Thursday 29 September 2016

Golden Chieftan falls at the last to gift Midlands National glory to Firebird Flyer

Published 19/03/2016 | 16:54

Golden Chieftain ridden by Brendan Powell falls at the last as Firebird Flyer ridden by Adam Wedge (left) goes on to win The Betfred Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter
Golden Chieftain ridden by Brendan Powell falls at the last as Firebird Flyer ridden by Adam Wedge (left) goes on to win The Betfred Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter

Firebird Flyer was a fortunate winner of the Betfred Midlands Grand National after Golden Chieftain fell at the last with the race at his mercy.

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Just 24 hours after Cue Card's agonising fall in the Gold Cup, trainer Colin Tizzard at least looked set for some decent compensation at Uttoxeter.

Evergreen veteran Golden Chieftain, who also fell last time out with a race in the bag, was around three lengths clear and holding his advantage approaching the final fence.

Brendan Powell saw a stride and asked his mount to rise but he just clipped the top and came down.

Evan Williams' Firebird Flyer, second in the Welsh National, was handed the race on a plate but he still had to fight off Milansbar by two lengths, with Cogry and Spookydooky taking minor honours.

Adam Wedge was on board the 16-1 winner and said: "There'd been a bit of trouble the whole way round but he's a good jumper and he's game.

"They went a good gallop but it's fantastic riding for Evan as you know you can sit and bide your time.

"Patience is good on a horse like this because he just keeps galloping at the end."

Williams said: "We got lucky. I think it's fair to say Colin's horse would have won.

"They've had two falls in the last two days that have cost them an awful lot of money. I really feel for them.

"No one could begrudge our horse the win, though, he's been consistent in these staying chases for a while.

"To be fair, he's come a long way because his jumping could only be described as scratchy at the best of times but I always had faith it would all drop for him in one of these races.

"For obvious reasons the Welsh National was his big aim and when he was second in it I thought that was probably his chance gone

"But we've managed to win one and I'm obviously delighted."

It will be no consolation to Tizzard, but he did have a double earlier in the card.

Justatenner (9-1) won the Betfred "Home of Goals Galore" Novices' Handicap Hurdle for Tom Scudamore, before he was stood down for the rest of the day with suspected shoulder and rib injuries.

Scudamore was replaced by Brendan Powell on Murrayana (11-1) in the Betfred "Treble Odds On Lucky15's" Handicap Hurdle.

Both horses are owned by Sheila Tainton, who said: "I came here not expecting either of them to be placed so for them both to win is the stuff of dreams."

Press Association

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