Last year's runner-up Dineur goes one better for Bowen and King
Dineur went one better than last year in the Randox Health Foxhunters' to provide trainer Mickey Bowen and rider James King with the biggest wins of their career. With both being only 21, there should be plenty more big days ahead too.
The winner, a 16-1 shot, was dismounted after passing the post a length and three-quarters ahead of runner-up Balnaslow and did not return to the number-one spot.
However, Bowen, son of well-known trainer Peter Bowen, said: "He was quite tired and gave himself a nick. The vets are checking him out but he seems fine."
He added: "He had a leg two seasons back and when he came here last year he ran second to On The Fringe. Things have gone a lot more smoothly this season and he came out of his run at Chepstow last month really well.
"We're delighted with the result and depending on how he recovers he could go to Punchestown at the end of the month. He went there last year but the ground was slower than he wants. So the ground there will be a factor if he's to travel."
Winning rider King, son of the Racing Post's West Country correspondent Andrew King, said: "Dineur was brilliant. He's pretty sharp so I wanted him to start quickly.
"He settled into a nice rhythm and I was always happy where I was. He was a little tired at the finish and I led him to the cooling-down area. He didn't seem too bad but it was better to be safe than sorry."
King picked up a two-day ban for using his whip above the permitted level on the run from the final fence.
A total of 16 of the 28 runners completed the course, but 7-4 favourite On The Fringe, who was bidding for a third consecutive win in the race, was not among them. He was struggling from an early stage and was well behind when pulled up before two out.
"We were in trouble after the first few fences and were never in it," said rider Jamie Codd.
Graham McKeever, trainer of runner-up Balnaslow, said: "He's run a blinder. The plan was to make the running but they went a serious pace and Derek [O'Connor] wisely decided to take a pull. The horse stayed on really well from the last."
Aintree regular Big Fella Thanks, who is 15, and his rider Noel George, who at 17 is barely much older, finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Balnaslow.
Unfortunately this race proved one to forget for Katie Walsh. Her fall from Distime at The Chair led to initial fears she had broken her arm. However, it later emerged it was only bruising and she should be fit to ride Wonderful Charm in the Randox Health Grand National. Nick Scholfield had been pencilled in to replace her.