen has trained four winners over the Randox Health Grand National fences, and now his son, Mickey, is on the scoreboard.
A point-to-point trainer with 10 horses, and based at his parents' home in West Wales, Mickey, 21, saddled Dineur to win the Randox Health Fox Hunters' Chase, going one better than last year when he was runner-up to On The Fringe. Today On The Fringe was sent off the 7/4 favourite, but was struggling in rear when pulled up by Jamie Codd.
Dineur, who started at 16/1, won by one and three-quarters of a length and one and a half lengths, from Balnaslow (7/1) and Big Fella Thanks (40/1). It was a stunning run by 15-year-old Big Fella Thanks and his 17-year-old rider, Noel George. Pacha Du Polder (11/2), who won the equivalent race at Cheltenham, the St James's Place Foxhunter Chase, finished fourth today. 
James King, who partnered the winner, did not ride the horse back to the winner's enclosure, and Bowen Jr, who was joined in the winner's enclosure by his fiancée, Lauren Nicholson, said of Dineur: "He got a bit tired and nicked himself, but he's fine, and he's walked back to the racecourse stables without any problem. We'll try again next year.
"It's amazing - he jumped and travelled so well. He broke down two years ago, and when he came in last season we had to rush him a bit to get him ready for this race. This time from the moment he came in from grass I knew he was in good order. Everything has gone to plan. He ran a couple of weeks ago and that brought him on - he was bouncing after that race.
"My brother, James, rides him every day and he said the horse was in good health - James would have liked to have ridden him today, but he's only just 16 and has ridden five point-to-point winners, not enough to be eligible for this race.
"James has a ride here on Saturday on Curious Carlos for my dad in a two-mile hurdle [the Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle for conditional and amateur jockeys].
"We took Dineur to Punchestown last year for the Champion Hunters' Chase, and if the owners are happy we'll go back there again. It rained before the race last year and it was just too soft for him, so we'll have to consider that."
Jamie Codd, who rode On The Fringe, said: "It just wasn't his day and I was never really happy. Hopefully, there is something amiss that will be found out, but he pulled up fine (before the 17th)."


Fox Hunters' Chase
£40,000 added, 6yo plus, 2m 5f 19y, Class 2
28 ran
Going: Good to Soft (Good in places)

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Dineur (FR) 16/1 Mr James King
M Bowen 11
2nd Balnaslow (IRE) 7/1 Mr Derek O'Connor
G J Mckeever 10
3rd Big Fella Thanks 40/1 Mr N George
T R George 15
4th ¾ Pacha Du Polder (FR) 11/2 Miss B Frost
P F Nicholls 10
5th 1 Mendip Express (IRE) 25/1 Mr D Maxwell
P J Hobbs 11
6th hd Darwins Fox (FR) 40/1 Mr B O'Neill
D M Christie 11
7th 3 Bear's Affair (IRE) 12/1 Mr Alex Edwards
Philip Rowley 11
8th Mr Mercurial (IRE) 16/1 Mr W Biddick
Mrs S Crow 9
9th 3 Rebel Rebellion (IRE) 20/1 Mr Matthew Hampton
P F Nicholls 12
10th ¾ Poole Master 16/1 Mr D Edwards
Chris Honour 12
11th 22 Tony Star (FR) 100/1 Miss Jodie Hughes
M Bowen 10
12th 2 Vincitore (FR) 150/1 Mrs C Hardwick
Miss S Rippon 11
13th ¾ Damiens Dilemma (IRE) 150/1 Mr N Orpwood
Mrs L Coltherd 9
14th Loch Ba (IRE) 33/1 Mr J Jackson-Stops
Francesca Nimmo 11
15th Richmond (FR) 200/1 Miss L M Turner
P P Turner 12
16th 44 Top Cat Henry (IRE) 33/1 Mr Kit Alexander
N W Alexander 9
PU Decade Player (IRE) 100/1 Mr D Peters
Miss K Morgan 9
PU Fitz Volonte 200/1 Mr J Martin
Andrew Martin 10
PU Mr Moss (IRE) 200/1 Mr J Nailor
S Rea 12
PU On The Fringe (IRE) 7/4f Mr J J Codd
E Bolger 12
PU Sizing Solution (IRE) 66/1 Mr R O Harding
J T R Dreaper 9
F Black Thunder (FR) 20/1 Mr S Waley-Cohen
W Greatrex 10
F Broken Eagle (USA) 40/1 Mr Joe Hill
A Hill 9
F Flash Garden (IRE) 50/1 Mr T Hamilton
J Cookson 9
F Sam Cavallaro (IRE) 100/1 Mr M J P Kendrick
Miss H Brookshaw 11
UR Distime (IRE) 20/1 Ms K Walsh
Mrs A J Loder 11
UR Never Complain (IRE) 100/1 Mr Charlie Marshall
Mrs F Marshall 9
UR Premier Portrait (IRE) 100/1 G Levinson
Dr Charles Levinson 10
NR Moscow Chancer (IRE) Mr H F Nugent
A Campbell 11

Trainer Graham John McKeever was understandably proud of 7/1 shot Balnaslow, who was a fast-finishing one and three-quarter length second to 16/1 winner Dineur in the Randox Health Fox Hunters' Chase, the fifth race on day one, Grand Opening Day, of the 2017 Randox Health Grand National Festival.
Held up towards the rear of the field by Mr Derek O'Connor early on in the race, the 10-year-old son of Presenting made stealthy headway after the final fence to finish strongly in the extended two miles and five furlongs event over the Grand National fences.
15-year-old Big Fella Thanks (40/1) ran a screamer to finish a length and a half-back in third, with a further three quarters of a length back to fourth-placed Pacha Du Polder (11/2).
A proud McKeever said: "Balnaslow ran a blinder. What can we say, he has run so well. Our intentions were to make the running but obviously that never happened. 
"Derek being the good jockey he is, decided to take a pull as they went a serious speed up front. However, as soon as he jumped the last, he was staying on all the way.
"I thought his run at the Cheltenham Festival (fifth in St. James's Place Foxhunters Challenge Cup Chase) was his best run but clearly today, this was a better performance than Cheltenham."
Big Fella Thanks gave his 17-year-old jockey Noel George a thrill when finishing third in the Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase at odds of 40/1, three quarters of a length behind second-placed Balnaslow.
The 15-year-old Big Fella Thanks is now trained by Noel's father Tom, but ran in four Randox Health Grand Nationals when trained by Paul Nicholls, then Ferdy Murphy and finally Tom George. He finished sixth in 2009, fourth in 2010, seventh in 2011, and unseated in 2013. He was eighth in last year's Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase. 
Noel, an Eton schoolboy, said: "He's an absolute hero. I'm only two years older than him myself, and he jumped from fence to fence. I can see why he loved the National because he felt like he was doing a hand canter. He couldn't quite quicken with his old legs, but he's a legend. My dad rides him at home every day and we all love him."
Fourth, three quarters of a length behind Big Fella Thanks, was the Paul Nicholls-trained 11/2 shot Pacha Du Polder, who won the St James's Place Foxhunter at Cheltenham last month.
He was ridden, as he was at Cheltenham, by Bryony Frost.
She said: "That was amazing - he's an unbelievable horse to ride over these fences. He just wanted further. He's lost that top gear of speed that he used to have, but my God, he's gained it in stamina and bravery."