Kemboy comes good at Aintree – as Tiger Roll leads Grand National betting


AINTREE, United Kingdom (AFP) - Kemboy gained handsome redemption after unseating his rider at the first fence in the Gold Cup with a stylish all the way win in Thursday's feature on the first day of Aintree's Grand National festival.
Willie Mullins' charge was well backed down to 9-4 favouritism to make amends for his Cheltenham slip-up and warm up racegoers braving wind and rain at the racecourse in the Liverpool suburbs.
And despite the presence of Gold Cup third and fifth, Bristol De Mai and Clan des Obeaux, Kemboy dominated the Grade 1 Betway Bowl Chase to justify all the confidence coming from the betting ring.
Jockey Ruby Walsh steered the seven-year-old into the lead from the start and jumping well throughout he quickened clear after the last to easily account for runner-up Clan des Obeaux.
Mullins, who won the Gold Cup with Al Boum Photo, said: "Freshness was huge. Everything suited him here and he loved it."
Walsh added: "To look at it, Willie Mullins has two of the best staying chasers in training and I'd pick either of them in the Gold Cup."
Another Cheltenham Festival casualty looking for a change of fortune at Liverpool was Buveur d'Air.
Nicky Henderson's 2017 and 2018 Champion Hurdler came unstuck at the third last flight three weeks ago, and was sent off 6-5 on favourite to gain compensation in the Aintree Hurdle.
But hard though he fought he couldn't find enough in the tank to repel Supasundae on the run-in, with Jessica Harrington's Irish raider crossing the line a length and a half clear at 15-2.
One horse that held on to his jockey at Cheltenham, Henderson's Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills, followed up in a photo finish from Fakir D'Oudairies in the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle.
The mighty Grand National fences were tackled for the first time at this year's meeting in the Foxhunters won by Top Wood.
The betting for Saturday's National is dominated by last year's winner Tiger Roll, who is aiming to become the first dual winner of the world's greatest steeplechase since the legendary Red Rum in the 1970s.


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