Brian Ellison kept up his brilliant form this season with a victory in the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase at Aintree yesterday. Steered around by Brian Hughes, Forest Bihan beat Amy Murphy’s Kalashnikov and Paul Nicholls’ Frodon, who were both Grade 1 winners last season.

Six fences on the Mildmay course were taken out for the race over two and a half miles, leaving Frodon and Bryony Frost ‘extremely disappointed’.

The first race was a competitive maiden hurdle won in a photo finish by Paddy Brennan on Imperial Alcazar, but the big eye-catcher was the horse in third place, for Nicky Richards, Big Bad Bear.

Next up was the race for conditional jockeys, were it was a huge upset as Same Circus was not for beating at the starting price of 40/1 for Donald McCain and rider Theo Gillard.

Trevor Hemmings and his Aintree love affair continued with an ‘odds-on’ winner called Stoney Mountain. Richard Johnson was on board here for trainer Henry Daly and the three-time Grand National winning owner.

In a second tight finish of the day it was Aidan Coleman who came out on top in the sixth race. The irish trained gelding from Henry de Bromhead’s yard looked to assert going over the last, but the run-in almost lost him the race. Losing a three length lead and managing to win by a length was a great result.

Some powerful yards went to post in the bumper at 4:10, Frost and Nicholls teamed up again on Cill Anna and Jonjo O’Neill’s Notawordofalie for John Magnier and his team. However, after a poor start to the season, Harry Fry has now four winner in his last eight runners, with White Hart Lady winning this one.

The next meeting at Aintree is on November 9th for the Virgin Bet raceday. The highlight of that meeting is the Pertemps Network Handicap.

Picture by www.staceymacnaught.co.uk under Creative Commons Licence

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