Dineur gobbles up Foxhunters rivals
Dineur showed his appreciation for a return to the Grand National fences after going one better than 12 months ago in the Randox Foxhunters' Chase at Aintree
After finishing second to On The Fringe last year the 11-year-old emphatically turned the tables on that rival when staying on strongly under James King.
Having finished a well-held second on his most recent start at Chepstow, the Mickey Bowen-trained gelding was sent off a 16-1 chance to capture the two-mile-five chase.
Kept handy throughout by King, he joined leader Darwins Fox at the last and forged on into a clear lead at the elbow.
Although 15-year-old Big Fella Thanks tried to match strides with the eventual winner it was left to Balnaslow to chase home Dineur with a length and three-quarters separating them at the line.
Favourite On The Fringe was pulled up before the second-last.
King said: “He was brilliant, it was a bit lairy over the first couple but then we got into a nice rhythm.
“The horse is fine, he just went into the cooling area as he got a bit warm.
“Given what happened last year when I was mindful that he tired a bit after the last I just held on to him a bit longer
“It got rough on the elbow but I think in those situations you are best just to put your head down and keep your line.
“I’m down to a 5lb claim now and just enjoying it, but we’ll review it at the end of the season and see what my boss Neil Mulholland has to say.”
Bowen said: “He’s quite tired and he’s got a bit of a nick, but he’s gone back to his stable and he’s fine.
“He’s an amazing horse. I felt all the way through he was in better form this year as last season he was coming back from a leg injury.
“Hopefully we can try again next year.”
Paul Nicholls hailed Silviniaco Conti as one of the best he has trained after the 11-year-old was retired on finishing unplaced in the Betway Bowl at Aintree.
Having taken up his usual prominent role under Noel Fehily, he began to struggle from the third-last fence before being eased close home.
A seven-time Grade One-winner for the champion trainer, he helped fill the void left by the retirement of modern greats Kauto Star and Denman.
Nicholls said of the horse: “He’s right up with the best I’ve trained.
“He’s won seven Grade Ones, two King Georges, the Betfair Chase twice and the Bowl twice, he came in just after Denman and Kauto (Star) had finished and just at the right time really.
For quite a small horse, an insignificant looking horse, he’s done really well.”