Brennan cashes in as Vautour fall rules Ruby out of National
THREE weeks ago Paddy Brennan was ruing his luck when Cue Card fell in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when looking the likely winner. At Aintree yesterday, it was his turn to take advantage of a jockey’s misfortune.
That unhappy lot went to Ruby Walsh, who took a pearler of a tumble from hot favourite Vautour at the ninth fence. When that rival came down Brennan kept his cool to bring home God’s Own the winner of a dramatic renewal of the JLT Melling Chase.
Walsh suffered a hairline fracture of his wrist in the fall and was last night ruled out of today’s Grand National, in which he was due to ride Sir Des Champs.
All eyes were on 1-5 market leader Vautour as he sought to follow up his impressive success in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, on his first visit to the Merseyside track.
A few tasty bets under discussion ahead of the Grand National
He only went under by a neck but it should have been the other way round.
For the early part of the Grade One feature all was going well for the Willie Mullins-trained runner, as he cleared his fences in perfect fashion.
But that picture was not to last, as after flicking through the top of the ninth him and Walsh parted company.
That left Clarcam out in front, a position he held to the second-last. As Al Ferof and God’s Own moved on, it was the Tom George-trained runner who asserted going down to the final fence, opening up a race-winning lead.
Although his stride shortened late on, the winning line came in time with the 10-1 scorer getting home with two and three-quarter lengths in hand.
Brennan, who claimed redemption on Cue Card with a brilliant victory in the Betfred Bowl on Thursday, said: “You don’t wish that on anyone and when he went down all the other jockeys went quiet - they were suddenly all thinking they could win. But I stuck to Plan A.
“He was good, he put his head down and galloped all the way to the line. I thought when he went down I was on the best horse in the race and that’s how I rode him.
“I’m so pleased to ride one (Grade One winner) for Tom George. He’s been a massive supporter.
“This horse is not the easiest of rides and I’m sure there’s been plenty of times I didn’t get it right, so it’s nice to get it right today.
“He’s a spring horse and he’s been beautifully trained. I can’t believe I’ve won.”
George said: “He’s won a Grade One already in his career and people forget about him a lot.
“There’s been a lot of hard work from everyone at home, and Paddy, and it’s great to get it right on the big day.
“Paddy has been very consistent and has ridden for us a long time. We love working together and enjoying big days like this.
“He’s not easy and is probably better going left-handed. Paddy has got to know him very well and it’s all come right for us today,” George added.
God’s Own is now likely to make an appearance at the Punchestown Festival.
George went on: “I’d think he’d definitely go to Punchestown as long as the ground is similar to today or better. He’s a very fresh horse and we can’t run him in the middle of winter on very heavy ground. We’ll see how he is but my inclination is he’ll be going to Punchestown.”
God’s Own was cut to 5-1 from 7-1 for the Boylesports Champion Chase with Paddy Power.