Milansbar on road to Aintree and Grand National repeat
Last Updated: 15/04/18 3:33pm
Neil King is already looking forward to targeting Milansbar at next year's Grand National after the 11-year-old put up a tremendous performance to be the first British-trained horse home in the Aintree showpiece.
The Wiltshire handler heaped praise on both Milansbar and rider Bryony Frost, whose fifth place is the second best ever achieved by a female rider after Katie Walsh, who was third on Seabass in 2012.
It was only the second time Frost had ridden the horse, after steering him to victory in the Classic Chase at Warwick in January.
"Milansbar is great. He was a touch sore at the racecourse, but he's fine this morning - all good," said King on Sunday.
"We all thought he would run that sort of race and he did. Bryony gave him a smashing ride and he gave Bryony a lovely ride.
"He's always been a wonderful jumper, that's his biggest asset. He loved those fences there and Bryony gave him a lovely, sweet ride.
"We just tried to keep out of trouble and a bit wide. They had a great time.
"If we'd have just kept the Irish at home, we'd have had a lot of fun!"
He added: "It was a lovely day and the owner (Robert Bothway) really enjoyed it. It was a life-long ambition for him to have a runner in the National and the horse did him proud.
"He might have a day out stag hunting with the hounds in Exmoor before he goes on his summer holidays, but otherwise he'll be out to grass.
"After yesterday's great result, we'd love to try again and I think we can safely train him for the race."
Frost reflected with pride on her first attempt at the world's greatest steeplechase, a race her father Jimmy won on Little Polveir in 1989.
"It was a proud moment," she told At The Races.
"There were a lot of people in tears when we brought him back into the unsaddling enclosure and rightly so, because it's a race that allows you to ask so much of your horse and he gives everything for you.
"I'm still jumping every fence with him and I dreamt well last night and apparently he did, too.
"Our worrying moment was the first, when he over-jumped. We went down on our nose for a minute, but luckily his experience pulled him back up. He got into a lovely rhythm, he jumped perfectly and gave me the best spin I could have ever asked for.
"To be the first British-trained horse home for Neil and his team, that's a fair feather in the cap."