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Impaire Et Passe pips Bob Olinger and survives inquiry

Impaire Et Passe had to survive a lengthy stewards’ inquiry before being declared the winner of the William Hill Aintree Hurdle.

Willie Mullins’ evens favourite rounded the final bend on the bridle but did not run straight to the line as both Langer Dan and Bob Olinger threw down their challenges in what was a thrilling finish to the Grade One contest.

Impaire Et Passe appeared to cross Langer Dan’s path after the last, while Bob Olinger also seemed to drift inwards on the run to the line, leaving Langer Dan sandwiched between them.

The judge was required to split the trio as they crossed the line, with Impaire Et Passe coming home a nose in front of Bob Olinger, with Langer Dan a further short head back in third.

A stewards’ inquiry was soon called, but Impaire Et Passe was eventually confirmed the victor for jockey Paul Townend, much to Mullins’ delight.

He said: “It was a long wait but I was pretty confident we’d keep it once I’d seen the overhead angle, I thought that gave us a great chance.

“When Paul and Harry (Skelton on Langer Dan) crossed after the last hurdle there was never any interference and I thought it would be hard to change it.

“On balance it was a hard result to change as Paul thought he was idling in front, which is a legitimate excuse. It will be interesting to hear how it went in there.

“This season hasn’t gone to plan so to get him back to win a Grade One and a race of this magnitude is pleasing but one thing I have to say is Rachael (Blackmore on Bob Olinger) probably gave hers the ride of the race, even though she didn’t win.

“He could go to Punchestown or we might think about France.”

Trainer Henry de Bromhead was pleased with Bob Olinger’s run, although he felt his charge had been unfortunate in defeat.

He said: “He’s been brilliant all season and I’m delighted with the way he’s run today, it’s just a shame not to win but there we go.

“I thought we were unlucky to be fair, he got bumped at the second-last, crossed at the last and bumped after the last, but that’s the way the stewards looked at it and we just have to accept that.

“He ran a huge race and it’s brilliant to have him back. I would say it’s unlikely he’ll run at Punchestown, he has an entry so we’ll see, but that was a tough race.”

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