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Gerri Colombe outbattles Ahoy Senor in Bowl thriller

Gerri Colombe battled to victory to take the William Hill Bowl Chase at Aintree.

Gordon Elliott’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up was sent off the 9-4 favourite and travelled competitively throughout under Jack Kennedy.

He was ridden rounding the home turn but as stamina came to the fore up the run in, he locked horns with Ahoy Senor.

While Lucinda Russell’s charge did his best to fight back up the inside, Gerri Colombe was just too strong and came home half a length in front.

Corbetts Cross finished a further two and a quarter lengths back in third.

Elliott hailed Gerri Colombe’s winning spirit, with another Gold Cup challenge already on his mind.

He said: “He was very tough, Jack said it wasn’t happening the whole way and he felt a bit flat the whole way, but it shows the guts the horse has that he still won.

“Jack said he probably ended up in front too soon in the end, but he’s a great horse who only does what he has to do and we’re lucky to have him.

“Believe it or not, I actually think he could be a bit better on better ground.

“All roads lead back to the Gold Cup next year, we’ll probably go the same route again and keep dreaming.”

Russell could not have been happier despite Ahoy Senor having to settle for the runner-up spot for a second successive year, having chased home Shishkin last term.

The nine-year-old has struggled for form this season but having returned to something like his best, Russell could now look to the final day of the season at Sandown.

She said: “It feels like he’s won, his jumping was phenomenal, he travelled really well – he’s just back. I’m not sure what it is about this place, it’s maybe the time of year, but he loves it round here. I think the flat track suits him.

“We’ll maybe look at Sandown now for the Oaksey Chase.

“I wasn’t watching the race closely as I was just shouting like mad but the other horse is a phenomenal horse and the Gold Cup form has stood up.

“It’s just nice to see he has come of age, he can jump and travel whereas before he was running a bit like a freak and making the odd mistake.”

Russell fields Randox Grand National favourite Corach Rambler and added: “It doesn’t calm the nerves for Saturday, though, how am I going to be able to watch that if I could barely watch this!”

Shishkin was sent off a 5-2 chance to defend his title, having had to sidestep Cheltenham as Nicky Henderson’s yard was under a cloud at the time.

However, while stablemate Sir Gino had got on the Grade One board earlier in the afternoon, Shishkin could not follow suit as he dropped back up the straight, eventually being beaten nearly nine lengths in fourth.

Henderson said: “On this sort of track he just lacks a gear. He was always trying to get out, but couldn’t when he wanted to.

“Surely we will go to Ireland where the track will suit him better and he’s better going right handed.

“He’s had three runs this season and that was his first since Newbury. He needs to sing for his supper.”

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