Aintree: Might Bite heads Nicky Henderson treble at Grand National meeting
|Randox Health Grand National|
|Venue: Aintree Meeting: 12-14 April Grand National: 17:15 BST Saturday|
|Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live, sports extra and the BBC Sport website More details|
Might Bite jumped superbly to win the Betway Bowl as trainer Nicky Henderson celebrated a treble on the opening day of Aintree's Grand National meeting.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up beat Bristol De Mai, while stablemates We Have A Dream and L'Ami Serge also won.
Former soldier Guy Disney made history by becoming the first amputee jockey to ride over the National fences.
Disney was the last of 12 finishers on Gallery Exhibition as Balnaslow won the Foxhunters' Chase.
'As good a round of jumping as you'll see'
Might Bite, the 4-5 favourite, showed no ill effects from the epic duel when he finished second to Native River in last month's Gold Cup.
The nine-year-old, ridden by Nico de Boinville, only had one real challenger in grey Bristol De Mai, with Definitly Red an early faller.
Might Bite made a mistake at the fourth last but soon recovered and was foot-perfect otherwise.
"He's a magnificent animal and a joy to ride. He jumped with real panache and gusto," said De Boinville.
Henderson said: "That was as good a round of jumping as you'll ever see. He was just on it the whole way - he was doing crazy things."
Henderson indicated the winner might contest the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November before looking to defend his King George VI Chase title at Kempton.
L'Ami Serge (6-1) has finished second 11 times in his career, but made no mistake this time in the Aintree Hurdle.
He surged late under jockey Daryl Jacob to pass Supasundae.
It was a double for Jacob, and owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, after We Have A Dream (2-1) was an easy winner of the four-year-old juvenile hurdle.
Earlier, 5-2 chance Finian's Oscar, trained by Colin Tizzard, won at the National meeting for the second successive year with a late flourish to take the Big Buck's Celebration Manifesto Novices' Chase.
Cornelius Lysaght, BBC horse racing correspondent
Might Bite was magnificent on ground that wasn't ideal. One fluff didn't stop for a second the inevitability up the home straight that he would gather in Bristol De Mai.
It's fair to say that at the moment, especially with Sprinter Sacre retired and Cue Card soon to go, jump racing is a tiny bit short of the kind of equine star that takes the sport out of the racing village and behind.
But Might Bite, with his great name and outstanding talent, could easily be the one.
Disney completes course as Balnaslow wins
The 2017 runner-up Balnaslow, ridden by Derek O'Connor for trainer Graham McKeever, went one better in the Foxhunters' Chase.
Balnaslow (11-2) challenged at the second last, before pulling two and a half lengths clear of Bear's Affair.
Disney, who lost part of a leg in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Afghanistan in 2009, said after the race: "It's very special.
"Riding with Jamie Codd, just in front of you, and Derek O'Connor and Nina Carberry alongside, popping away - it's amazing."
Lilbitluso, a 10-year-old trained by John O'Shea, was put down after falling at the Canal Turn.
Ladies' Day on Friday
Day two of the National meeting is Ladies' Day, with a crowd of about 45,000 expected at the Merseyside course for what is always a colourful occasion.
On the track, Irish challengers Balko Des Flos and Min feature in the Melling Chase.
Balko Des Flos, trained by Henry de Bromhead, provided owner Michael O'Leary with a first victory in the Ryanair Chase - which his airline sponsors - at last month's Cheltenham Festival.
Min was second for Willie Mullins in the Queen Mother Champion Chase behind winner Altior.
Amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen will look to extend his winning record over the National fences in the Topham Chase.
Waley-Cohen, who has won six races over the famous obstacles, rides Theatre Territory for trainer Warren Greatrex.
Live coverage (All times BST)
14:00-15:50: 5 live Racing on sports extra, with commentary of the main races also on BBC Radio 5 live.
13:45: Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f
14:20: Betway Top Novices' Hurdle 2m ½f
14:50: Betway Mildmay Novices' Steeple Chase 3m 1f
15:25: JLT Melling Steeple Chase 2m 4f
16:05: Randox Health Topham Steeple Chase 2m 5f
16:40: Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle 3m ½f
17:15: Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open NH Flat 2m 1f