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Bear's Affair owner Barlow hoping to win two Foxhunters in space of a month

Bear's Affair (red and black cap): finished second in a Bangor point-to-point in February
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Fans of racing trivia could be in clover in the next six days if Kelly's Dino and Bear's Affair find their way into the winner's enclosures at Kempton and Aintree.

On Saturday, the Karl Burke-trained Kelly's Dino will bid to land the Rosebery Handicap, but he could be awarded last year's race too if the winner Crowned Eagle is disqualified for failing a post-race test.

Connections of Bear's Affair face a similar scenario at Aintree if their horse can land Thursday's Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase in which the 13-year-old was second to Balnaslow 12 months ago.

However, it emerged in January the Graham McKeever-trained Balnaslow may be stripped of that victory.

That could lead to a double celebration for Bear's Affair's owner George Barlow, who might also have a third reason to party with Cheltenham Festival winner Beware The Bear in line for Friday's Randox Health Topham Chase over Aintree's famous fences.

It is BHA policy not to comment on existing cases, but Barlow said: "I haven't heard much from the BHA and have been badgering them a bit. It seems we're not going to get a result for probably another month."

As for an outright winner on Thursday, Barlow added: "He's very well and likes the race and the track, and has won three times there and been second twice.

"He seems to be a spring horse and he always runs better at Aintree than anywhere else – I don't know why.

"Alex Edwards will ride and the unfortunate thing for him was he was one winner behind Lorcan Williams in the amateur riders' title last season, so if we get the winner, which I'm told we will, he'll be joint champion. There are a lot of people waiting on this."

The extra winner would also mean last term's hunter chase jockeys' crown being awarded to Edwards.

Bear's Affair, who is trained by Philip Rowley and was second in a point-to-point at Bangor in February, is 16-1 for the Foxhunters' and Barlow, based in Sandbach not far from junction 17 of the M6, is also looking forward to heading to Merseyside on Friday with Beware The Bear.

Beware The Bear and Jerry McGrath jump the second-last to win the Ultima

An inmate with Nicky Henderson, as Bear's Affair was earlier in his career, the nine-year-old was last seen winning the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham and is 16-1 for the Topham.

The owner, whose horses all carry the Bear tag in honour of his late father's nickname, said: "Winning at Cheltenham was a huge thrill and the object of going in the Topham is to see if he'll cope with the Grand National next year.

"We've fancied him for the National, but he's a great big horse and we just felt he was a year behind in experience for his age.

"Nicky's been happy with him since Cheltenham and Jerry McGrath, who gave him a great ride in the Ultima, will be on board again.

"I hope I've lots to look forward to next week."

Beware The Bear's Cheltenham triumph was particularly sweet for Barlow, who has himself been on the receiving end of a disqualification.

"It was the 1973 festival and the Foxhunter Chase, when I had a permit to train myself," he recalled. "Bullock's Horn was trained by Bob Turnell and ridden by Lord Oaksey and they both said in writing that Bear's Slipper should have kept the race [despite interference]."


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He seems to be a spring horse and he always runs better at Aintree than anywhere else
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