Rigadin De Beauchene beat stablemate Emperor's Cross to give the red-hot stable of Venetia Williams a one-two in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock.
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Second to Well Refreshed in the race 12 months ago, Rigadin De Beauchene pulled up on his final two starts last season and was having his first run of this campaign, which went some way to explaining his starting price of 16/1.
Emperor's Choice had won the West Wales National in a real slog only two weeks ago so deserved plenty of plaudits for running such a game race, but, in truth, the 10-length winning margin could have been doubled.
Red Rocco deserves a mention as he was still in contention after leading when they turned into the straight and he looked booked for second when he unseated Sam Twiston-Davies at the last.
The well-fancied pair of Merry King and Our Father were ultimately disappointing.
Robbie Dunne is no longer attached to Williams' yard, but retained the ride at the wish of Rigadin De Beauchene's owner after the partnership had struck in Warwick's Classic Chase last season.
Williams said: "This race was one we'd always aimed at with him.
"He had a problem in November time when he was coughing a bit and we had hoped to get him to Warwick for the race he won last year, but we decided to leave off as we were rushing him.
"We've nothing else in mind for him really. Uttoxeter (Midlands National) doesn't really suit him.
"The race for him would be the Scottish National if it came up soft."
Owner Andrew Wiles said: "He's a half-brother to Miko De Beauchene who won this for me in 2008 and with him being second last year this is one of my favourite races.
"I was keen for Robbie to ride him as he gets on very well with him."
Conor Ring was given a 10-day ban (March 1-10) for continuing on an apparently-exhausted horse. Hs mount Wychwoods Brook eventually fell.
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