Duke Lords it at Aintree rest of Aintree Grand National day round up
Last Updated: 11/04/15 6:28pm
A round-up from the rest of Aintree on Grand National Day as Duke Of Lucca won the Betfred Handicap Chase again.
Duke Of Lucca put in a game performance to get the better of a three-way battle and repeat his victory of 12 months ago in the Betfred Handicap Chase at Aintree.
Although entering the Listed contest with some less than inspiring form figures to his name, the 9-2 chance had enough in reserve to win the race once again from a 3lb-higher mark.
Mart Lane, Your Busy and Vino Griego all vied for the lead early on before the latter established himself as the clear leader as the field headed out of the back straight for the first time.
The lead was still in the hands of the Gary Moore-trained runner, who was being ridden by Tom Cannon deputising for the injured Joshua Moore, until the third-last where he was joined by Your Busy and Duke Of Lucca.
Travelling much the stronger, last year's winner moved into the lead under Richard Johnson over the second-last before opening up a slender gap over his nearest pursuers.
At the last it looked as though Duke Of Lucca was set to be swallowed up as in a pincer-like movement both Wonderful Charm and Your Busy attacked the eventual winner.
Despite both horses charging at all angles they failed to find a way past, with Duke Of Lucca gamely hanging on to score by a neck from Your Busy and Wonderful Charm finishing a further neck away in third.
Sean Bowen secured his first winner at the track when teaming up with his dad Peter to steer Hollies Pearl (8-1) to victory in the Pinsent Masons Mares' Standard National Hunt Flat contest.
Sweeping to the lead just over a furlong out, the five-year-old completed a hat-trick of wins after holding off the advances of Chocca Wocca in the Listed contest by a length and three-quarters.
The winning jockey said: "Down the back I thought I was getting outpaced a bit and I thought the race was over as they were going too quick for her.
"To be fair she is a very good mare to do that. She just keeps going, but we went such a gallop and her stamina was proven. She battles very hard, but to be honest when I got to the front she wasn't doing a tap.
"She will probably improve from that again and will be a right hurdler."
Astre De La Cour survived a serious mistake at the final flight before going on to score in tenacious fashion in the One Stop Energy Handicap Hurdle.
Having raced prominently throughout the extended two-mile contest, the five-year-old, together with Fethard Player, moved ahead of early leader Little King Robin over the third-last.
After jumping the penultimate hurdle together, the Robert Walford-trained runner looked to have thrown away his chances of victory when flattening the last.
Responding to strong driving from David Mullins, the 10-1 shot rallied to repel Fethard Player by a head.