ROBINSFIRTH swooped in the dying strides to win the Grade 3 William Hill Grand National Trial at Haydock.
Sean Bowen delivered the Colin Tizzard-trained winner with a perfectly-timed challenge to deny Ramses De Teillee and Chef D’Oeuvre in a thrilling finish to the extended three-and-half-mile heat.
Bowen had been content to bide his time through the early stages as Bishops Road built up an early lead – but when the race began in earnest, it looked as though the grey Ramses De Teillee was going to take the honours.
He was in front jumping the last. But Robinsfirth and eventual third Chef D’Oeuvre were motoring in behind, with Bowen switching the winner to challenge in the middle and go on to win by three-quarters of a length, and a further length and a quarter back to the third.
Robinsfirth is not entered in the Grand National, but could now head to next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
Assistant trainer Joe Tizzard said: “He’s always had bags of ability, but he’s very fragile. That’s like his Gold Cup.
“Sean gave him a super ride. He got mugged here last time, but he timed it right today.
“His owners have had to be patient, but they’ve been rewarded today. They weren’t interested in Aintree, though.
“Were he to run in the Scottish National he’d need it to rain, but it’s almost four weeks to Cheltenham, he could run in the Ultima. Today has been his aim all season, though, so it’s brilliant.
“(Stablemate) Royal Vacation probably travelled better than anything but just flattened out (in fourth), I’d imagine it will be Aintree for him.”
David Pipe, trainer of Ramses De Teillee, is unsure if the Grand National will be the target for his charge this term.
He said: “He’s run another career-best, handled the better ground but just got beat. Whether he goes to Aintree this year or next year, we’ll just have to see.”