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Gus blows away Aintree rivals

Sun, 28 October 2012

Gus Macrae made full use of his feather weight to claim the feature race at Aintree.

Trained in Newport by Rebecca Curtis and ridden by 10lb claimer Patrick Corbett, the eight-year-old gelding was one of just a few horses in the Weatherbys Hamilton Bloodstock Insurance Handicap Chase to revel in the Merseyside mud.

Although Silver Roque went for broke four out, Corbett was never far away on the 6-1 shot, who was slowly nudged closer into contention before taking the lead with a crisp leap at the last and scoring by three and three-quarter lengths.

Corbett, who was securing just his third career winner, said: "He won quite well in the end, which was nice - he seemed to love the ground. He was only carrying 9st 8lb, so he hardly had anything on his back."

Simonside (33-1) made all the running in the hands of Aidan Coleman to take the Matalan Handicap Hurdle. Brian Ellison's nine-year-old won convincingly by four and a half lengths following a bright start.

The trainer said: "Aidan gave him a great ride. He (Simonside) is a natural front-runner and got a 10-length start. I know he's nine, but I'm tempted to go chasing with him."

It looked hard work in the Betfred Goals Galore Introductory Juvenile Hurdle as Handazan (3-1) came home in front under a determined Robert Thornton.

Alan King's three-year-old appeared beaten when For Two, the Paul Nicholls-trained British debutant, gained a slender lead two out, but the long run-in proved that rival's undoing. He looked naive and weary in front, which allowed Handazan to fight back for a three-and-three-quarter-length verdict.

Ely Brown (9-2) won a dramatic series qualifier of the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle. The seven-year-old, making his debut for Charlie Longsdon, looked home and hosed once he shrugged off the dogged Abnaki, but Kielan Woods had to keep him going to hold the flying Buachaill Alainn by a head.

Clondaw Kaempfer turned in the best performance of the day when he streaked six lengths clear in the EBF 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle. A Fairyhouse bumper winner in his native Ireland, Donald McCain's new recruit hacked up on his hurdling debut to readily vindicate 4-5 favouritism.