Grand National 2017: Fox Norton heads Aintree treble for trainer Colin Tizzard

Robbie Power on Fox Norton
Robbie Power will ride Regal Encore in Saturday's Grand National
Randox Health Grand National
Venue: Aintree Date: Saturday, 8 April Race: 17:15 BST
Coverage: Build-up and live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live from 13:00, with text updates and pinstickers' guide on the BBC Sport website and app

Fox Norton's win in the Melling Chase headed a 4,334-1 treble for trainer Colin Tizzard on day two of the Aintree Grand National meeting.

The seven-year-old (4-1), guided by Gold Cup-winning jockey Robbie Power, beat Sub Lieutenant by six lengths.

It came after Power won the Top Novices Hurdle on Pingshou (16-1).

The treble was completed when 50-1 shot Ultragold clinched the Topham Chase under 18-year-old Harry Cobden over the Grand National fences.

Power came into the meeting in superb form after his Cheltenham success on Sizing John.

Fox Norton pulled clear of Sub Lieutenant with two fences to go and looked dominant in his first chase over more than two miles.

"It's fantastic, it's a pleasure to be riding horses like this," said Power. "He ran a cracker in the Champion Chase and was unlucky.

"When I schooled him at Colin's last week, I had no doubt two and a half miles would play to his strengths and he's travelled everywhere, jumped from fence to fence.

"He was never in any danger and running down to the last he met it well.

"He's a very classy horse and he could well be a King George horse, he could be as good over further, he's a very relaxed horse and has a great cruising speed. If we got nice ground that could be the race for him."

Harry Cobden
Harry Cobden is set to be named champion conditional jockey this season

Cobden's win is a huge confidence boost for the teenager who rides the 50-1 chance Just A Par for trainer Paul Nicholls in Saturday's race.

"That was my first spin over the fences. Unbelievable," he said. "That was his first run over them too and he was back off his winning mark - I actually fancied him.

"He was very clever, dancing over ditches. There was a bit of carnage at Canal Turn but he knew what to do."

Might Bite is now about 3-1 joint favourite, alongside Thistlecrack, for the King George VI Chase at Kempton in December after winning the Mildmay Novices' Chase under Nico de Boinville.

The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding just won last month's RSA Chase at Cheltenham after dramatically swerving in the closing stages, but kept a straight line this time as he again held off stablemate Whisper.

Jockey Liam Treadwell will miss Saturday's Grand National after a fall at Aintree on Friday.

Treadwell, who won the National in 2009 on 100-1 shot Mon Mome, will be replaced on Tenor Nivernais by Aidan Coleman.

Daryl Jacob also suffered a fall and he, along with Katie Walsh who was injured on Thursday, will need to be passed fit by the Aintree course doctor on Saturday to decide whether they can take their Grand National rides.

Jacob's intended mount is Ucello Conti for Gordon Elliott and Walsh is scheduled to ride Wonderful Charm for Paul Nicholls.


BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

Two really intriguing horses for the future - when they could easily meet - emerged from this second day of the Grand National Festival as contenders for top honours.

I'm not yet convinced Fox Norton will be quite good enough, but it looks like he could join stablemates like Thistlecrack, Cue Card and Native River on the road to the King George VI Chase after his very comfortable win in the Melling Chase.

In the Mildmay Novices Chase, the sometimes wayward Might Bite was fabulous, jumping with flair and precision, and showing none of the wandering tendencies that nearly saw him grab defeat from the jaws of victory at the Cheltenham Festival.

The King George is also likely to be his target, and of these two I imagine at this stage Might Bite would probably come out on top.

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