Granite grabs Maghull prize
Irish raider Sizing Granite claimed the Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree for trainer Henry de Bromhead and jockey Johnny Burke.
De Bromhead took the Grade One prize two years ago with surprise winner Special Tiara, but 9-2 shot Sizing Granite had more obvious claims following successive wins at Naas and Leopardstown.
Burke kept his mount on the speed throughout and he loomed ominously alongside the front-running Art Maresque at the top of the straight before quickly opening up a lead between the final two fences.
Although Arkle Trophy runner-up God's Own gave favourite-backers hope with a strong finish, Sizing Granite had enough in reserve to hold on by a length.
Burke said: "He's a great jumper and he showed that there. His jumping was effortless really. He put his jumping to good use.
"I thought the flat track would suit him and I'm glad we brought him. We try to keep him fresh and we pick the races for him."
De Bromhead added: "It was really good and a super ride from Johnny as well. I'm delighted and it's great to get one here.
"We live in hope he can be the next Sizing Europe. He's a gorgeous horse and Ann and Alan (Potts, owners) have been really patient with him. He's taken a bit of time but he's getting better and better.
"He's massive and he was very immature. I think he's going to keep improving. That will be it for the season for him now."
God's Own's trainer, Tom George, said: "The trip was probably sharp enough and he was going right a bit, so he's probably got a preference for going that way, but we sort of knew that anyway.
"We nearly got away with it and we hope to go to either Punchestown or Sandown now.
"The two miles has just caught him out, but then again, the winner could be improving quickly."
Traffic Fluide was third for Gary Moore, who said: "I'm over the moon with that. He won't run again this season now and he could go up in trip next year.
"We'll have to see what the handicapper does, but the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter would be an obvious starting point."