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Annie Power obliterates rivals to claim stunning double

Cue Card and On The Fringe also claimed victories on what is proving to be a good opening day for the punters at Aintree.

ANNIE POWER HAS completed a stunning Cheltenham-Aintree double, becoming the first mare since Dawn Run to win the Champion Hurdle and Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle in the same season.

Grand Opening Day - Crabbie's Grand National Festival - Aintree Racecourse Ruby Walsh on board Annie Power on the way to victory today. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Willie Mullins-Ruby Walsh partnership added yet another Grade 1 scalp to their roll of honour as Annie Power stormed home by 18 lengths from My Tent Or Yours.

It’s been another good day for the punters, after they got several big wins against the bookies at Cheltenham, with 6/5 favourite Cue Card also getting home first in the Betfred Bowl Chase.

Colin Tizzard’s star fell in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month just as the 10-year-old seemed to mounting a challenge for the blue riband event of the festival.

There was no such drama this afternoon however, as Cue Card overcame a battle with Djakadam and Don Poli to claim victory by nine lengths.

After the race, Tizzard confirmed that his stable star will be making an appearance in Kildare later this month, in the Bibby Financial Services Punchestown Ireland Gold Cup on 27 April.

Mullins also claimed an emphatic victory in the Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle earlier in the day.

With Bryan Cooper in the saddle, Apple’s Jade (3/1) destroyed a respectable field, that contained Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov, to win by an incredible 41 lengths.

Apple’s Jade finished second to Ivanovich Gorbatov in the Triumph and produced a stunning form reversal, on slower ground, as the filly romped home.

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Ivanovich Gorbatov battled on well for second while Azzuri completed the minor placings.

Mullins’ Footpad fell at the fourth-last flight, with Walsh in the saddle, but horse and jockey both seemed to be unharmed after the incident.

Grand Opening Day - Crabbie's Grand National Festival - Aintree Racecourse Footpad, ridden by Ruby Walsh, takes a fall in the Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle. Source: David Davies

In the day’s opening race, Arzal (4/1) delivered an excellent front-running performance to claim victory in the Merseyrail Mainfesto Novices’ Chase for Harry Whittington.

Gavin Sheehan looked comfortable in the saddle throughout, as the six-year-old finished eight lengths clear of L’Ami Serge. Sizing John, the 11-4 favourite, was a further 16 lengths back in third.

Enda Bolger’s On The Fringe also completed a Cheltenham-Aintree double this afternoon in the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase.

With Jamie Codd on board, in place of the suspended Nina Carberry (seven-day whip ban) who steered On The Fringe to victory in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham last month, the 15/8 favourite came home with eight lengths to spare from Dineur (50/1). Mendip Express came home in third with Current Event in fourth.

Results:
13.40 Merseyrail Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1): 1. Arzal, 4/1, (H Whittington, G Sheehan), 2. L’Ami Serge, 9/2, (N J Henderson, D A Jacob), Sizing John, 11/4f, (H de Bromhead, J J Burke).
14.15 Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1): 1. Apple’s Jade, 3/1, (W P Mullins, B J Cooper), 2. Ivanovich Gorbatov, 11/4f, (A P O’Brien, B J Geraghty).
14.50 Betfred Bowl Chase (Grade 1): 1. Cue Card, 6/5f, (C L Tizzard, P J Brennan), 2. Don Poli, 4/1, (W P Mullins, B J Cooper), 3. Djakadam, 5/2, (W P Mullins, R Walsh).
15.25 Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1): 1. Annie Power, 4/9f, (W P Mullins, R Walsh), 2. My Tent Or Yours, 9/1, (N J Henderson, B J Geraghty), 3. Nichols Canyon, 11/1, (W P Mullins, P Townend).
16.05 Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase: 1. On The Fringe, 15/8f, (E Bolger J Codd), 2. Dineur, 50/1 (M Bowen, J King), 3. Mendip Express, 11/1, (P J Hobbs, D Maxwell), 4. Current Event, 15/2, (R Loxton, K Walsh).
16.40 Betfred Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3): 1. Katachenko, 9/1, (D McCain Jnr, W Hutchinson), 2. Dandridge, 11/2, (A L T Moore, D N Russell), 3. Viconte Du Noyer, 8/1, (H de Bromhead, J J Burke).
17.15 Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2): 1. Kayf Grace, 14/1, (N J Henderson, N de Boinville), 2. Augusta Kate, 15/8f, (W Mullins, R Walsh), 3. Shattered Love, 8/1, (G Elliott, B Cooper).

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