1.30 Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle 2m 5f
Davy Russell set out to make plenty use of Windsor Park, confident that he would stay well and enjoy the decent ground. Beast Of Burden and Warrantor took the lead off him at various times through over-exuberance, while Nichols Canyon also did more than ideal.
Ruby Walsh did a fine job settling him but he didn't help himself. He never stopped in finishing third but didn't quicken off the bridle. Parlour Games emerged from the rear to be second. It was a commendable turn but the winner had flown, so he may have been better off being a bit handier.
Vyta Du Roc was bang there all the way. A howler at the last ruined his chance, but he recovered to be fourth. Snow Falcon ran well to be fifth from the middle, while Outlander found less than looked likely en route to finishing sixth.
2.05 Grade One RSA Chase 3m 1f
A thoroughly accomplished display from Don Poli and Bryan Cooper. Settled just off the two leaders early, Cooper was beginning to niggle coming to the big ditch at the top of the hill four-out.
He asked for a big jump there and Don Poli's response was emphatic. He winged it and landed in front upsides Kings Palace, which blundered. From there home, he was always doing enough. He idled on the run to two-out but pricked his ears and went away again. It was a comprehensive six-length victory.
Kings Palace had swapped the early lead with The Young Master. It must have been a pretty strong pace because both tired to fill the last two places. Don Poli and Southfield Theatre sat in behind.
The winner got first run on Southfield Theatre with that leap four-out but it mattered little.
Southfield Theatre hit the fourth-last but kept on honestly for second, with Wounded Warrior and Adriana Des Mottes threatening on the home turn but then proving one-paced in third and fourth. If In Doubt didn't jump or travel in the rear, yet still finished fifth.
2.40 Grade Three Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle) 2m 5f
Aux Petit Soins clung on in a desperate four-way dash to the line. Placed handily, he was produced brilliantly by Sam Twiston-Davies to lead the long-time leader Zaban over the final flight, and just had enough to repel the runner-up's persistent challenge.
It was a fine training performance by Paul Nicholls on the horse's first English start and following a 181-day lay-off. Zabana really was brave in defeat, though he lugged left a little up the hill. He was beaten a neck and it probably had no material effect on the outcome.
Activial cut every corner under Noel Fehily, just behind the leaders. He always seems to lack a gear, but he plugged on to be another neck behind in third, with Taglietelle coming through from the rear to run a blinder in fourth.
Dell' Arca fell at the last with a circuit to go, bringing down Ttebob and hampering others, including Marinero, which could never get into it after.
3.20 Grade One Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase 2m
Special Tiara set a furious pace but Noel Fehily filled his lungs down the back when he had got the gas out of his system. That reaped a fine dividend, as Special Tiara lost nothing in defeat, keeping on gamely to be beaten three lengths in third. As an Aintree Grade One winner, it was mildly surprising to hear that connections are aiming for Sandown or Punchestown next.
Many of these jumped sloppily for championship horses. Dodging Bullets, in contrast, was very efficient. He rubbed the second-last but he won this with a bit of authority, having raced prominently. He was the form horse and his rider did everything right again.
In the overall scheme of things, the proximity of Somersby in second and Special Tiara does little to counter the theory that it wasn't a vintage edition. On the other hand, Somersby was making the frame for a third year in a row, having also been second to Sizing Europe in an Arkle. This, though, was as close as he has ever gone, which says something.
Sire De Grugy made mistakes but kept going to be seven lengths back in fourth. Sprinter Sacre also jumped poorly for him, and he folded tamely again before being quickly pulled up after the second-last. He stops like a horse that is bursting and looks a spent force. Sizing Europe's glittering career might also be nearing an end after a subdued turn.
4.00 Glenfarclas Cross-country Handicap Chase 3m 7f
Quantitativeeasing kept jumping into the race early on. Nina Carberry was anxious to be patient but he was just loving this. He got carried out by Toutancarmont, which inexplicably dived across the second-last.
It was a horrible conclusion for Quantitativeeasing, as he looked poised to go close. On his exit, Any Currency and Rivage D'Or took over. Davy Russell took a lead for as long as he could on Rivage D'Or, which found plenty when he asked him to go on at the last.
Uncle Junior plugged on from a seemingly forlorn position to be a gallant third, while Dogora was another that looked to relish the experience in Katie Walsh's hands.
He didn't find as much as he might have in fourth but he has a future at this job. Charingworth was the only other casualty, unseating at the 21st.
4.40 Grade Three Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle 2m 1f
Golden Doyen fell four-out when bang in contention. He might well have played a hand in what was a cracking spectacle, but Qualando found plenty to put the race to bed with a fine leap at the last.
His stablemate Bouvreuil gave him most to do, but he just couldn't get by him, eventually denied by a length-and-a-half. The Saint James was slightly further back in third. He looked as though he might be a real threat turning in, but Paul Carberry's poise was characteristically deceiving. Starchitecht led down the hill but couldn't quicken up it, just holding All Yours by a neck in fourth.
5.15 Grade One Weatherbys Champion Bumper 2m 1f
A remarkable performance from Moon Racer, as he was one of many to be caught cold by the standing start, following an initial false start. Tom Scudamore kept his head, and brought him patiently through to win in the manner of a pretty serious animal.
Bordini had a lovely position on the rail but struggled when the pace increased.
Modus also came from the rear to run into second, while the third Wait For Me got a nice ride down the inner, just alongside Bellshill in mid division early on. Ruby Walsh didn't get a run when he needed it turning in on Bellshill but that may have been because the horse didn't have the gears to help himself.
Vigil raced handily and held his place creditably to be fifth for the second year in a row, four lengths behind Yanworth. Jetstream Jack got into a prominent position coming down the hill but didn't find anything off the bridle. Just denied by Vigil was Supasundae, which cut out much of the running.