Hot favourite Vautour was a shock faller as God’s Own claimed one of the most significant victories of his career in a dramatic renewal of the JLT Melling Chase at Aintree yesterday.
All eyes were on 1-5 market leader Vautour as he looked to follow up his impressive success in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, on his first visit to the Merseyside track.
For the early part of the Grade One feature all was going well for the Willie Mullins-trained runner, as he cleared his fences in perfect fashion.
But that picture was not to last, as after flicking through the top of the ninth he parted company with Ruby Walsh, leaving Clarcam out in front, a position he held to the second-last.
As Al Ferof and God’s Own moved on, it was the Tom George-trained runner who asserted going down to the final fence, opening up a race-winning advantage.
Although his stride shortened late on, the winning line came in time with the 10-1 scorer getting home with two and three-quarter lengths in hand.
A delighted Paddy Brennan said: “I’m so pleased to ride one (Grade One winner) for Tom George. He’s been a massive supporter.
“This horse is not the easiest of rides and I’m sure there’s been plenty of times I didn’t get it right, so it’s nice to get it right today.
“He’s a spring horse and he’s been beautifully trained. I can’t believe I’ve won.”
Part-owner Max Fawbert said: “We’re pretty happy, it was fantastic. I’m sorry Vautour fell, but we’re over the moon with our horse.
“He keeps hitting the crossbar. His Cheltenham run in the Champion Chase (finished fourth) was fantastic.”
George said: “He’s won a Grade One already in his career and people forget about him a lot.
“There’s been a lot of hard work from everyone at home, and Paddy, and it’s great to get it right on the big day.
“Paddy has been very consistent and has ridden for us a long time. We love working together and enjoying big days like this.”
God’s Own is now likely to make an appearance at the Punchestown Festival.
“He’s not easy and is probably better going left-handed. Paddy has got to know him very well and it’s all come right for us today,” George added.
“I’d think he’d definitely go to Punchestown as long as the ground is similar to today or better.
“He’s a very fresh horse and we can’t run him in the middle of winter on very heavy ground.
“We’ll see how he is but my inclination is he’ll be be going to Punchestown.”
Dan Skelton was delighted with the performance of runner-up Al Ferof.
He said: “I’d love to win a Grade One with him. When Vautour fell I said to myself ‘I wished I hadn’t gone to Cheltenham now’, but that’s racing and how it works out.
“He’s as brave as a lion. He tries his hardest. He was tapped for toe halfway down the back but never gave up.
“He’s been beaten by a horse who is the same on ratings but is three years younger. It’s as simple as that.”
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