Minella Forfitness completes a day two four-timer for Nicky HendersonPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Minella secures Nicky Henderson four-timer
Report: Aintree, Friday
John Smith's Daily Mirror Punters Club Handicap Hurdle (Listed) 2m4f, 4yo+
NICKY HENDERSON'S winner train rolled on past My Tent Or Yours, Sprinter Sacre and Triolo D'Alene to Minella Forfitness, who completed a 299-1 four-timer for the trainers' championship leader.
The 10-1 chance travelled ominously well towards the final flight and was galvanised by David Bass to win going away from 33-1 shot Clerk's Choice and the 15-2 favourite Meister Eckhart.
Henderson was overwhelmed by the success and overjoyed for one of his greatest supporters, owner Michael Buckley.
He said: "Days just don't go like this. It's amazing and I'm just so thrilled for Michael Buckley, who has had a torrid season full of heartaches all the way through. He deserves this today and now has a really nice young horse to look forward to."
He added: "He's quirky and has tended to do too much in his races. He needed to be a pro today and he has been."
Bass said: "He hadn't experienced a handicap like that and he didn't see a hurdle early on but was brave and really took me to them. He's got a good engine and I'm delighted to contribute to such a day for the team."
Henderson's run began with 4-11 favourite My Tent Or Yours in the Rose Appeak Supports Alder Hey Top Novices' Hurdle, going on to 1-3 favourite Sprinter Sacre in the John Smith's Melling Chase and 14-1 shot Triolo D'Alene in the John Smith's Topham Handicap Chase over the National fences.
Legacy Gold charges home in the Listed mares' bumper at AintreePICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
John Smith's Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed) 2m1f, 4-6yo, fillies and mares
NORTHERN IRELAND trainer Stuart Crawford teamed up with brother Steven to win with Legacy Gold, giving the Irish raiders a one-two.
Jockey Steven settled the 9-1 chance towards the rear of the field and made steady headway around the outside of the whole pack around the final bend, staying wide up the straight to win professionally by four lengths.
Second was the Jessica Harrington-trained Cailin Annamh and third was Carole's Spirit, with 5-1 favourite The Pirate's Queen fifth and well-fancied Molly's A Diva back in 13th.
Steven said: "It wasnt the plan to sit last, but because they went so quick I had too. One by one they came back at me then and I ended up at the front too soon without ever quickening."
Teary-eyed, he added: "Not many people know Jonjo Bright, but he had a similar fall to JT McNamara recently and has become paralysed too. He's a very close friend of mine and my family's and this is for him."
Crawford, who has farmed bumpers in the north of England and in Scotland this term, had already saddled Legacy Gold to win twice at Catterick and Sedgefield.