Aintree Grand National Festival News: Millers the Banker in the Manifesto Novices' Chase

Alex Hales' Millers Bank left backers coining it in in the SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices' Chase. Second favourite Erne River fell and Paul Nicholls' Pic D'Orhy blundered too.

Alex Hales' Millers Bank's SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices' Chase win was no robbery as the eight-year-old opened the 2022 Antree Grand National Festival in style.

Nick Kent's 11/4 second favourite Erne River crashed out and Paul Nicholls fancied Pic D'Orhy also made a blunder which left the door open to Millers Bank who ran on to win by a full 10 lengths at odds of 7/1.

The two miles, four furlongs race took place in far better conditions than the Cheltenham Festival and Rachael Blackmore on Henry De Bromhead's Gin On Lime, took up most of the running on Merseyside.

Colin Tizzard's The Widdow Maker ran a hell of a race to push the agenda but it was stablemate War Lord who got closest to Millers Bank in second at 9/2.

The Widdow Maker went off at 28/1 and finished a creditable third, with Gin on Lime in fourth at 5/2.

Erne River never really got going after being held up by Charlie Hammond and had a crashing fall six from home.

Nicholls' luckless run continued with the talented Pic D'Orhy nodding with Hary Cobden aboard and was never able to recover and was pulled up.

The star of the show was undoubtedly Millers Bank however, justifying his strong time form and blowing away the field at a windy Aintree.

Hales said: "That was fun, wasn't it? It's quite emotional, it's wonderful really. It took a long time to get here, it's a massive team effort. Suddenly it gets you a bit, we've worked so hard for so long and to find a horse like this and do it here is wonderful.

"It's massive because this is a hard game. It's hard to compete at this level and to have winners anywhere. For small trainers like us, we're working really hard every day so it's brilliant to come here on the top stage and do it. Sally (wife) and I bred him as well, it's quite an incredible story.

"I'm just delighted for the team, Sally, Kielan and Harry. Kielan and Harry Bannister are two jockeys having fabulous years and I'm just so proud of everyone.

"We owned the mare and chose the stallion, we went to Passing Glance. We just believed in him and it's just fabulous. Last year, when he was third in the Grade One Aintree Hurdle, I knew 80-1 was a silly price. At Huntingdon first time out this year I thought he was brilliant and then, it's not supposed to be easy, this game, and the wheels came off a couple of times.

"We got back on track in the Pendil (at Kempton)."

He went on: "If you'd have asked me a week ago, he'd have definitely won - but with every moment that passed I wasn't so sure! Kielan's very cool, isn't he? He's too cool sometimes for my nerves!

"He looked like he did it fairly well. We'll take it step by step. I know he's won well there (over two and a half miles), but he wouldn't mind going up in trip, either."

Latest news