Clan Des Obeaux blew his rivals away in the Betway Bowl this afternoon, as the nine-year-old thundered clear to win by 26 lengths on the opening day of the Grand National Festival.
The dual King George winner was left in the lead at the 12th fence when Mister Fisher unseated his rider.
Paul Nicholls’ talent pushed two lengths clear from the approaching Clondaw Castle at two out, before being shaken up by Harry Cobden.
The gelding gamely responded, running clear of the challengers to win by a large margin.
Clan Des Obeaux confirmed a hat-trick of wins for co-owner Sir Alex Ferguson, with the first of the treble coming from the Manifesto Novices’ Chase.
But it was expected that Hitman would deliver success for the owners here, but it came from the unlikely source of Protektorat, who silenced doubters with a stunning victory for the Skeltons.
The six-year-old jumped into the lead at the last fence, keeping on well to see off his rivals by three and three-quarter lengths.
Monmiral claimed the second success, winning the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle convincingly.
He took advantage of Adagio blundering over the final obstacles, running clear in the final stages to win by seven lengths.
Abacadabras bounced back from his fall at Cheltenham in the best way possible, producing a strong performance to win the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle.
The task was made incredibly difficult with the riderless Jason The Militant running freely at the front and eventually hampered the chances of the returning Buveur D’Air.
However, Abacadabras travelled well late on and held off the late surge from Buzz on the home straight to win by a length and a quarter.
The Foxhunters’ Chase held the surprise result of the day with 66/1 shot Cousin Pascal getting the better of Latenightpass in the closing stages to claim success for J J O’Shea.
Gary Moore’s Editeur Du Gite made a gutsy front-running performance to make all in the Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase, while Me Too Please and Rachael Blackmore landed the Grade 2 Mares’ Bumper for Arthur Moore.