Saturday, April 13

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Clan Des Obeaux wins Betway Bowl at Aintree | horse racing


Sir Alex Ferguson was celebrating on Merseyside for the second year running on Thursday as Clan Des Obeaux, the best horse he has owned in nearly 25 years in racing, took the Betway Bowl on the opening day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree.

The former Manchester United manager had an interest in two runners in the race, and the money beforehand suggested that Protektorat, from the Dan Skelton yard, was fancied to land the first Grade One win of his career. Clan Des Obeaux was always traveling sweetly for Harry Cobden, however, at a track that plays to his strengths from him, and despite idling on the run-in he got home by a length from the Irish Gold Cup winner, Conflated.

“We couldn’t believe the price he went out to,” Ferguson said. “Protektorat was a worthy favorite but maybe the Gold Cup [in which he finished third] had just taken a bit out of him.

“Racing is part of my life more than football now. I’ve a few with [co-owner] Ged [Mason] and John Hales and we got great enjoyment last year winning three Grade Ones here. I never won three in a row at Anfield, that’s for sure. I need to speak to Paul [Nicholls] about the Grand National [next year]. He will be 11 and it is probably the one thing to try at his age.

There was a dramatic conclusion and aftermath to the Anniversary 4YO Hurdle earlier on the card as Knight Salute and Pied Piper initially dead-heated for first in the Grade One event, before Knight Salute was awarded the spoils in the stewards’ room.

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The stewards decided that Pied Piper had impeded Knight Salute by jumping left at the final flight, despite being told by Paddy Brennan, his rider, that he had not lost any momentum and that he felt a dead heat was “a very fair result”.

Harry Cobden and Sir Alex Ferguson celebrate with the Betway Bowl trophy. Photograph: David Davies/PA

Davy Russell, meanwhile, told the officials that he had gone too soon on the 10-11 favourite. “I knew riding the race it was completely wrong,” Russell said, “but he traveled so well and my hands were tied.” Milton Harris, whose colorful life and career has included drinking sessions with Cary Grant, dating Belinda Carlisle and seven years without a license after being declared bankrupt, was celebrating his first Grade One success.

“It doesn’t sit easy with me as they’ve had a good battle,” Harris said. “I was happy with the original result but the stewards have a job to do. “When I [Pied Piper] has given him a bump, that has probably helped him. He is a hardy warrior.”

Fontwell Park: 1.00 ucanaver, 1.30 Fat Sam, 2.00 GoldSouk, 2.35 poppa poutine, 3.10 Heron Creek, 3.45 go all the way, 4.20 Dear Ralph

Aintree: 1.45 Cobblers Dream, 2.20 severity, 2.55 Jonbon, 3.30 Fakir D’Oudairies, 4.05 Mr. Coffey (nap), 4.40 Skytastic (nb), 5.15 severity

Sedgefield: 2.10 Moonlight Glory2.45 Where’s Hector, 3.20 minelladestination, 4.00 Cool Country, 4.35 onestepatatime, 5.08 Well Cliché, 5.42 Killane

Kempton Park: 5.25 Timeless Melody, 6.00 All Go, 6.30 KingFrancis, 7.00 Light Lily, 7.30 Mashan, 8.00 suanni, 8.30 Blazon

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QuickGuide

Greg Wood’s Friday tips

Show

Fontwell Park: 1.00 ucanaver, 1.30 Fat Sam, 2.00 GoldSouk, 2.35 poppa poutine, 3.10 Heron Creek, 3.45 go all the way, 4.20 Dear Ralph

Aintree: 1.45 Cobblers Dream, 2.20 severity, 2.55 Jonbon, 3.30 Fakir D’Oudairies, 4.05 Mr. Coffey (nap), 4.40 Skytastic (nb), 5.15 severity

Sedgefield: 2.10 Moonlight Glory2.45 Where’s Hector, 3.20 minelladestination, 4.00 Cool Country, 4.35 onestepatatime, 5.08 Well Cliché, 5.42 Killane

Kempton Park: 5.25 Timeless Melody, 6.00 All Go, 6.30 KingFrancis, 7.00 Light Lily, 7.30 Mashan, 8.00 suanni, 8.30 Blazon

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Sam Waley-Cohen, one of Britain’s top amateur riders for more than two decades, said he will retire from the saddle after riding Noble Yeats, owned by his father Robert, in Saturday’s Grand National.

Waley-Cohen, 39, was the first amateur to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup for 30 years when he steered Long Run to victory in 2011, and also won the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on the same horse in 2011 and 2012.


www.theguardian.com

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