Grand National 2022 LIVE reaction as Emmet Mullins-trained Noble Yeats inflicts a 50/1 shock – Natural Self Esteem

JP McManus completes 75/1 double while Sire Du Berlais shocks Flooring Porter

Sire Du Berlais completed a 75/1 double on the card for JP McManus when he shocked reigning Stayers Hurdle Champion Flooring Porter in the JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree.

With a 16-1 chance for Gordon Elliott and Mark Walsh, Sire Du Berlais saw off as two-time Cheltenham Festival winner Flooring Porter looked to make it all in Class 1 in the hands of Danny Mullins.

Everything seemed to be going according to plan for the 11-8 favorite as Mullins built an early advantage before giving Flooring Porter a little breather before heading home.

Thyme Hill and Molly Ollys Wishes tried their best to keep up but were unable to continue when Flooring Porter stepped in leaving Sire Du Berlais the only credible challenger at Walsh’s hands.

The pair engaged in a fight at the end and jumped in unison, although Flooring Porter landed somewhat awkwardly and had to be straightened by Mullins, losing some momentum in the process.

Sire Du Berlais eventually capitalized on that advantage and while drifting to the rail while lightly checking Flooring Porter, he finally came home a length and three quarters to the good. Champ stayed in third place, beaten by 20 lengths, with Thomas Darby in fourth place.

JP McManus (Image: PA)

Elliott said: “He’s tough. We thought he would do well for the Pertemps at Cheltenham (11th) but this race just didn’t work out for him.

“It’s great and I think the long straight really helped him as he got into a nice rhythm and jumped great.

“I don’t know what Punchestown is, we’ll enjoy today and see what happens.

“I suppose it’s a bit of a surprise, but that’s the game we’re in. I would say the better ground helped him.”

Flooring Porter coach Gavin Cromwell was on the program in light of next year’s festival and a Stayers’ Hurdle hat-trick.

He said: “I thought he was a bit bloated and fresh going to the start and then back into the race itself.

“He got beaten but that’s racing and he was a length and three-quarters back at the line.

“I hope we can bring him back to Cheltenham for another crack at the Stayers next season.”

Champ finished one place better than at Cheltenham, although he was beaten by Flooring Porter by four lengths on that occasion.

His trainer Nicky Henderson said: “He held up well from a distance. He entered Ireland (Punchestown) but we’ll have to see.”

It came after McManus-owned Gentleman De Mee caused a bit of an upset by winning the Poundland Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree.

It was widely expected that Arkle winner Edwardstone would continue his success at the Cheltenham Festival in this class one competition as he was sent off as a 4-7 favorite to Alan King.

However, he proved no match for the Willie Mullins-trained winner, who drove generously for Mark Walsh as he made a big step up after gaining a big lead at Thurles and in a Navan Grade Three.

At the third time, Lucki looked just for a challenge after Harry Skelton put up a good fight to regain a lost iron, but he fell back down the straight, leaving Edwardstone and Gentleman De Mee to hit it.

There was only one winner, however, as Gentleman De Mee started again last time out and came home four and a half lengths ahead while Dan Skelton’s Third Time Lucki finished a further 11 lengths back in third place.

Mullins said: “I think the Arkle winner, who was at Cheltenham and we weren’t, maybe didn’t have the freshness that we did. I was hoping that our freshness might be the right card and that’s what it looked like.

“Mark gave him a brilliant ride, he got him out, got him jumping and even gave him a breather when he made a mistake fourth from last. Mark felt like he was always in charge.

“He’s only improved over the last six to eight weeks, I think the change in tactics has helped instead of holding him up and being beaten like he was at the start of the season. He matures and grows into himself.

“It looks like there’s more to come. We’ll see about Punchestown, we’ll see how he comes out of it. I think he’s a Champion Chase horse.”

Mullins had the ante-post favorite for the Arkle at Ferny Hollow until injury curtailed his season again.

“He’s good,” Mullins said. “He recently went to the vet and everything is going well. He will be back next season and hopefully get some time on the pitch first.”

King was not dejected by the defeat, although he felt the fact that Edwardstone had his seventh start of the year while Gentleman De Mee had his fifth might have been key.

He said: “All week I was scared of the winner who was just 3lbs behind us and had an easier prep.

“There are no regrets because if you look at Dan’s horse (Third Time Lucki) we’re done with our race.

“I’m thrilled with him and would think the Shloer could be the first target for next season.”

Skelton was similarly pleased with Third Time Lucki, who finished behind Edwardstone for the third time this season.

He said: “It’s a shame he hit the cross stop but he was soon back on the bridle.

“He’s had a great first year over obstacles and seen a lot from the back of Edwardstone. His campaign will remain at two miles when he returns next season.

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