Lance Whitehouse landed the winter premier grand prix at Aintree Equestrian Centre in a hot, hard-fought jump-off. He guided Giorgia Distefano’s Cartano/Topas nine-year-old Cartino III into the top spot with tight turns at a confident pace to secure the £1,500 first prize.
The grey gelding has only just moved up to this level and relished the bigger fences to land the win.
Nigel Coupe slotted the 12-year-old Jubilee III into second, just ahead of Scotland’s James Smith, who is quickly establishing a partnership with new ride Bolton Gate Ben. Eight from 47 starters provided double clears, with Chelsea Skelton claiming fourth on Millfield Baloney and Emily Ward taking fifth aboard Doobally. Liam Fitzgerald pushed Cowboy into sixth and Nick Benterman and Canyon Volo took seventh just ahead of Nigel on second ride Golvers Hill.
Max Routledge doubled up with B and C and Foxhunter wins. He headed the Blue Chip Dynamic B and C qualifier on Sieco, a Cachas seven-year-old gelding he has ridden since April, with the sole double clear of the class. Georgia Lovett on the 11-year-old Westend Gunner claimed second with Julie Andrews aboard Shankly in third and Charlott Flack aboard Ashdale Illusion in fourth.
Max’s second win came in the Foxhunter on Firkov Du Rouet, a six-year-old Baloubet Du Rouet/Voltaire stallion. Yazmin Davis eased Zanbowa Z into second with Gemma Ellison on Cynthia Flint in third. Jonathan Dixon took fourth on Karlo Van QC, Louie Cunningham claimed fifth with Gerdi II Van Den Oldenhof and Charlene Bastone finished sixth aboard Renkum J’Adore. Chris Smith and Warriors Glory took seventh.
Angel Tough topped the DDS Demolition winter 1.25m with Callumbus, a Cassini II/Royal Feu nne-year-old. The pair now have two Blue Chip finals to contend after qualifying in the Dynamic B and C at Northcote Stud last month.
James Smith took second and eighth to claim two qualifying spots on the Quidam’s Rubin 12-year-old Quattro 27 and the Berlin/Casco seven-year-old Just Max respectively. All eight qualifying places were filled by double clears. Jamie Wingrove and the Wells family’s home-bred Cicero daughter Heartstring claimed third with Sarah Holmes on Sir Cassiano in fourth. Gemma Ellison stood fifth on Elrond, Lance Whitehouse brought Bazento into sixth and Kate Houghton took seventh with Queensland 21.
Charlene Bastone netted the 1.20m top spot on the Colman/Numero Uno 10-year-old Baron SW, beating Paige Gillott and the Ricardo Z nine-year-old Ricky Ricardo into second. Polly Gredley took third with Unex Clintan MB and James Smith eased Sparco into fourth.
Emerson Sender headed the 1.10m on the nine-year-old Contendro with Joanne Dixon in second on Daydream. Heather Denholm took third with Bowes Warrington, Jeanette Powell on Wippert took fourth and Sophie Hillier finished fifth on Foxgrove Helena Lou.
Pippa Allen scored a win in the first class of the day, taking the newcomers on the six-year-old Cassino daughter Cassino Breeze. Susan Deasy and the Hermes De Reve/Flagmount Diamond seven-year-old mare Reve D took second with Joe Davison in third on Vilenco. Jenna Cairns was fourth on Wonderful III, Abi Walters took fifth with Miretta Mena and Dean Wilson on Dino VI finished sixth.
Photos © Majestic Photography & Jumping Around