McNamara misses National ride after Wexford fall
Jockey Robbie McNamara will miss the ride on 2014 Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere in today's Aintree Grand National after suffering a nasty fall from Bursledon in the opening race at Wexford yesterday afternoon.
McNamara was due to ride the Jim Culloty trained top weight in today's Aintree feature and it is indeed the second time he has missed out on Lord Windermere, having previously broken his collarbone the morning before the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2013.
Lord Windermere heads a field of 39 runners following yesterday morning's defection of the former Gordon Elliott trained Carlito Brigante.
Having been the last Irish trainer to win the race, Elliott will be hoping that Cause Of Causes can continue the fine run he has had at the Liverpool track over the first two days of the meeting.
Elliott followed up Clarcam's Grade One triumph on Thursday by sending out Don Cossack to romp home in the Melling Chase by 26-lengths under AP McCoy.
An unlucky runner in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham, Don Cossack bounced back to winning ways to claim his fifth graded race of the season and his second Grade One.
"I'm delighted, he's always been the apple of my eye and AP gave him a great ride. It's unfortunate Bryan Cooper got suspended at Cheltenham as he's a big part of the team, but I've got brilliant staff and owners," Elliott said.
"I was delighted when he sent him on down the back straight as we know he stays and we didn't want a sprint, it's great to give AP a Grade One."
Don Cossack was the sole Irish winner on a day that Sam Waley-Cohen became the most successful ever rider over the famous Grand National fences when winning the Topham Chase on Rajdhani Express to give Henderson, who has yet to win a Grand National, a third consecutive win in the race.
Waley-Cohen, who rides Oscar Time in today's Grand National, overtook Tony Dobbin as the leading rider over the National fences when completing a double for Nicky Henderson who had earlier scored with Theinval.
Sam Twiston-Davies and Paul Nicholls teamed up for more Grade One success as Saphir Du Rheu won the Mildmay Novices' Chase in good style.