• Racing/
  • Bally Battles To Bumper Glory

Weatherbys Private Banking Champion Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m 1f

  • (4-6yo, 2m 1f, Class 1, 19 runners)
  • Winner £17,085 2nd £6,411 3rd £3,210 4th £1,599 5th £804 6th £402
  • Going: Good to Soft
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 12.66s
  • Off time: 17:46:34
  • Last Updated: April 5 2014, 19:20 BST

Ballybolley got the better of Relic Rock in a pulsating finish to the Weatherbys Private Banking Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, the final race of Aintree's three-day Crabbie's Grand National meeting.

Ballybolley, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies (left), claims bumper success at Aintree
Ballybolley, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies (left), claims bumper success at Aintree

Nigel Twiston-Davies' point-to-point recruit came into the race with a perfect record after two starts in bumpers at a lower level and he took the step up to Grade Two company in his stride.

Ridden by the trainer's son, Sam Twiston-Davies, the 14/1 shot was keen enough in the early stages towards the back of the field but settled into a nice rhythm at the halfway stage.

Tony McCoy grabbed the bull by the horns on turning into the straight, sending the strong-travelling Relic Rock clear of his rivals.

He looked to have the contest well in command entering the final furlong but Ballybolley emerged to lay down a strong challenge.

The pair locked horns in a tremendous battle on the run to the line and it was Ballybolley who came out on top, winning by a head.

Aqalim filled the placings in third, with Ordo Ab Chao fourth home.

Twiston-Davies, who has won this race in the past with the likes of The New One, said: "Let's hope he's as good as The New One.

"He had to knuckle down and I think it was a good race.

"That will do for him now and it's all go for next season, novice hurdling.

"He's an exciting horse. He'd run in point-to-points before we had him, so he had experience. He's a nice horse."

The winning jockey was thrilled to have got the better of McCoy in a tight finishing, saying: "That was great. He was very tough. He was hanging in a bit up the straight but I always thought I was going to pick up A P [McCoy, on the runner-up].

"I was just trying to keep him on the straight and narrow for one crack at it and when he knuckled down in the final furlong he was really game."