- Horse Racing
Awesome Sprinter Sacre takes apart Melling Chase field
Sprinter Sacre dispelled any doubts about his stamina with a brilliant success in the John Smith's Melling Chase.
Nicky Henderson's charge had proved peerless over two miles, winning all eight of his races over the larger obstacles - including a 19-length romp in the Champion Chase.
Henderson had said Sprinter Sacre was all about speed, but his breeder suggested stepping him up in trip and they took the decision to go beyond two miles for the first time in the Aintree Grade One.
It mattered not one iota, as Sprinter Sacre travelled with his usual exuberance, fenced superbly and sauntered away from Cue Card.
Barry Geraghty took a watching brief from the off, as Cue Card and Flemenstar duelled for the lead. They did not go a mad gallop, but it was a brisk enough pace to drop For Non Stop early on.
Finian's Rainbow made a stopping blunder down the back straight, but came back to engage battle with Cue Card and Flemenstar. All the while, Sprinter Sacre was kept a couple of lengths of the battling leaders.
Turning for home, Geraghty let out an inch of rein and Sprinter Sacre came between Flemenstar and Finian's Rainbow to take aim at Cue Card.
The two big guns quickened, dropping Flemenstar and Finian's Rainbow, but it looked an unequal struggle as they raced down to the second last. While Sprinter Sacre was hard on the bridle, Joe Tizzard was at work on Cue Card.
Sprinter Sacre moved clear heading to the last, jumped it with aplomb and sauntered to a cosy four-and-a-half-length victory at odds of 1/3.
My Tent Or Yours delivered a devastating display of speed to claim the Rose Appeal Supports Alder Hey Top Novices' Hurdle.
Nicky Henderson's charge was beaten into second by Champagne Fever at the Cheltenham Festival, but with that rival not in opposition he delivered an awesome performance.
My Tent Or Yours has looked all about speed in his career to date and he travelled with exuberance in third behind Brick Red and Forgotten Voice. AP McCoy allowed his mount to take closer order leaving the back straight and he pulled his way to the front before three from home.
Forgotten Voice attempted to give chase, but he had no answer to the speed of his stablemate. My Tent Or Yours flicked through the second last, but it did not stop him and he simply powered further clear without being asked any sort of question and he hacked past the post to justify 4/11 favouritism.
Dynaste bounced back from his shock defeat at Cheltenham with an impressive success in the John Smith's Mildmay Novices' Chase.
Connections dropped Dynaste back in trip at Cheltenham and their charge was beaten for speed, but back up in trip the dashing grey showed his true colours with a brilliant win. Tom Scudamore bided his time at the back of the field, before bringing his mount to challenge three from home. He took up the running heading to the last and a spring-heeled leap sealed the win from Third Intention.
Henderson and Geraghty's brilliant day continued as Triolo D'Alene produced a game performance to land the John Smith's Topham Chase over the National fences. Geraghty's mount struck the front after the final fence and stayed on stoutly to hold off Walkon.
There was a sad postscript to the race as the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Little Josh, ridden by the trainer's son Sam, had to be put down after breaking a shoulder.
At Fishers Cross made it six from six for the season with a blistering display in the grade one John Smith's Sefton Novices' Hurdle. Trainer Rebecca Curtis had concerns about the ground, as his form had been on heavy going, but those fears were unfounded as At Fishers Cross romped home under AP McCoy to stamp himself a huge prospect.