Walk In The Mill saves his best for last as he lands big prize for trainer Robert Walford


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WALK IN THE MILL ran out a comfy winner of a dramatic Becher Chase over the notorious Nationwide fences at Aintree.

Jockey James Greatest punched the air as he crossed the road on the 10-1 shot for the in-form, however little recognized Robert Walford.


Vieux Lion Rouge was again on track to plug on for an admirable second, with Ultragold third and long-time chief Name It Magic again in fourth.

After one other farcical begin – or non-start relying the way you have a look at it – the race bought underway underneath a flag with Highland Lodge an early faller.

Name It Magic and Missed Method went hammer and nails out entrance as one after the other the runners fell away in behind.

Ballyoptic’s dodgy leaping once more value him as he fell on the again straight, with the returning Don Poli additionally struggling earlier than midway.

Irish jock Mark Enright looked to kick on as the horses went round the famous home bend and looked to have stole a march on his rivals.

But, as ever the finish line is a long way down the straight at Aintree and those in behind began to close approaching the last.

Another solid jump over the last wasn’t enough for Enright as eventual winner Walk In The Mill flew past.

The test of stamina was clearly right up the eight-year-old’s street as he stayed on stoutly across the line to win the pot by close to five lengths.

Trainer Robert Walford already has his eyes on the big prize back here in the spring.

He said: “We knew he was in good form. He jumped great, and James gave him a great ride as well.

“We know the plan – there’s only one way to go (Grand National).

“He’d been down to (David ) Pipe’s and schooled and jumped well down there – so we were quite happy with him.

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“My wife rides him every day, and she’s done a brilliant job.

“His feet have been a massive problem – he just struggles with them. But David Bond, one of my owners, has done an amazing job shoeing him.

“He’ll get a run now (in the National) – that’s the main thing – so we probably won’t see him (out again) a huge amount.”

Paddy Power reacted by introducing Robert Walford’s stayer as a 33-1 for the Grand National.

Later on the card Definitly Red proved too good for a small field in the Many Clouds Chase to make it back-to-back wins in the race.

Danny Cook kept it simple and cut out the running with Double Shuffle never a threat in behind.

Brian Ellison’s chaser is set for a short winter break now before the team target the Gold Cup.

Jockey Danny Cook said: “If there’s any horse in training that deserves a Grade 1, I think he’s earned his right to nick one now.”

Ellison confirmed that his stable star will not run in the Cotswold Chase in January and will head straight to the Gold Cup praying for better ground than the 2018 renewal.

Former jockey and racing broadcaster Mick Fitzgerald gives Q+A

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