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Waining doubles up in Topham

Always Waining once again showed his love for the Grand National fences with a second successive victory in the John Smith's Topham Chase at Aintree for Peter Bowen.

The 14-1 chance had been first reserve for the National itself until Friday morning, but was allowed to take his chance in the Topham after the deadline to get a run in the National passed.

Favourite Mon Parrain looked the likely winner when cruising into the lead in the straight and he appeared to have sealed victory with a fine jump at the last, but his tank emptied and Always Waining claimed him before pulling clear for a four-length win in the hands of Tom O'Brien.

The jockey said: "Unbelievable. He never knows when he's beaten. I thought I was only going to finish second, but he just comes alive when he hears the cheers. As soon as he heard the crowd he took off."

Bowen added: "He's just brilliant round here. He just loves this place. He ran so well last time over hurdles, so we were happy with him all the way.

"It's unlucky he didn't get in the National, but this is good compensation. Hopefully we'll be back next year. He's a star."

Paul Nicholls said of Mon Parrain: "It was a great run for a five-year-old. Ruby gave him a bit of a breather and maybe he was just doing too much and ran out of petrol.

"It was a close call whether to run here or in Denman's race and I'm not sure what his trip is. We'll look after him and probably start him off over two and a half miles next year."


From Belfast Telegraph