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Balnaslow lands Aintree Foxhunters for McKeever team

Balnaslow lands Aintree Foxhunters for McKeever team

The Graham McKeever-trained Balnaslow took the 2018 Randox Health Foxhunters' Open Hunters' Chase on the opening day of the Aintree Festival and in doing so provided his rider, Derek O’Connor with his first success in the race.

Runner-up in this race 12 months ago, the son of Presenting stayed-on well at Cheltenham to finish seventh and appeared to relish the soft ground conditions at the Liverpool track.

The 11-year-old, who carries the colours of the late Peggy Hagan who’s family were on hand to welcome back there winner, was ridden in mid-division for much of the race under O’Connor before making good progress from the third last fence where he rallied well to take the lead after the final fence and returned home the two and a half-length winner over Bear’s Affair.

Balnaslow began his career with his winning handlers father Colin and won at Lemonfield in 2011 before going on to join the Willie Mullins yard where he enjoyed four track success.

The popular horse has been a tremendous servant to his connections having been bought for the late Mrs. Peggy Hagan at the Goffs UK sale in September 2016 for £9,500.

The next closet Irish finisher was the former dual winner of the race On The Fringe for the Enda Bolger yard who took the fifth placed spot under Nina Carberry.

The David Christie-trained Eddies Miracle exited the race on the run to Beechers when in mid-division under Barry O’Neill.

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