Forest Bihan outguns Kalashnikov at Aintree
Two of last season’s top chasers, Frodon and Kalashnikov, were upstaged at Aintree yesterday as Forest Bihan, who had the benefit of a recent run, ultimately proved strongest to win The Virgin Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase.
The field of five only had to jump 10 fences after the three obstacles in the home straight were omitted on each circuit owing to low sun.
Frodon adopted his customary front-running role, but after the field had jumped the last fence – fully half a mile from home – it was obvious that both Kalashnikov and Forest Bihan were going better and they soon swept past.
Both travelled well, but it was Brian Ellison’s Forest Bihan, who showed the better turn of foot and he stayed on well to beat Kalashnikov by 2¾ lengths.
Ellison said: “We ran him at Kelso and he improved loads for that. He hadn’t won over 2½ miles before, but Brian [Hughes, jockey] said the ground was pretty soft today and he seemed to stay well.”
In France, Technician landed the Group One Prix Royal-oak at Parislongchamp. The Martyn Meadetrained three-year-old won at the track on Arc weekend and the decision to run again so quickly paid a handsome dividend.
Ridden by the Arc-winning jockey, Pierre-charles Boudot, Meade’s charge picked up strongly in the straight, quickly overhauling Holdthasigreen before fending off the late challenge from Call The Wind.
Freddie Meade, assistant to his father, told Sky Sports Racing: “He has got better with every start and done everything we have asked. He will have a well-earned rest now.”
The loss of Saturday’s meetings at Doncaster and Newbury has prompted the British Horseracing Authority to reschedule both the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy and the Group Three Horris Hill Stakes. The Futurity will be staged at Newcastle on Friday, while Newmarket will play host to the Horris Hill a day later.
The wet weather has also hit today’s racing with Redcar and Leicester having been abandoned, while tomorrow’s Bangor-on-dee meeting must pass an 8am inspection this morning.
On the mark: Brian Hughes steered Forest Bihan to success in the Old Roan Chase