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Memorable moments from Ladies Day 2023

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An event like no other, both in terms of the racing and the race-day experience. The pride of a vibrant and iconic city, it’s where people from near and far create an atmosphere which can’t be replicated and experiences that will never be forgotten. Where race lovers meet fun lovers. Big hats meet high heels. Renowned not only for the action on the course but the fashion and entertainment off it. Welcome to Ladies Day at the Randox Grand National. 


Great stars deserve great curtain calls. And that’s what Gerri Colombe got at the scene of his most famous triumphs. The pressure was on Grand National winning jockey Davy Russell after a few difficult results since his shock return from retirement at Cheltenham earlier this year. But back at Aintree, things clicked back into place.

Gerri Colombe justified strong market support as the 4-6 favourite cruised to a seven-and-a-half length success in the Grade One Air Charter Service Mildmay Novices’ Chase - Russell’s biggest win since returning to the saddle. He rode a near perfect waiting race, biding his time before hitting the front at the second-last fence to secure the win. Though Dan Skelton’s Galia Des Liteaux lit up the race by going six lengths clear by the third last, but Gerri Colombe had her move covered and sauntered up to take the lead going well. 




The famous silks of JP McManus were carried to victory in the Grade One Poundland Top Novices’ Hurdle by Inthepocket and Rachael Blackmore. A Grade Two winner at Navan earlier in the season, he was sent off the 3-1 favourite and landed a first win at the top level. 

The Tipperary jockey showed incredible skill to guide Inthepocket to the win after she dropped her stick during the race and had to use the horse's reins in the closing stages, while she also pulled her silks down over her hand to help get a grip of the reins. The six-year-old was close to the pace throughout and moved into the lead halfway coming over the second last flight. He galloped on well to score by a length-and three-quarters from Strong Leader (14-1), who came back to take the runner-up spot. 

The champion jockey said this after the race: “I was happy throughout the race. I was carried into it a bit sooner than I wanted. It is a long way from the back of the last and dropping my stick wasn’t ideal either but we got away with it."


Pic D’Orhy landed a maiden Grade One success in the feature Marsh Chase at Aintree on Friday for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden. 

Twice a winner at Grade Two level earlier in the season, the eight year old was last seen chasing home Thursday’s Aintree Bowl hero Shishkin in the Ascot Chase in February. Nicholls deliberately sidestepped last month's Cheltenham Festival to keep his charge fresh for Aintree and was handsomely rewarded with today’s win. 

The 4-1 shot was challenged by Fakir D’oudaries who was bidding for a record hat-trick in the two-and-a-half-mile contest. And as they approached the last fence Fakir D’oudaries briefly threatened to throw down a serious challenge. But Pic D’Orhy showed no signs of stopping and was ultimately good value for the winning margin of four-and-a-quarter lengths. 

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Apple Away blossomed against the boys at Aintree to provide trainer Lucinda Russell with a second victory in the last three renewals of the Winners Wear Cavani Sefton Novices’ Hurdle. 

Two years ago, Ahoy Senor was a shock 66-1 winner of the three mile Grade One race for the Scottish trainer, but has since proved that was no fluke by establishing himself as a top-class staying chaser. 

Apple Away wasn’t quite as big a price, following recent triumphs in a handicap hurdle at Ayr and a Listed race at Doncaster, though she did face a steep rise in class and was a 16-1 shot to beat the boys.  

Lucinda Russell said this on Apple Away: “She’ll go chasing. She’s a relentless galloper and she takes to jumping fantastic. There’s always something about fillies that gets hold of your heart, and she absolutely has. She had a few pounds to find, but the mares’ allowance is ideal and she has such tenacity and determination, which is ideal for this sort of race."

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