Hometown Boy survives last flight scare to win at Aintree

Hometown Boy recovered from a scare at the final flight to give trainer Stuart Edmunds a second winner at the Grand National Festival in 24 hours when landing the EFT Systems Handicap Hurdle at Aintree.

The six-year-old, ridden by Ciaran Gethings, was clear of the pack when he blundered at the last and gave away a few lengths.

However, Gethings soon got Hometown Boy back on an even keel and the 6-1 favourite kept on gamely to lift the prize.

Always prominent throughout in this extended three-mile contest, Hometown Boy had led before the third-last obstacle and was in control until he hit the top of the final flight.

J’Ai Froid was beaten three lengths in second place, with Tea Clipper four and three-quarter lengths away in third and Ashtown Lad a further two lengths back in fourth.

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Edmunds, who had taken the last race on Friday with Rowland Ward, said: “To be fair this was a long-term (plan). We wanted to come here, but wanted a prep run so went to Kempton beforehand.

“It was a bit of a gamble as he was also in over two and a half-miles, but we thought there were one or two more speedier types in there. He galloped through the line, though, and he couldn’t pull him up.

“I couldn’t repeat what I was thinking at the last! If he was a tired horse his legs would have gone to jelly.”

He added: “There’s nothing else for him this season and I think he’ll be a nice novice chaser next season – he’s schooled plenty over fences at home.”

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