Emmet Mullins’ Corbetts Cross is bidding for the Cheltenham-Aintree double as he prepares to contest the William Hill Bowl Chase on the opening day of the Grand National meeting.

The chestnut was a wide-margin winner at the Cheltenham Festival, taking the Maureen Mullins National Hunt Challenge Cup by 17 lengths under Derek O’Connor.

That run proved his stamina and his ability in heavy ground, and now his class will be tested as he steps down in trip from three miles and six furlongs to three miles and a furlong at Aintree.

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said: “He’s probably in at the deep end, but he’s in good form, came out of Cheltenham very well and Emmet was keen enough to have a crack at it.

“The other horse is in the three-mile novice, Inothewayurthinkin, so we said we’d give Corbetts Cross a crack at this and see how we get on.

“He’s obviously coming back from Cheltenham where he had a hard enough race and he is in at the deep end, but as long as he runs well and gets round we’ll be happy.”

Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin is the reigning champion in the race but has met with mixed fortunes this year, refusing to race in the  1965 Chase at Ascot and then falling with the race at his mercy in the King George VI Chase.

He bounced back to stroll to victory in the Denman Chase but his participation in the Gold Cup was prevented by an unsatisfactory scope ahead of the race during a difficult time for the Seven Barrows stable.

“Nico rode him on Saturday and said he felt fantastic, we’re ready to rock and roll I hope,” Henderson told Unibet.

“We had to miss the Gold Cup but there was nothing else you could do, it just hasn’t been his year.

“The King George, you could argue whether he would or he wouldn’t have won – I’ve always felt that he would have won.

“Let’s hope he can put it all to rights, he certainly deserves it.”

Gordon Elliott will saddle the Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Gerri Colombe in the race after he missed out by three and a half lengths when last seen in the Cotswolds in March.

The gelding has course and distance form as he was the winner of the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at the meeting last year with an easy seven-and-a-half-length success.

“I’m really happy with Gerri Colombe, he worked great on Monday morning,” the trainer told At The Races.

“We were a bit disappointed with him after the Savills Chase, so we were delighted to see him come back to himself when running so well in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

“He seems to be improving all the time and can hopefully step up again. He handles soft ground very well, but he travelled great on nicer ground at Aintree last year, so I don’t think he’s one dimensional that way.”

Paul Nicholls’ Bravemansgame also ran in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but did not run up to his mark when tailed off in fifth.

Nicholls felt the conditions did not suit him and will also experiment with cheekpieces as the bay looks to return to form in Liverpool.

“Things haven’t quite gone to plan for Bravemansgame this season,” he said to Betfair.

“He hated the testing conditions at Cheltenham and it was clear from an early stage in the Gold Cup that he wasn’t handling them.

“The flat track at Aintree will suit him better and the ground shouldn’t be as deep as at Cheltenham.

“We are putting cheekpieces on Bravemansgame to help sharpen him up. It’s something we almost tried last time. His regular rider Scott Marshall was very pleased with the way he worked on Saturday morning.”

Mouse Morris’ Gentlemansgame is another contender last seen in the Gold Cup, where he was pulled up two from home following a more fruitful start to the season that saw him finish second in the PWC Champion Chase and win the Charlie Hall.

Lucinda Russell’s Ahoy Senor was second behind Shishkin in the race last term and lines up in a bid to go one better after coming home in the middle of the pack in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham when last seen.

Olly Murphy’s Thunder Rock completes the field, winner of the Listed bet365 Premier Chase at Kelso in early March.

Valvano is set for a step up in distance following his encouraging return behind 2000 Guineas hopeful Notable Speech at Kempton.

An impressive winner of a heavy ground maiden at Nottingham last October, the Ralph Beckett-trained colt was tasked with taking on Godolphin’s highly-regarded and unbeaten track-and-trip specialist for his return in a conditions race won by some top operators over the years.

The son of Night Of Thunder lost little in defeat when headed late on by the speedy winner – who was cut across the boards for the 2000 Guineas in the aftermath – and having blown away the cobwebs and confirmed the promise of his excellent debut, connections can now look forward to moving up in distance and a possible run in a Classic trial next.

“We knew we were going to use Saturday as a stepping stone and we know that he is going to want 10 furlongs plus and probably with a bit of juice in the ground, so for Valvano to go a mile round Kempton and take on a horse who has every chance of taking his chance in the Guineas, it was always going to be a tough ask,” said Alex Elliott, adviser to owners Valmont.

“It will have done him good to get the freshness out of him and it was an improvement on his debut and will have taught him something. We look forward to stepping him up in trip now and we will probably look at a trial, I suppose.

“The winner looks a cut above in terms of going a mile and you would like to think if we could make the same improvement as we did from a maiden going into a conditions race when going up in trip in preferred conditions, we could have a really smart horse hopefully.”

With the feeling Valvano has a preference for cut in the ground, weather conditions could dictate where he steps up in trip and although he holds an entry for the Betfred Derby, it could be the French equivalent at Chantilly that becomes a longer-term objective.

Elliott continued: “Ralph thinks from his pedigree he is going to want a little bit of rain and I think he is going to be ground dependent.

“On the bottom side of his pedigree there is a lot of stamina, being out of a Duke Of Marmalade mare. But Night Of Thunder doesn’t really get them to stay that far. Ten furlongs could be his optimum for now but I think Ralph is pretty confident the horse could stay even further.

“He’s in the Dante, but wherever the rain is, whether that is York or Chester or something like that, if that went to plan, we could look at going to France for the French Derby.

“We’ll see and it’s a long way away and for now it is nice to see him back and make the progression. Hopefully he can take another step forward next time.”

Fellow Valmont-owned three-year-old Feigning Madness could also put his Classic hopes to the test when he makes his return in trial action at either Epsom or Lingfield.

The son of Ulysses somewhat surprised his team when going unbeaten in two starts as a two-year-old and as well as being a candidate for the Derby, the colt is also seen as a possible St Leger prospect for later in the campaign.

“He ran above expectation last year, he ran at Newbury first time and we thought he would be green, which he was, but we didn’t really expect him to do what he did,” continued Elliott.

“To then carry a penalty the way he did at Newmarket when the horse was on his head the whole way, you have to think the horse is going to stay super well.

“He’s going to come back in a trial and it will either be the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom or Lingfield. He has had two runs now and has learnt a lot. He is crying out for a step up in trip and we’re going to try to pick our easiest way to Epsom – if we can run well in a trial, then why not take a shot.

“He’s a well-balanced horse and his work has been good this year, which is pleasing everybody, and I think the further he goes, the better, so you could hopefully see him in something at Doncaster at the end of the season.”

Feigning Madness claimed the scalp of Ed Walker’s Harper’s Ferry on his second start and it was interesting to see another of the Valmont string, Moon Over Miami, also finish ahead of that rival when making a taking debut at Doncaster at the beginning of the Flat turf season.

As he is a gelding, Classic events are off the cards, but connections are keen to see the Kimpton Downs inmate continue his on-track education with a view to lining up at Royal Ascot in the summer.

“The time boys went crazy over Moon Over Miami but with him being a gelding, he can’t take in one of the trials so we will probably go for another novice with a penalty,” added Elliott.

“I think Ralph has his eye on something Greenham weekend – I think there is a 10 furlong novice there – and I guess we will be trying to get three runs into him before Royal Ascot.

“We’re just a little hamstrung with him being a gelding as to what we do next, but he’s exciting.”

Jonbon steps up to two and a half miles for the first time in Friday’s ultra-competitive My Pension Expert Melling Chase at Aintree.

Nicky Henderson’s charge has won multiple Grade Ones over the minimum trip but connections have been minded to try him over further for some time.

Having missed the Cheltenham Festival due to concerns over the form of his string, Henderson will be hoping for a better display than the one which saw him beaten at 1-4 in the rearranged Clarence House Chase when he made several jumping errors.

Taking him on are this year’s Ryanair winner Protekorat and the 2022 winner of that race Envoi Allen.

Protekorat had spent a large part of the previous two seasons running over three miles but excelled dropped in trip last month, while Envoi Allen put up a game defence of his title in second.

Paul Nicholls won the race last year with Pic D’Orhy and the nine-year-old is back again searching for a valuable win for his handler in the race to be champion trainer.

Gordon Elliott’s Conflated also runs in this in preference to the Grand National, with Easy Game and Minella Drama completing the field.

Two smart mares, Golden Ace and Dysart Enos, will meet again in the TrustATrader Top Novices’ Hurdle.

Fergal O’Brien’s Dysart Enos came out on top when they met in a Grade Two bumper at this meeting 12 months ago but she was denied her chance to go for glory at Cheltenham due to a minor setback.

In her absence Jeremy Scott’s Golden Ace won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, beating some well-touted Irish contenders.

Standing in their way is Willie Mullins’ Supreme runner-up Mystical Power, the third Firefox and Ben Pauling’s promising Personal Ambition in a field of eight.

There are six in the Huyton Asphalt Franny Blennerhassett Memorial Mildmay Novices’ Chase and none can be confidently ruled out.

Cheltenham winner Inothewayurthinkin and Kim Bailey’s Chianti Classico will have plenty of supporters.

Henry de Bromhead sends over Heart Wood, Broadway Boy gets the chance to atone for missing Cheltenham, with Giovinco and Iroko not out of it either.

The Mullins-trained Dancing City and Readin Tommy Wrong, Shanagh Bob, Croke Park and The Jukebox Man, agonisingly reeled in by Stellar Story in the Albert Bartlett, are among nine in the Cavani Sartorial Menswear Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.

Rachael Blackmore became the first woman to ride the winner of the Grand National when guiding Minella Times home on this day in 2021.

The Henry De Bromhead-trained Minella Times helped Blackmore back up her Cheltenham exploits weeks earlier with more history at Aintree.

Despite the race taking place behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was a day to remember for Blackmore on the 11-1 shot after 32 previous female jockeys had tried and failed to win the Grand National.

While Blackmore had finished runner-up in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham the month before, she had claimed top jockey at the meeting to propel herself onto not only the back pages but the front.

Coupled with the well-fancied Minella Times, expectations were high for the 31-year-old and she did not disappoint with a well-timed run on good to soft ground.

Minella Times and Blackmore stormed past outsider Jett over the last fence and held off Balko Des Flos, also De Bromhead-trained, to earn a historic success.

“I don’t feel male or female. I don’t even feel human, I feel unbelievable,” Blackmore exclaimed after her run with Katie Walsh’s third-place finish on Seabass in 2012 the previous best by a female jockey at the Grand National.

“You need so much luck to get around with no-one else interfering first of all. You need so much to go right and things went right for me today.

“I feel so incredibly lucky. It is unbelievable, I’m just so thrilled.”

Paul Townend will be on board I Am Maximus and Mark Walsh has opted to partner Limerick Lace after owner JP McManus finalised riding plans for his five-strong team in Saturday’s Randox Grand National.

The celebrated owner has enjoyed two famous victories in the world’s greatest steeplechase, memorably providing AP McCoy with an elusive first success aboard Don’t Push It in 2010 before the historic triumph of the Rachael Blackmore-ridden Minella Times three years ago.

McManus is set to be well represented once more at Aintree this weekend, with Irish Grand National hero I Am Maximus and his Willie Mullins-trained stablemate Meetingofthewaters his two shortest-priced runners.

William Hill on Tuesday suggested the latter, third in the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival last month, could even go off favourite following a “massive gamble”, but with Townend in the saddle on I Am Maximus, the owner’s retained rider in Ireland, Mark Walsh, has interestingly sided with Gavin Cromwell’s Mares’ Chase heroine Limerick Lace.

Confirming riding arrangements, McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry said: “Paul is on I Am Maximus, Mark is on Limerick Lace and Danny (Mullins) is on Meetingofthewaters.

“Mark has never ridden I Am Maximus, so Paul will ride him. Mark had a difficult decision to make as he liked Meetingofthewaters at Cheltenham as well. It was a difficult decision, but he’s gone with the mare anyway, so he’s hoping she’ll get the trip.”

Berry said Keith Donoghue had been booked to ride Cotswold Chase winner Capodanno, while Jody McGarvey will do the steering on Janidil.

He added: “They’re all going there in good form, they’ll need a bit of luck in running on the day in the National as everyone knows, but hopefully they’ll give a good account.”

Hills make last year’s winner Corach Rambler their 9-2 favourite, with I Am Maximus 7-1 and Meetingofthewaters only a point behind at 8-1 after being cut from 10s.

Spokesperson Lee Phelps said: “The money started coming in for Meetingofthewaters last week and it has not stopped. Make no mistake, this is a massive gamble, and we’ve been forced to take more preventative action, cutting Willie Mullins’ runner to 8-1 from 10-1, having been as big as 14-1 less than a week ago.

“Most people would have expected last year’s winner Corach Rambler to go off favourite, but if this gamble continues at its current rate we think there’s a good chance Meetingofthewaters could be favourite come Saturday race-time.”

The well-fancied Kitty’s Light, a 14-1 shot with the same firm, appears almost certain to make the cut after Gordon Elliott revealed top-weight Conflated will instead run in the Melling Chase on Friday.

Conflated was one of 13 Elliott-trained horses still in contention for the event following the confirmation stage on Monday, but owners Gigginstown House Stud later said the prospect of running under 11st 12lb on testing ground over four and a quarter miles was a major concern.

The 10-year-old was also entered for Thursday’s Aintree Bowl over three miles and a furlong, but was not declared on Tuesday morning and is instead set to run over two and a half miles the following day.

“We had the option of the Aintree Bowl and the Grand National, but with the ground going the way it is we are going to run in the Melling Chase on Friday instead,” Elliott said in a stable tour for Attheraces.com.

“I thought he ran great in the Ryanair Chase (at Cheltenham, finished third), he hit the line well and I was very happy with his run.”

Conflated’s anticipated defection means all six horses with an allotted weight of 10st 6lb are now set to get into the final field of 34.

As Glengouly, Galia Des Liteaux and Panda Boy are rated 146, all three were already guaranteed a starting berth, but the same could not be said of Eklat De Rire, Chambard and Kitty’s Light.

As that trio have all been dropped 1lb to an official rating of 145 since the weights were unveiled in February, connections faced an anxious wait and a potential random ballot to decide which two of the three would creep in at the bottom if none of the horses above them were taken out.

Christian Williams, trainer of last year’s Scottish Grand National and bet365 Gold Cup hero Kitty’s Light, admitted to being relieved that barring a late change of mind from Elliott, that will no longer be the case.

He said: “It’s great that he’ll get in now, it’s good for the owners. The whole season has been geared towards the Grand National so it’s great that we’ve got in.

“The owners have been looking at it for the last three weeks and had everything upside down. They’ve been thinking about it for the last three weeks and I just stayed out of it.

“I think Gordon declared Conflated for the Bowl this morning, so one of the owners rang me and said ‘brilliant Chris, we’re in’, then Gordon took him back out! Anyway, it sounds like he’s running on Friday hopefully.”

Of Kitty’s Light, he added: “He’s flying, it’s just a shame with the ground because when we had him in a good place last year the ground was good and it looks like it will be heavy on Saturday.

“He might still have won the Scottish National last year if it was soft, you don’t really know do you? You can’t discount him on the ground until he actually goes out there as when we’ve run him on that sort of ground before we didn’t have him in the best of form and it wouldn’t have been his ideal trip.

“When he’s had his ideal trip it’s been in the spring and that’s when the ground has been good. We’ll see how he runs on heavy ground in the spring – there’s only one way to find out.”

Jerome Reynier’s Lazzat maintained his unbeaten record with a taking Group success at Deauville in the Prix Djebel.

The three-year-old came into the race with a record of three wins from three runs, all of which were at Cagnes-Sur-Mer earlier this year.

No horse had ever got within three and a half lengths of him ahead of the Deauville Group Three and he had a Listed victory to his name having taken the Prix de la Californie last time out.

In a field of seven he was the 4-6 favourite and justified that price when impressing with a straightforward two-and-a-half-length victory over the Aga Khan’s Keran, with the David Menuisier-trained Devil’s Point another five lengths away in third.

“It was a change of scenery with a seven-furlong straight course and he didn’t mind it at all,” said Reynier.

“He doesn’t need anyone, today he went in front and off he goes. He won in good style and the time was much faster than the fillies (in the Prix Impudence).

“He came back and he was not even blowing at all, he’s got plenty left in the tank. He’s a very exciting prospect for this year.”

On next targets for the Territories gelding Reynier added: “There are two Group Threes, either the Prix Paul de Moussac at Longchamp in early June or Royal Ascot for the Jersey Stakes.

“We will see depending on the opposition for the Group race in Paris, because he’s got the French premiums it could be easier to keep him in France and try the easiest option with him.

“He is a gelding and we will see afterwards what we can do, we would be very excited to send him to Goodwood for the Sussex.

“We have Facteur Cheval aiming for the race as well, so we’re going to be like a French invasion coming across the Channel!”

Charlie Appleby’s Romantic Style cemented her French Classic credentials with victory in the Prix Imprudence.

The Night Of Thunder filly won twice as a juvenile, taking a Yarmouth novice and then finishing her season with success in the Listed Bosra Sham Stakes at Newmarket.

She was stepping up to seven furlongs in heavy ground in France, where she also faced a step up in grade when running at Group Three level for the first time.

Neither factor could hinder her, however, and under William Buick she prevailed by half a length from Christopher Head’s well-regarded filly Ramatuelle.

“I’m delighted, she’s a filly that we’d spoken about for this race for a while,” Appleby told Sky Sports Racing.

“Stepping up to a mile will be her maximum trip and we felt that if we had stayed at home and gone to Newbury for an English trial it would have been closer to an English Guineas, but I don’t think she’ll stay a mile over the English trip at Newmarket.

“We thought we’d be better coming here and it gives her more time between now and the French Guineas.

“William was delighted, said she was fresh but travelled sweetly in his hands.

“She did it all the right way round, she did travel but she travelled sensibly in behind a horse there and when she picked up I always felt they were going to be doing enough to stay in front.

“She’s a filly that’s got a natural pace in her pedigree, but she does give herself a chance to stay a mile. Coming back for the French Guineas will be our aim and that will probably be her maximum trip.”

Nicky Henderson expects to know by Thursday evening whether his horses are over whatever was ailing them during the Cheltenham Festival, with Sir Gino and Shishkin all set for Aintree.

Henderson endured a miserable week in the Cotswolds and after racing on Wednesday of that week decided discretion was the better part of valour, pulling out all of his high-profile runners.

“Rather like before Cheltenham we’ve kept testing them and just like then, everything is fine – that’s the only worry really. It keeps telling us everything is fine,” said Henderson.

“The horses seem really well in themselves, the last work has all been done, they seem bright and perky and we’re looking forward to it.

“We’re going to know our fate pretty quickly. By Thursday night it will either be happening or it won’t be happening. Obviously we go with a fair amount of trepidation, but things seemed to have improved dramatically from the perspective of their work and everything at home.

“We’ve hardly run anything, but the two reasons we haven’t run anything, for instance at Hereford today I couldn’t make an entry on the card – I couldn’t find a horse who was qualified to run in any race, and of course the ground is desperate, so we’ll start at Aintree.”

After a quiet 10 days the Seven Barrows handler has been building them back up to peak fitness and Sir Gino, who had been odds-on for the Triumph Hurdle, will be first to test the water in the Boodles Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.

“He was a horse that I honestly couldn’t find anything wrong with him, but we’d lost all confidence and I couldn’t face running a young horse like him,” Henderson told Sky Sports Racing.

“We’ve made no bones about it, we think he’s seriously good and I just couldn’t risk him. Joe Donnelly was wonderful because we had to take Sir Gino, Shishkin and Shanagh Bob out, all his, but there was no point in running them after the first two days.

“I trust in this fellow and he’s going to go out there carrying the Seven Barrows flag and I’m sure everyone is going to watch him like a hawk – I hope for all the right reasons.

“He won at Auteuil and as everybody knows, if you can handle that you can handle most things, and it was pretty soft on Trials day (at Cheltenham).”

Shishkin will then get his chance to shine in the Aintree Bowl having missed the Gold Cup.

“The last week seems to have been great, Nico (de Boinville) rode him in his last piece of work on Saturday and said he felt fantastic and he’s looked up for it all this week.

“I just think everything has gone right, but he’s had a funny old year. He didn’t start, then he threw away the King George and then he won the Denman. Whatever anybody’s opinion of the King George doesn’t matter, he was still running a great race. The Denman was more than an ideal preparation for the Gold Cup, but here we are in the same place so hopefully all systems go.”

Henderson also runs the mares Luccia and Marie’s Rock in the William Hill Aintree Hurdle.

He said: “Luccia was the one bright light at Cheltenham. The Champion Hurdle had fallen apart as far as we were concerned without Constitution Hill, but Luccia ran a fantastic race when she was a very close third.

“The only thing here is we are going up half a mile. We haven’t thought about it a lot and always felt she wouldn’t stay, but one day you have to try and if she does stay from next season’s point of view it gives her so many more options. The alternative was to wait for Punchestown and walk into Lossiemouth.

“Marie’s Rock is between here and the three-miler, but in this sort of ground two and a half will be plenty for her. She’s got stamina and goes in the soft, but it’s a very tough race.”

The well-fancied Kitty’s Light appears almost certain to make the cut for Saturday’s Randox Grand National after Gordon Elliott revealed top-weight Conflated will instead run in the Melling Chase at Aintree on Friday.

Conflated was one of 13 Elliott-trained horses still in contention for Saturday’s main event following the confirmation stage on Monday, but owners Gigginstown House Stud later said the prospect of running under 11st 12lb on testing ground over four and a quarter miles was a major concern.

The 10-year-old was also entered for Thursday’s Aintree Bowl over three miles and a furlong, but was not declared on Tuesday morning and is instead set to run over two and a half miles the following day.

“We had the option of the Aintree Bowl and the Grand National, but with the ground going the way it is we are going to run in the Melling Chase on Friday instead,” Elliott said in a stable tour for Attheraces.com.

“I thought he ran great in the Ryanair Chase (at Cheltenham, finished third), he hit the line well and I was very happy with his run.”

Conflated’s anticipated defection means all six horses with an allotted weight of 10st 6lb are now set to get into the final field of 34.

As Glengouly, Galia Des Liteaux and Panda Boy are rated 146, all three were already guaranteed a starting berth, but the same could not be said of Eklat De Rire, Chambard and Kitty’s Light.

As that trio have all been dropped 1lb to an official rating of 145 since the weights were unveiled in February, connections faced an anxious wait and a potential random ballot to decide which two of the three would creep in at the bottom if none of the horses above them were taken out.

Christian Williams, trainer of last year’s Scottish Grand National and bet365 Gold Cup hero Kitty’s Light, admitted to being relieved that barring a late change of mind from Elliott, that will no longer be the case.

He said: “It’s great that he’ll get in now, it’s good for the owners. The whole season has been geared towards the Grand National so it’s great that we’ve got in.

“The owners have been looking at it for the last three weeks and had everything upside down. They’ve been thinking about it for the last three weeks and I just stayed out of it.

“I think Gordon declared Conflated for the Bowl this morning, so one of the owners rang me and said ‘brilliant Chris, we’re in’, then Gordon took him back out! Anyway, it sounds like he’s running on Friday hopefully.”

Of Kitty’s Light, he added: “He’s flying, it’s just a shame with the ground because when we had him in a good place last year the ground was good and it looks like it will be heavy on Saturday.

“He might still have won the Scottish National last year if it was soft, you don’t really know do you? You can’t discount him on the ground until he actually goes out there as when we’ve run him on that sort of ground before we didn’t have him in the best of form and it wouldn’t have been his ideal trip.

“When he’s had his ideal trip it’s been in the spring and that’s when the ground has been good. We’ll see how he runs on heavy ground in the spring – there’s only one way to find out.”

Coral make Kitty’s Light a 14-1 shot for the National in their non-runner money back market, with last year’s winner Corach Rambler the 4-1 favourite ahead of I Am Maximus at 7-1.

Scott Dixon was left to reflect on what for him proved an “incredibly strange” last race at Wolverhampton on Monday night, where only two runners eventually lined up after a false start.

The stalls did not seem to open when the starter’s flag fell in the closing Download The Racecourse App Raceday Ready Handicap but then released moments later, causing the starter to wave his flag to signal a false start.

By that point the horses were already a stride or two into the seven-furlong race and though the call to pull up appeared to spread fairly quickly, that was easier said than done for many of the riders.

Sue Gardner’s Kimifive and Dixon’s Mudlahhim were already locking horns and several other horses were reluctant to stop behind them.

The rules state horses are automatically withdrawn if they complete the course after the false start flag is waved, meaning all eight horses that crossed the line could not then partake in the rerun of the race. Oriental Spirit’s trainer Stuart Kittow decided not to take part after his horse ran keenly before being pulled up near the line, adding to earlier non-runner Captain Wentworth.

Eventually only two horses lined up for the delayed running, with Dixon’s other runner A Pint Of Bear losing out by three-quarters of a length to an old stablemate in John O’Shea’s Rose Fandango.

“It was an incredibly rare situation, from what I can gather the stalls didn’t open when they pressed the button,” Dixon said.

“I’ve watched the race back and I think it was all of them, it wasn’t a select few.

“The rule is if you cross the line you’re out and there were some horses that just couldn’t pull up and one of those was definitely mine.

“I had two runners, I had Mudlahhim and A Pint Of Bear. Mudlahhim is an unbelievably keen horse in his home work and he can be in his races. He just thought he was in a race.

“When my assistant and I saw what happened we both looked at each other and said there was zero chance of getting him back before the finishing line.

“Ultimately that’s what happened, him and another horse did another circuit and they were just taking each other on which wasn’t helping matters.”

The matter has been forwarded to the British Horseracing Authority for review after all riders, the starters, the starting stalls team leader, clerk of the course Fergus Cameron and others were interviewed and shown recordings of the incident.

“It was just incredibly strange, and to make it even stranger for me was that the horse we ended up in a match race with, Rose Fandango, I used to train,” Dixon added.

“His last win was with me, so it got even weirder! I ran down to the start and saw A Pint Of Bear myself to make sure he was all right.

“Phil (Dennis, jockey) and I thought he was fine and he was looked at by the vet and he was all good to go.

“It’s not going to be ideal for any of them but he was 100 per cent fine to run, we made the decision to let him have a go and sadly for us we lost the match race.

“All the horses were fine and all the jockeys were fine and that’s all that matters, really.

“It seems like it was a mechanical fault, which ultimately can just happen, and even human error is always going to happen occasionally.

“It’s just one of those things, you’ve got to feel sorry for people with horses that couldn’t run – they have spent the money and taken the time to go, it is very unfortunate but it is just one of those things.”

David Menuisier is not losing heart after Sunway’s beaten run in the Prix la Force at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.

The Galiway colt, who is a full-brother to Champion Stakes winner Sealiway, won the Group One Criterium International at Saint-Cloud and was second in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last season.

The former run was on very soft autumn ground and he encountered heavy going at the weekend when making his seasonal debut in the Group Three Prix la Force.

His prior form contributed to his status as the 3-5 favourite under Oisin Murphy, but the bay could only finish fifth when beaten two and three-quarter lengths by Atlast.

Menuisier felt the way the race panned out did not play to his horse’s strengths, but is happy to have the run under Sunway’s belt ahead of bigger targets throughout the year.

“I think the pace was a bit too slow, Oisin kicked himself after the race thinking that they were absolutely hacking and finished on a sprint,” he said.

“Stamina wasn’t really tested, the horse was a little bit rusty when they quickened and then he kind of went again.

“We noticed after the race that he got struck into on his left-fore tendon by another horse, probably the winner when he came past us.

“I’m not saying that was the cause of the defeat, it was more a combination of things, it’s like being tackled in the Achilles tendon for football players, it hurts at the time.

“On the whole the horse was only at 80 per cent, it was a prep race. He was always going to improve for it, he was not beaten far.

“I can’t say that I’m happy with the situation, but we need to think from a bigger perspective. I don’t think it was complete chaos, we’ll live to fight another day.

“He needed the race, that’s the principle of having trial races and he’s still a good horse and he hasn’t lost anything in defeat.”

Sunway is entered in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, the French 2000 Guineas, and the Dante at York, though which path he will take is not yet decided as the dust still settles.

Menusuier said: “We will move forward, it is too early to say what we will do next – whether we go for the Poule d’Essai over one mile or whether we step up in trip for the Dante or the Prix Greffulhe, I don’t know.

“My position hasn’t changed at all, it was a stepping stone whether he won or not.

“It was a race you could run countless times and get different results and I don’t think he was beaten by a better horse, he was beaten by the circumstances.”

It is 60 years since a serious injury to Paddy Farrell in the 1964 Grand National helped spawn what is now the Injured Jockeys Fund.

At the time there was no system in place, financial or otherwise, to compensate jockeys whenever they were injured and Jack Berry, at the time a jump jockey himself who would go on to be a successful Flat trainer, was one of the riders to literally go round with collection buckets.

Farrell’s fall from Border Flight, while awful for all concerned, did at least provide a catalyst for change. Tim Brookshaw was another jockey to suffer serious injury at around the same time and the Farrell/Brookshaw Fund was set up originally to facilitate their recuperation before the pair asked that all jockeys should benefit.

John (Lord) Oaksey took on a prominent role, as did Berry.

“I do appreciate how good the facilities are now but it all started way back in 1964,” said Berry.

“Poor Paddy Farrell fell and broke his back in the Grand National. I was one of the jump jockeys who went round with buckets to collect money for him and if you like that was the start of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

“In those days there was nowhere for people to look to and he had a wife and four young kids at the time – they were seven, five, three and five months old. It was a bad situation.

“I had a bad fall at Wetherby when I broke my knee in five places and despite me conning my local doctor after three months to say I was fit, the Jockey Club doctor said there was no way I could ride, it only bent about 60 per cent.

“He asked me to go to Camden Town centre in London to rehabilitate. When I went there, along with me there were five dockers and a policeman but obviously they were just trying to drag it out as long as possible, I was the only one there who wanted to get better.

“I thought when I packed up riding and became a trustee of the Injured Jockeys Fund that we could do with a facility like Camden Town. It took me three years to get it past the trustees that we needed Oaksey House (in Lambourn) but when we got it past the trustees, I always thought we needed one in the north.”

The one in the north is known as Jack Berry House and while the man famous for wearing red shirts is a little embarrassed the facility carries his name given it was down to the work of so many, he admits to feeling a sense of pride at the outcome.

“Once I suggested it, I was told it was only six years since we opened Oaksey House but I said ‘don’t worry, we’ll raise the funds’ and with the help of the IJF, we held things like bungee jumps, sponsored swims and walks, all sorts to get the money,” he said.

“I did say to the trustees that we shouldn’t call it Jack Berry House we should call it Our House, but it is something I am very proud of and I’m absolutely delighted with it.

“It’s not just for injured jockeys, it’s a community hub if you like. Someone like Brian Hughes might ride out in Malton, go and use the gym there and then head off for six rides at Wetherby or somewhere.

“The wives of ex-jockeys still go and do Pilates there and have a cup of tea and a bit of a chat.”

Hopefully in the future Graham Lee may be a regular visitor to Jack Berry House.

It was 20 years ago that Lee won the Grand National on Amberleigh House before he switched his attentions to the Flat, going on to register a unique double by steering Trip To Paris to triumph in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Sadly, Lee suffered a fall at Newcastle in November which left him with life-changing injuries.

“You wouldn’t believe how many jockeys get injured. When you go down there, there are jockeys with broken collarbones and all sorts, it is a very dangerous profession,” said Berry.

“Look at Graham Lee, the poor lad is seriously injured. With Graham hopefully there might be scope for some more movement returning. He can move his shoulders and his neck.

“Graham is going to visit a rugby player who broke his neck, he has a rehabilitation place near Leicester and he’ll go there for a couple of weeks and then he’ll go home after the alterations have been made to make it wheelchair friendly. No doubt he will go to Jack Berry House to have physio eventually.”

James Owen could saddle his first Classic runner if Ambiente Amigo proves she is up to the task of running in the Betfred Oaks during the early stages of the new Flat season.

Owned by the Gredley Family, the daughter of Postponed was trained by Michael Bell as a two-year-old, impressing when twice scoring at Lingfield in maiden and novice company.

Immediately upped to the highest level, she was partnered by Frankie Dettori when finishing her season in the Fillies’ Mile.

Although failing to land a blow in that Group One event, it served notice of connections’ big-race intentions and having crossed Newmarket to Owen’s Green Ridge Stables, Ambiente Amigo is being prepared for her impending return during the town’s Craven meeting later this month.

“We’ve done a lot of work with her and she’s working to a very good level at home,” said Owen.

“It’s been hard trying to find a race for her really and there’s been nothing really suitable for a three-year-old filly with her mark.

“We’re probably going to start her off over a mile and two furlongs up at the Craven meeting, either in a handicap or something a little bit deeper.”

A five-time UK Arabian champion trainer and well-known pre-trainer, Owen has made an immediate impression since taking out a licence, overseeing the successful transition to hurdles of the Gredleys’ Royal Ascot scorer Burdett Road.

Now he is looking forward to making his mark on the Flat during the summer months and having taken great pleasure in making the Epsom entry for Ambiente Amigo, will be aiming to prepare the three-year-old for Classic action on the Surrey Downs later in the summer.

“She’s going to have to improve and get on an upwards curve, but it’s exciting to put those entries in,” continued Owen.

“She’s got the pedigree to stay and likes a little bit of soft ground. The way she works we think she will stay, which is why we put that entry in (for the Oaks).

“She is being trained with that in mind and hopefully we can get a run into her before going to one of the prep races – probably Chester or Lingfield – and that is the aim. I do want to get a run into her before the trial races.

“We’re all enjoying it and we’ll be trying our best.”

Gold Cup runner-up Gerri Colombe will meet last year’s winner Shishkin in the Aintree Bowl on Thursday.

Trained by Gordon Elliott, Gerri Colombe put up a game fight in the blue riband at Cheltenham when beating all bar reigning champion Galopin Des Champs.

Gerri Colombe is owned by Brian Acheson’s Robcour operation and the same colours will be sported by the Mouse Morris-trained Gentlemansgame.

Shishkin, winner of the race 12 months ago for Nicky Henderson, will attempt to put a dreadful Cheltenham Festival behind the trainer after he withdrew many of his intended runners due to the form of his string.

Corbetts Cross, so impressive in the National Hunt Chase, will step into open company for the first time while Bravemansgame, Ahoy Senor and Thunder Rock are also running in a field of seven.

Champion Hurdle third Luccia will step up in trip for the William Hill Aintree Hurdle.

One of only a few to run well for Henderson at Cheltenham, she will face the likes of Impaire Et Passe and Bob Olinger in a field of eight, with Coral Cup winner Langer Dan stepping up in grade.

Grey Dawning and Ginny’s Destiny will meet again in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase.

The pair served up a real treat in the Turners at Cheltenham, with Dan Skelton’s Grey Dawning coming out on top by two lengths.

Il Etait Temps, third in the Arkle, steps up in trip for Willie Mullins, while Blow Your Wad and Colonel Harry complete the quintet.

Sir Gino, a Cheltenham absentee for Henderson, will get the chance to strut his stuff in the Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.

He will take on Mullins’ Kargese, who finished second to stable companion Majborough in the Triumph Hurdle, the Joseph O’Brien-trained pair of Intellotto and Nurburgring, Paul Nicholls’ Kalif Du Berlais and Dirty Den.

There are 22 in the Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase which include Cheltenham runner-up Its On The Line and Cat Tiger for David Maxwell.

There was a chaotic end to the card at Wolverhampton on Monday night as a false start resulted in the original 12-strong field being reduced to just two runners.

The 8.30pm Download The Racecourse App Raceday Ready Handicap saw the starter flag for a false start after the stalls opened, but the majority of runners covered most of the seven furlongs before pulling up.

When they lined up again, the field had been reduced to Rose Fandango and A Pint of Bear.

The former, trained by John O’Shea and ridden by Rossa Ryan, prevailed at 25/1.

The mass withdrawal led to an 85p Rule 4 being applied.

Jockey Paddy Brennan was banned for 18 days and trainer Fergal O’Brien fined £4,000 after Northern Air finished second in Golf Membership On Sale Now Maiden Hurdle at Wincanton.

The 5-1 chance was making her debut over hurdles having won a point to point at the backend of last year and had one bumper start at Newbury last month since joining the O’Brien team.

Brennan’s mount made up late ground having been held up in the early stages and was eventually beaten three and a quarter lengths by an odds-on favourite in the one-mile-seven-furlong affair.

The stewards inquired into the performance with Brennan stating his instructions were “to switch off” Northern Air as she had been keen last time and finished the race “fairly distressed” after “emptying out”.

Brennan also reported Northern Air had made a respiratory noise and he wanted to ensure she finished more positively, focusing on “keeping the bit up in her mouth, being patient and riding her up the straight to hit the line”.

Both O’Brien and his representative confirmed the instructions and were satisfied with the ride, with the stewards deciding to suspend Brennan and fine O’Brien for “schooling and conditioning the horse on the racecourse”. Northern Air also received a 40-day ban from running.

Senior steward Tom Evetts told Racing TV: “Mr Brennan’s case was that he wanted to hold her up, she raced keenly at Newbury and didn’t finish her race, so his and Mr O’Brien’s priority coming here today was to get her to finish her race strongly.

“I guess our concern came in that having turned out of the back straight at a time when we would like horses to be improving their position, Mr Brennan was very tender in his handling of the mare and then up the entirety of the straight we just felt he wasn’t doing enough on a mare that was passing horses and finishing off strongly.

“The question you could ask is where is the line between intent and schooling, we have done her under schooling. Intent is when the rider is doing the opposite of what we would expect, schooling is when the rider is just not doing enough and up the straight we felt Mr Brennan just wasn’t doing enough.

“The penalty (range) under schooling is 10 to 18 days for the jockey with an entry of 14, as she has finished second strongly, we have had to go to the top of that range and then that applies to Mr O’Brien.”

Brennan’s suspension encompasses April 22-27, May 4 and May 6-16.

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