Goldie enjoys thrilling win over National fences again

SCOTTISH trainer Jim Goldie celebrated back-to-back wins in the Totesuper7 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over the famous Grand National fences at Aintree as his Endless Power made all for a spirited success under 19-year-old James Reveley.

The eight-year-old – who had been originally aimed at the Paddy Power Chase at Cheltenham last weekend before missing the cut – had the field at full stretch jumping the Canal Turn, with an advantage that stretched to nearly 20 lengths.

He only had to jump the final two fences to collect, but his efforts took their toll heading for the Elbow and the 11-1 chance started to tread water.

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Brooklyn Brownie made rapid headway from behind in scenes reminiscent of Red Rum's Grand National win over Crisp in 1973, but unlike that day Endless Power held on for a deserved victory.

Goldie said: "I am just glad it wasn't Red Rum chasing him. The owners wanted to go for the Paddy Power but I had always targeted this race. It was heart-in-the-mouth stuff but he jumped great and never touched a twig.

"We'll look forward to April when the Topham (Chase] would be a possibility."

Black Apalachi jumped well over the Grand National fences to claim Aintree's Becher Handicap Chase for Irish handler Dessie Hughes.

The trainer's countrymen have dominated the National in recent years and Hughes ensured one of its key trials made its way back across the Irish Sea.

Denis O'Regan's mount is rising ten years old but relished the unique opportunity the course presented, having got no further than the second fence in the main event last April.

The gambled-on 15-2 chance quickly asserted himself at the head of affairs and never eyeballed another rival as he winged every obstacle to cross the line a distance clear in the testing conditions. Last year's winner Mr Pointment closed in during the second half of the race but tired over the final two fences.

Ladbrokes gave the winner a 33-1 quote for the John Smith's-sponsored National, while William Hill went 25s and Paddy Power and Blue Square just 16s.

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Meanwhile, Paul Nicholls has vowed to bring Kauto Star back to his best for the Stan James King George VI Chase following his dramatic last-fence exit at Haydock on Saturday.

The 2007 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero failed in his bid to win the Betfair Chase for the third year running when he stumbled on landing and unseated Sam Thomas, with 33-1 shot Snoopy Loopy claiming a shock win.

He will now try to redeem his reputation at Kempton on Boxing Day in a race he has won for the past two years.

The sponsors pushed Kauto Star out to 6-4 for the King George following his defeat on Saturday, but Nicholls dismissed some claims that Kauto Star was past his best. "Absolute bull****. I've never heard such rubbish. We should be enjoying horses like this, not knocking them," he said. "As soon as people realise they can't win every time, that they are not machines, the better."

• The first jumps meeting of Ayr's season takes place today, with 65 runners going to post in the six races. The feature race is the 12,000 Scotbet Handicap Chase, where Peter Monteith saddles the David Johnson-owned First Look.

Today's nap is Crackerjack Lad, making his first start after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but those who remember his Wetherby win in February might fancy a small investment in the Ben Novices' Hurdle.