Triolo D'Alene (left) takes it up before going on to land the TophamPICTURE: Getty Images
Triolo D’Alene gives Henderson nice treble
Report: Aintree, Friday
John Smith's Topham Chase (Grade 3 handicap) 2m5½f 5yo+
TRIOLO D'ALENE found his form for the first time this season to give Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty further joy following Sprinter Sacre's success half an hour earlier.
The 14-1 shot saw off the gallant Walkon, ever the bridesmaid, while third spot went to Last Time D'Albain with Dunowen Point fourth and Gullible Gordon fifth. As many as 19 of the 29 runners completed.
This victory moves Nicky Henderson, who also saddled the winner of the opener, My Tent Or Yours, ever closer to his first trainers' championship since 1986. Afterwards he paid credit to his team.
“This has been a humongous effort by everyone at home," said Henderson. "He has not been easy all season, he’s had respiratory problems, but the last week has been a particular nightmare. I always thought this horse was made to jump these fences. Everything was going great but then literally during the night last weekend he took his shoe off and stepped on it.
“I have to pay absolute credit to everyone at home. He has been stood in poultices, buckets of ice, salt, water, spas. He never missed any work because of it."
For the winner it had been a frustrating season. Back in November Geraghty wasted down to 10st 1lb to ride this horse in the Paddy Power Gold Cup but the result was a disappointment when the six-year-old pulled up before four out. That showed the esteem to which his jockey holds him in, though, and on this better ground he jumped much better and his class shone through.
In fact the jumping was decent for the whole field and it wasn't until Tartak unseated at the eighth that we had a departure.
As tends to be the case in the Topham, the race didn't pass without incident. At the 15th the leader Little Josh was one of four fallers and sadly was a fatality. His rider Sam Twiston-Davies appears okay, but a few riders were in the wars afterwards. Liam Treadwell has been taken to hospital to be assessed for a suspected shoulder injury, while Andrew Lynch was being assessed at the track.