2024 Grand National Recap: Thursday 11th April

2024 Grand National Recap: Thursday 11th April

The Grand National is one of the most iconic days in the Great British sporting calendar. Having first been run back in 1839, the action takes place every year at Aintree and is watched by millions all over the world.

The Grand National has evolved from more than just a mere race and now commands a three day meeting which has become one of the most popular events in the horse racing calendar.

With seven races taking place each day, in total eleven Grade 1 races are up for grabs and the very best of the best are often in attendance. 

In this article we recap the very best of the action from every race on the first day of this year’s Grand National meeting. 

Race 1: Close Brothers Manifesto Novices Chase (Grade 1)

  • Il Était Temps - 3/1
  • Ginny’s Destiny - 4/1
  • Grey Dawning - 11/10

Master trainer Willie Mullins kicked off the 2024 Grand National meeting in style with his horse Il Etait Temps routing the field in the Close Brothers Manifesto Novices Chase.

Third in the Arkle at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival, Il Etait Temps arrived at Cheltenham with form to prove, but showed all of his class to win this Grade 1 contest by eight lengths. 

With three fences to jump, four of the five runners were in a line, but it was Il Etait Temps who quickened best of all. Holding a narrow lead over the second last, he showed a devastating turn of foot to hold a commanding lead at the last fence. 

Safely navigating the final fence, he quickly cleared up the run-in to take victory by eight lengths. It would be a sign of things to come for the Mullins camp.

Race 2: Boodles Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)

  • Sir Gino - 11/10
  • Kargese - 7/4
  • Kalif du Berlais - 9/2

With legendary trainer Nicky Henderson having a miserable Cheltenham Festival due to an illness that swept through his yard, heading into Aintree hopes were high for Sir Gino.

Forced to withdraw from the 2024 Triumph Hurdle, Sir Gino would go on to show why he is considered one of the most exciting young horses in training as he would go onto win the Boodles Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle in convincing style.

Trailing the Triumph runner up, Kargese, by a few lengths two hurdles from home, Kargese seemed to be travelling the better of the two and the race seemed to be in his control. 

However, Sir Gino showed all of his class and drew level as the pair approached the last flight and was able to hold off his rival in the dash to the line.

Showing plenty of heart, he drew clear to win over three lengths and announced himself as a major contender for next year’s Champion Hurdle

Race 3: William Hill Bowl Chase (Grade 1)

  • Gerri Colombe - 9/4
  • Ahoy Senor - 17/2
  • Corbettes Cross - 10/3

With Nicky Henderson on the board, all eyes were on another of his other stable superstars, Shishkin, who was aiming to win the William Hill Bowl for the second year in succession.

Having developed a few quirks, the 2021 Arkle winner was once again disappointing, only able to finish fourth and well behind the leaders.

Gordon Elliott has long had to play second fiddle behind Willie Mullins, but it’s easy to forget that he is a classy trainer in his own right and he got on the board here with Gerri Colombe.

A titan of a horse, he was looking to bounce back from his second place finish in the 2024 Gold Cup and showed all of his class and stamina to hold off Ahoy Senor in a cracker of a finish.

With the two in tandem jumping over the last, it was Gerri Colombe who was able to dig deepest. Edging clear in the final furlong, this was his fifth Grade 1 victory. Still only seven, plenty more could be won before his career comes to an end. 

Race 3: William Hill Bowl Chase (Grade 1)

Race 4: William Hill Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)

  • Impaire Et Passe - Evens
  • Bob Olinger - 9/4
  • Langer Dan - 18/1

This year’s William Hill Hurdle will be remembered as a classic, as Willie Mullins won his second Grade 1 race of the day with Impaire Et Passe. 

With just two hurdles to jump, all eight runners in the race were within a few lengths of each other and the race was truly up for grabs. 

As longtime leader Marie’s Rock challenge faded, favourite Impaire Et Passe, swept to the front but was quickly joined by Bob Olinger and Langer Dan.

Producing the best jump of the three at the last flight, it looked like Impaire Et Passe would cruise to victory but Bob Olinger and Langer Dan simply wouldn’t go away.

With the line closing with every stride, Impaire Et Passe was gamely hanging on. As his two rivals closed the gap, the three horses crossed the line in unison and it was left to the judge to determine the winner.

After a nervous wait, it was Impaire Et Passe who had just done enough with Bob Olinger finishing second and Coral Cup hero Langer Dan finishing back in a narrow third.

Race 5: Randox Foxhunters Chase (Handicap)

  • It’s On The Line - 3/1
  • Benny's King - 8/1
  • Annamix - 5/1

One of the great highlights of the entire Grand National meeting is the Foxhunters Chase. A race exclusively for amateur riders, the action takes place over the famous Grand National fences and is often one of the most exciting races of the three day card.

This year’s race proved no exception, as It’s On The Line justified his favourite tag to take home the spoils.

Well positioned throughout, his jockey Derek O’Connor had It’s On The Line up with the front runners with two fences to jump and had him ideally placed to make a late challenge.

With the last fence having to be omitted due to an injured horse, the charge for home was almost double the length that it usually is. 

Turning into a sprint, It’s On The Line powered past his flagging rivals, Benny's King and Annamix, at the furlong pole and would go on to win by just over three lengths.

Trained by Emmit Mullins, it was Ireland’s fourth win of the day.

Race 5: Randox Foxhunters Chase (Handicap)

Race 6: Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (Class 1)

  • Sans Bruit - 5/1
  • Saint Roi - 9/2
  • Path D’Oroux - 15/2

For years, top British trainer Paul Nicholls has treated the Grand National meeting with an ever increasing respect and at times opts to run his best horses here, rather than the Cheltenham Festival.

Nicholls knows how to ready one for Aintree, and that was on full display as his horse Sans Bruit produced a wonderful performance to win the Red Rum Handicap with ease. 

Sent out in front by Bryony Frost, the pair wouldn’t see another rival for the rest of the contest.

Able to dictate the pace out in front, Sans Bruit jumped all over his rivals and with two fences to run, the race was over. With none of his rivals able to respond he had built up a big enough lead to win by six lengths. 

Race 7: Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race (Class 1)

  • Diva Luna - 13/2
  • Jubilee Alpha - 10/1
  • La Marquise 40/1

As is tradition with the last race of Thursday’s card, the action concluded with a Bumper contest.

A Bumper race takes place on the flat and doesn’t see any fences or hurdles jumped. Often open affairs, races of this nature can throw up surprise winners and that was certainly the case here.

Ben Pauling is one of the fastest emerging British trainers and he showed exactly why, as Diva Luna produced a dominant front running performance.

Having controlled the majority of the race, it looked as if her rivals would swallow her up at the furlong pole, but keeping on for pressure she would hold onto her lead to land her trainer one of the best prizes of his career. 

Diva Luna’s gutsy win brought down the curtain on a fantastic day of racing, but there would be plenty more to enjoy over the next few days. 

Click here to read our recap of Day 2 of the 2024 Grand National meeting.