Twiston-Davies enters record books
Nigel Twiston-Davies, successful in the feature Becher Chase, became the first to train winners of all five races run over the National fences when Little Josh (7/2 favourite) landed the Betfred 'Goals Galore' Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree.
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In a war of attrition, Little Josh held Gansey by a length and three-quarters with both principals finishing very tired and only four completing the course.
Twiston-Davies senior said: "It's just incredible. Aintree is what jumping is all about.
"It's like dreamland coming up here with a 14-year-old and a 10-year-old and landing both races over the National fences."
Ryan Mania, the rider of Gansey, was banned for eight days (December 22, 26-31 and January 1) for misusing his whip.
Master Of The Sea (15/8 favourite) was the other winner for the Twiston-Davies' team as he repelled the challenge of Bathwick Brave by a short head in the Betfred 'Bonus King Bingo' Novices' Handicap Hurdle.
The trainer said: "If he had jumped the last, it wouldn't have been so tight.
"He's a great big horse and will make a nice chaser for someone."
Wayward Prince (4/1) had his connections dreaming of a Gold Cup bid when scoring on his second outing for trainer Hilary Parrott in the Betfred Treble Odds On Lucky 15's Chase.
The eight-year-old, who moved to the owner from Ian Williams this term, travelled superbly under Jack Doyle and forged two and a half lengths clear of Across The Bay.
Parrott said: "That was absolutely wonderful. He's got his head in front at last after two years. He didn't like that ground but he jumped like a buck.
"That's his second run for us and all being well, we will head for the Argento Chase at Cheltenham in January.
"Hopefully it will then be the Gold Cup - we can only dream."
L'Unique (15/8 favourite) looked a serious prospect for top honours in the juvenile division when she routed her rivals on her debut for Alan King in the Betfred The Bonus King Fillies' Juvenile Hurdle.
Robert Thornton sent his mount to the front between the last two flights and the combination powered 12 lengths clear of Cockney Sparrow.
Ladbrokes were impressed by the display and introduced L'Unique into their Triumph Hurdle market at 20/1.
King's assistant Noel Williams said "She was very professional considering it was her second race ever."
"The ground was a bit tacky but she handled it well and Choc (Thornton) said she learned as she went along. It was good to see the first two pull well clear."
Thornton added: "She was neat and tidy at all her hurdles except for reaching for the last down the back."
Buthelezi (4/1), a smart handicapper on the Flat for John Gosden, transferred that ability to the winter code with a stylish all-the-way triumph in the Betfred New "30 Minute Limit" Coupon Maiden Hurdle.
Now in the hands of John Ferguson, the four-year-old was never threatened as he came home seven lengths clear of Oscar Magic.
Ferguson's assistant James Owen said: "He has always enjoyed his hurdling at home and has also been keen, so we decided to let him bowl along."
The Nicky Henderson-trained Bear's Affair (3/1 favourite) made hacks of his rivals in the Betfred Mobile Lotto Handicap Hurdle as he trotted up by 10 lengths under Jerry McGrath.
Owner George Barlow said: "He hadn't run on going as soft before, we took a chance to find out and the answer has been most welcome."
Ferdy Murphy, trainer of the unplaced Hollo Ladies, was fined £580 by the stewards after the clerk of the scales deemed jockey James Reveley to have weighed in 2lb heavy.
Murphy was found guilty of changing the saddle pad after the rider had weighed out, his second such offence within the last 12 months.