AINTREE, England (AP) — Silviniaco Conti and The New One made up for disappointing results at Cheltenham last month by winning big races as the Aintree Festival got off to an incident-free start on Thursday.
After finishing fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when leading at the last fence, Silviniaco Conti (9-4) made no mistake in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree three weeks later, holding off favorite Dynaste to win by 1½ lengths.
"He's unlucky not to win a Gold Cup and he deserved to win this," winning jockey Noel Fehily said. "I didn't sleep a lot that night (after Cheltenham). I was absolutely sick."
Connections of The New One also came away from the Cheltenham Festival bitterly disappointed after their highly rated horse was hampered by a falling horse to dash his chances of winning the Champions Hurdle.
Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies gave The New One a clear ride in the Aintree Hurdle, however, and the 4-9 favorite edged Rock On Ruby and Diakali in a photo finish.
"Everyone seems to judge your season on the way Cheltenham goes. If it doesn't go right, it's hard," Twiston-Davies said."But then there's only one Aintree Hurdle every year, too, it's a brilliant race."
The first trip over the fearsome fences used for the Grand National passed without incident, with Warne romping to a 13-length win in the Fox Hunters' Chase — a race for amateur jockeys only.
Twenty-one horses have died over the Grand National fences since 2001.
The National, widely regarded as the most famous and grueling race in horse racing, takes place on Saturday.