Randox Foxhunters' Open Hunters' Chase
|£50,000 guaranteed, Aintree 16:05
2m 5f 19y, Class 2
1 Famous Clermont 9/2
2 Bennys King 16/1
3 Lough Derg Spirit 40/1
4 Latenightpass 9/2
5 Time Leader 80/1
27 ran NR: Sir Jack Yeats Distances: 4¾l, ½l, ¾l
Time: 5m 34.68s (slow by 14.68s)
Famous Clermont provided top amateur Will Biddick with his first victory in the Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase at Aintree.
The two-mile-five-furlong contest is the only race run over Grand National fences confined to amateur riders and has previously been won by the likes Nina Carberry, Jamie Codd and last year’s Grand National hero Sam Waley-Cohen.
Having impressed in winning hunter chases at Wincanton and Haydock in February before finishing sixth at the Cheltenham Festival last month, the Chris Barber-trained Famous Clermont was among the market principals at 9-2 and was among several still in with a chance leaving the back straight.
Biddick appeared keen to deliver his challenge late, but had no option but to allow his mount to stride to the front before the elbow and he only had to be nudged out from there home to win comfortably by just under five lengths.
Bennys King filled the runner-up spot, with Lough Derg Spirit third and last year’s winner Latenightpass a creditable fourth after giving a bold sight in front for a long way.
Biddick said: “I’ve been around for 20 seasons now and I think my first ride round here was Le Duc in 2009 (finished fifth).
“I’ve had a few seconds and I’ve been knocking on the door. It’s a big thing for the amateurs to win this race – here and Cheltenham are our Gold Cups. To do it is massive.
“This horse has come up through the point-to-point ranks and has really got his act together in his last two or three runs. We had a go at Cheltenham to see if he would stay and it proved he doesn’t really get the extended three miles.
“Today he landed in front after the last and pricked his ears and I thought I’d got him beat, but he is a class act.”
Barber said: “It still hasn’t sunk in. Will gave him a peach of a ride.
“This has been the target since the start of the season and I have to thank Jamie who rides him at home and Rupert Nuttall, who has worked so hard on his jumping.
“I didn’t watch much of the race until they turned in. When they crossed the Melling Road I thought we might be starting to push but he came back into the bridle and kept on galloping.
“The owners have been offered a lot of money for him multiple times, but the plan will be to come back here in 12 months and try to do the double. All the signs before today were good at home.
“My grandfather (Richard Barber) won this race and was such a successful trainer. In everything I do I try to make my grandfather proud.”
There was, however, a sad postscript, with Aintree confirming the Keiran Burke-trained Envoye Special was unable to be saved following a fall while running loose after unseating at the ninth fence.
A spokesperson said: “Envoye Special was immediately attended to by our expert veterinary professionals during the Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase.
“After assessment, sadly they concluded the necessary course of action for the horse’s welfare was to put him to sleep. Our sincere sympathies are with his connections.”
Dysart Enos ran out a wide-margin winner of the Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race under a jubilant Paddy Brennan.
The five-year-old had looked a smart prospect in winning her first two bumper starts for Fergal O’Brien, particularly when beating the highly-rated Queens Gamble in a Market Rasen Listed event on her most recent outing.
She faced another hike in class for this Grade Two test, but proved more than up to the task as she powered nine lengths clear of runner-up Golden Ace, allowing Brennan to punch the air passing the post – celebrating his birthday in style.
O’Brien said: “We were hopeful coming here as she was very impressive at Market Rasen but we maybe thought we were a bit flattered on the day there, maybe it didn’t suit Oliver’s horse (Sherwood, Queens Gamble) but she was phenomenal, that was beyond even what we could hope.
“I told the boys maybe we could sneak into the first three but what a run, she cruised all the way.
“I bought her at the Goffs Sale here last year and it’s Paddy’s birthday today so a big shout to him as well.
“She’s not the most straightforward so it’s a big team effort with her, Tom Broughton, who rode in the Foxhunters’ for us, rides her every day.
“Next year the programme should sort itself out, and she’s won a point-to-point so she jumps well.”
Fox Hunters' Chase
£50,000 guaranteed, 6yo plus, 2m 5f 19y, Class 2
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
POS. DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY
1 Famous Clermont 8 12-0 C R Barber Mr William Biddick 9/2
2 4¾ Bennys King 12 12-0 Dan Skelton Mr John Dawson 16/1
3 ½ Lough Derg Spirit 11 12-0 Denis Paul Murphy Mr J W Hendrick 40/1
4 ¾ Latenightpass 10 12-0 T Ellis Miss Gina Andrews 9/2
5 nk Time Leader 9 12-0 J J O'Shea Mr Toby McCain-Mitchell 80/1
6 ¾ Dento Des Obeaux 3 1 10 12-0 Patrick Eugene Turley Mr D G Lavery 20/1
7 2¾ Not That Fuisse 10 12-0 Dan Skelton Mr Jack Andrews 20/1
8 28 Winged Leader 9 12-0 D M Christie Mr B O'Neill 100/30F
9 8 Matts Commission 10 12-0 Jack Teal Mr Christopher Furness 100/1
10 1¼ Dieu Vivant t 10 12-0 Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero Miss A B O'Connor 66/1
11 7 Cousin Pascal 11 12-0 J J O'Shea Mr Huw Edwards 33/1
12 hd Dorking Cock 9 12-0 S R B Crawford Mr S Connor 33/1
13 ½ Magic Saint 9 12-0 Paul Nicholls Miss Olive Nicholls 10/1
14 24 Step Back 13 12-0 Mark Bradstock Miss Lily Bradstock 100/1
15 3¾ Reikers Island 10 12-0 Alan Hill Mr Daniel Cherriman 150/1
16 34 Coastal Tiep 11 12-0 S R B Crawford Mr B G Crawford 66/1
17 11 Wagner 8 12-0 Max Comley Mr Darren Andrews 200/1
BD I K Brunel 9 12-0 Alan Hill Miss Izzie Marshall 28/1
FELL Its On The Line 6 12-0 Emmet Mullins Mr Derek O'Connor 8/1
PU Dalahast 10 12-0 Andrew Leyshon Mr Martin McIntyre 200/1
PU Write It Down 9 12-0 R A Owen Miss Immy Robinson 200/1
PU Drop Flight 8 12-0 S Loxton Mr Ben Sutton 66/1
UR Ami Desbois 13 12-0 Fergal O'Brien Mr Tom Broughton 100/1
UR Envoye Special 9 12-0 Keiran Burke Mr James King 40/1
UR Rewritetherules 9 12-0 David O'Brien Mr David O'Brien 200/1
UR Fier Jaguen 8 12-0 Bradley Gibbs Mr Bradley Gibbs 11/2
NR 22 Sir Jack Yeats 12 12-0 Fergal O'Brien NON RUNNER