Randox Health Fox Hunters' Chase
£40,000 added, Aintree 16:05
6yo plus,
2m 5f 19y, Class 2    
Thursday 13th April 2018

1 Balnaslow 11/2
2 Bear's Affair 20/1
3 Greensalt 66/1
4 Barrakilla 8/1
21 ran NR: Vincitore Distances: 2½l, 4l, 4l
Time: 5m 49.00s (slow by 28.00s)

Balnaslow wins and Guy Disney finishes unplaced on Gallery Exhibition

© Caroline Norris
Derek O'Connor, the most successful rider in Irish point-to-pointing history, claimed his first success over the Grand National fences when taking the Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase on Balnaslow.
O'Connor and the Graham McKeever-trained 11-year-old were sent off at odds of 11/2, and beat Bear's Affair by two and a half lengths.
O'Connor said: "He's a fabulous horse. He's a brilliant jumper and tries his heart out, and I couldn't have asked for the race to go any better. 
"Personally, it's a massive thrill. Riding winners round the country is lovely, but there is something about the challenge, the trials and the tribulations of the Aintree fences. To achieve that is very fulfilling. 
"The sad part of it is that Mrs Hagan [who owned Balnaslow; the horse is now owned by her executors] died last year; what a wonderful woman she was. Whatever I did on his back or Graham did on the ground, we definitely had help from elsewhere. This is tough for her family, who only buried their mother a few months ago.
"The race worked perfectly well for me. I had a great run around the inside and he jumped brilliantly through the race. In the latter stages of the race there were a couple of bad jumpers down the inside so I made the decision to switch out, and I got a perfectly clear run over the last four fences and came home very strong.
"Balnaslow has been exceptionally well-trained by Graham McKeever. It's a tight unit and a small yard where he gets all the attention he needs and Graham has done a wonderful job on him."
Bear's Affair, a 20/1 chance who has a good record in hunter chases, did not disappoint today when coming home second, two and a half-lengths behind.
Alex Edwards, the Presenting 12-year-old's regular rider, was delighted with his charge's run if a little frustrated with the result, said: "He's run an absolute blinder and I thought I had it at the elbow - I thought I had just enough in the tank, but the winner just stayed on that bit better. 
"He jumped so well and was an absolute pleasure to ride around there. He's better in himself this year. 
"I just sat where he travelled comfortably and hoped I would get there, but it proved frustrating."

Guy Disney finished 12th and last aboard the Kim Bailey-trained Gallery Exhibition.
Disney, the first amputee to ride in a race over the Grand National fences, commented: "That is the sort of thing you would do every day until you die, if you could. That was very special.
"Coming down there [first six fences on Grand National course] with Derek O'Connor in front of you, Jamie Codd there, Nina Carberry there, and you are popping away. It is lovely, it really is.
"Gallery Exhibition is the most gorgeous horse. Down the far side, it is really soft and he struggled in that."


Fox Hunters' Chase
£40,000 added, 6yo plus, 2m 5f 19y, Class 2
21 ran
Going: Soft 

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Balnaslow (IRE) 11/2 Mr Derek O'Connor
G J Mckeever 11
2nd Bear's Affair (IRE) 20/1 Mr Alex Edwards
Philip Rowley 12
3rd 4 Greensalt (IRE) 66/1 Mr W Easterby
W H Easterby 10
4th 4 Barrakilla (IRE) 8/1 Mr Z Baker
F O'Brien 11
5th ¾ On The Fringe (IRE) 8/1 Ms N Carberry
E Bolger 13
6th Bound For Glory (IRE) 100/1 Miss Hannah Lewis
D Fitch-Peyton 12
7th 5 Unioniste (FR) 8/1 Mr D Maxwell
P F Nicholls 10
8th 6 Distime (IRE) 14/1 Mr W Biddick
Mrs D Ralph 12
9th 7 Sir Jack Yeats (IRE) 16/1 Mr James King
Richard Spencer 7
10th 21 Never Complain (IRE) 66/1 Mr Charlie Marshall
Mrs F Marshall 10
11th nk Wonderful Charm (FR) 8/1 Mr S Waley-Cohen
P F Nicholls 10
12th Gallery Exhibition (IRE) 40/1 Mr G Disney
K C Bailey 11
Also Ran: Curraigflemens (IRE) , Eddies Miracle (IRE) , Grand Vision (IRE) , Lilbitluso (IRE) , Mon Parrain (FR) , Rouge Et Blanc (FR) , Warden Hill (IRE) , Wells De Lune (FR) , Winged Crusader (IRE)
NR Vincitore (FR) Miss S Rippon
Miss S Rippon 12