- Horse Racing
Encore denied historic National double
Grand National winner Auroras Encore missed out on a historic National double, being pulled up with four fences left to jump as 12/1 shot Godsmejudge tasted victory for trainer Alan King and Wayne Hutchinson in the feature race at Ayr.
Big Occasion rose to finish second, with Mister Marker finishing third, ahead of Tour Des Champs in fourth.
The field were let go first time in the 4 mile 110 yard race, all of which successfully negotiated the first fence.
Problematic was an early faller at the second, bringing down Bradley and badly hampering others including the Sue Smith-trained Encore.
A steady pace was set over good ground by Daryl Jacob on the Venetia Williams-trained Pentiffic, while Encore, who went off at 14/1, was kept at bay towards the rear of the field by jockey Ryan Mania.
However, blunders at the fifth fence by the 66/1 Aintree winner proved costly as Mania gave a first reminder with two circuits left to travel.
Favourite Rival d'Estruval was pulled up along with Captain America with 11 fences left to jump, as Encore seemingly had recovered from the earlier errors to move into contention with a circuit to go.
The historic double was not to be, however, as Mania soon lost ground with the leading pack and had to pull Encore up with four fences remaining; it clearly proved a race too far.
Godsmejudge led four fences out and kicked on strongly over the last two to stretch to a four-length lead over Big Occasion. Hutchinson's mount had jumped spectacularly all race, which crowned a well-earned victory for the Barbury Castle Stables team.