Aintree 2008 got off to a great start with a superb days racing with some impressive performances and a really close finish to the highlight of the day, the Bowl Chase.
Novice Hurdlers Elusive Dream and Binocular recorded quality victories in their respective races with the latter gaining quotes as low as 7/1 for the 2009 Champion Hurdle after the race. Both look hurdlers to follow.
In the opener Blazing Bailey responded to blinkers for the first time and a strong ride from Robert Thornton to see off Faasel and the decidedly uncomfortable looking World Hurdle Champ, Inglis Drever.
Howard Johnson was quoted after the race as saying that this would be the last time that Inglis Drever would run at Aintree.
The race over the big National fences produced one of the best riding performances I have seen for a long time from an Amateur Rider. The winner of the race, Christy Beamish, made a terrible mistake at Bechers and all but fell when seemingly travelling well. Rider Josh Guerriero made a great recovery but almost as impressive was the fact that he refused to panic and gave his mount plenty of time to work back into the race. He came back to take control two fences from home and stayed on resolutely to see off double Aintree Foxhunters Champion Katarino for a nine length success.
Guerriero is attached to the Philip Hobbs yard and looks a very promising addition to that stables great record with young jockeys.
The race of the day though was the Bowl Chase where the impetus of the race rocked from Our Vic to Kauto Star and finally back again with the Pond House horse putting up the performance of his career to come back on the run in to head the former Gold Cup winner on the line for a ‘nose’ victory.
So, first day plaudits from this viewer go to Josh Guerriero and also to Our Vic. But who will be the heroes of Day Two?