A brilliant race in prospect with the Gold Cup second, third and sixth taking on the Betfred Bowl winner. Sir Des Champs and LONG RUN had a tremendous battle in the Cheltenham classic and though neither could hold Bobs Worth they couldn't have done much better. The former ran the race of his life and hasn't had quite as much experience in the big time as Nicky Henderson's charge, whose attempt to make all was probably thwarted by the extended 3m2f trip. He's just given the vote this time and expect a much better run from Captain Chris, only sixth at Cheltenham but only beaten narrowly by Long Run over this trip in the King George. First Lieutenant certainly deserved his Aintree success after near misses at the highest level on so many occasions. He hasn't been far behind Bobs Worth on a couple of occasions and is no forlorn hope to cause an upset. Neither last year's Ryanair winner Riverside Theatre nor the Down Royal Grade 1 winner Kauto Stone are out of this either, though both would need massive improvement on their latest form.
Captain Chris (IRE) 14-1 (11-10) Jumped right throughout, held up in touch, chased leaders 5 out, outpaced 3 out, soon weakened, 6th of 9, 35l behind Bobs Worth (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m 2f chs G1 (1) sft in Mar.
Chicago Grey (IRE) 11-1 (10-7) Behind, hit 3rd, struggling when mistake 21st, jumped slowly 24th (canal turn), no chance when hampered and pulled up approaching last, in a race won by Auroras Encore (10-3) at Aintree 4m 3f Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (7yo+) (1) gs, 40 ran.
First Lieutenant (IRE) 7-2 (11-7) Held up towards rear, headway 10th to go mid-division, chased leaders before 13th, challenged and a narrow 2nd 2 out, led last 50 yards, gamely, won at Aintree 3m 1f chs G1 (1) gd beating Menorah (11-7) by 3/4l, 8 ran.
Kauto Stone (FR) 8-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, driven and outpaced on outside after 2 out, weakened before last, 7th of 10, 48l behind Reve De Sivola (11-8) at Cheltenham 3m hdl G2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Long Run (FR) 7-2 (11-10) Hit 1st, led, joined 17th, driven after 3 out, ridden and headed before last, no extra in 3rd flat, 3rd of 9, 10l behind Bobs Worth (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m 2f chs G1 (1) sft in Mar.
Quito De La Roque (FR) 7-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders in 3rd, went 2nd from 5th, led 7th, reminders after 5 out, headed before 2 out, ridden and no extra before last, 4th of 8, 9l behind First Lieutenant (11-7) at Aintree 3m 1f chs G1 (1) gd.
Riverside Theatre 7-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders, pushed along after 9th, outpaced and lost place 11th, stayed on flat, closing on 3rd close home, 4th of 8, 13l behind Cue Card (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m 5f chs G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Sir Des Champs (FR) 4-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders, went 2nd at 11th, joined leader 17th, every chance 2 out, outpaced in 3rd when switched right between last 2, soon ridden, rallied to regain 2nd flat, kept on, well held final 75 yards, 2nd of 9, 7l behind Bobs Worth (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m 2f chs G1 (1) sft in Mar.