Loughran lands Venturi ride
Roger Loughran has come in for the plum spare ride on Vic Venturi in today's Grand National after Paddy Flood suffered a broken collarbone yesterday.
Flood's mount, Schindlers Hunt, fell at the third in the Melling Chase, fracturing his near foreleg and had to be put down.
Vic Venturi's trainer Dessie Hughes said: "We had a couple of options to consider, but we're going with Roger Loughran."
Following one fatality on the first afternoon, there were two others in the Topham Chase -- Arthur Moore's Plaisir D'Estruval and Prudent Honour from the Tom Cooper yard, which both fell at the 13th fence, Valentines Brook.
The race was won by Always Waining which ran away with an incident-packed renewal under Down native Brian Hughes for Peter Bowen.
Howard Johnson's Frankie Figg set a tremendous pace up front in the hands of Wilson Renwick and for a long way the race only concerned the front two.
Always Waining was definitely travelling the better when Frankie Figg unseated Renwick two from home, which meant he came home in splendid isolation.
Willie Mullins' Scotsirish ran a cracker under top weight to come home second, but he was 12 lengths away. Isn't that Lucky and the Mullins-trained Dooneys Gate took the minor honours.
The deaths of the two Irish-trained horses in the Topham completed a miserable day for the raiders, best illustrated by Western Leader's valiant bid for honours behind Wayward Prince in the Grade One John Smith's Sefton Novices' Hurdle.
Western Leader had tried to make all the running, but in the run-in Ian Williams' charge swept past Western Leader and Dougie Costello's mount burst six lengths clear of John 'Shark' Hanlon's inmate.
There was some concern for Wayward Prince after the race, but Costello said: "He had dug deep and is just exhausted; he is fine really."
Unfortunately, the runner-up was reported to have broken down after being led away.
Nicky Henderson's Burton Port has been a model of consistency and he recorded his fifth success from seven starts this season in great style in the Mildmay Novices' Chase.
Having asserted going to the final fence he kept up the gallop in good style for Barry Geraghty to score by three and a quarter lengths from the gallant Dance Island.
He was contributing to a splendid day for his owner Trevor Hemmings who also won the feature race with Albertas Run.
Geraghty added: "He is going the right way, he has kept winning and was second at Cheltenham, which was a great run. It has been great work by Nicky, but great work by the horse as well. He hasn't had overly hard races, but he has been in every cock-fight."
The Hemmings colours were also carried to success in the day's feature when Albertas Run followed up his Cheltenham success by landing the Melling Chase.
Sent off at 8/1, Jonjo O'Neill's nine-year-old was never far off the pace under the champion jockey AP McCoy and took over from Monet's Garden halfway up the home straight.
Champion Chase runner-up Forpadydeplasterer came at him jumping the final fence, but Albertas Run and McCoy were in determined mood and found more to score by three and a quarter lengths.
Monet's Garden ran another game race in third. A disappointed Tom Cooper said of the runner-up: "They went very fast early on, but Davy (Russell) was nice and quiet on him. He came there two-out and has got to within half-a-length of him. There were no excuses and we'll put him away now."
Menorah became another beaten Cheltenhan winner when he was edged out by Henderson's General Miller (7/1) in the opening John Smith's Top Novices' Hurdle.
The latter was sent off the 7/4 favourite to supplement his Supreme Novices' Hurdle success and all appeared to be going well when the Philip Hobbs inmate hit the front halfway up the straight.
But General Miller -- a first-flight casualty at Cheltenham -- was on his tail jumping the final flight and thanks to Geraghty's tenacity, he got the better of the market leader on the run-in to score by a neck.
Meanwhile, O'Neill and McCoy topped up their success with Albertas Run when Ringaroses showed the way home in the John Smith's Handicap Hurdle.