Joseph O’Brien’s Fakir D’Oudairies finally delivered on the big stage as he produced a sublime performance to win the Marsh Chase at Aintree on Friday.
The six-year-old had finished second in five of his last six races, but he finally got his moment in the sun on Merseyside.
O’Brien’s stable star had finished as runner-up on two occasions at Leopardstown and Cheltenham, while he also hit the post at Naas.
After finishing second in six Grade Ones, Mark Walsh finally guided him home, beating Nuts Well and Itchy Feet to land the spoils.
Friday’s racing started with back-to-back wins for Ireland as Tronador won the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.
Belfast Banter then won the Top Novices’ Hurdle, with Kevin Sexton guiding Peter Fahey’s charge home in front of Do Your Job and Dusart.
Belfast Banter made the step up to Grade One company with ease, and he should be set for a big 2022 campaign after a career-best display.
Trainer Nicky Henderson was celebrating after Chantry House made it three wins in a row as he won the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.
The seven-year-old was stepped up to three miles and battled past Shan Blue and Fiddlerontheroof, but he did benefit from leader Espoir De Romay falling at the second last.
At 16:05, the Randox Topham Handicap Chase went to Livelovelaugh, with Willie Mullins able to celebrate another winner just weeks after a successful trip to the Cheltenham Festival.
Ahoy Senor landed the spoils in the Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at an SP of 66/1, while Stuart Edmunds’ Rowland Ward was guided home by Charlie Hammond to land the Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle in the finale at 17:15 on Friday.
Saturday’s racing looks just as competitive, with the Randox Grand National the highlight of the card at 17:15.