Cook was leading the race on Sue and Harvey Smith’s I Just Know when falling at Becher’s, with two other horses coming down in the ensuing melee.
Yet, with rider Charlie Deutsch being treated on the ground by medics after parting company from the unscathed Houblon Des Obeaux, the remaining runners were routed around the obstacle on the final circuit.
However, just as two-time race winner Ruby Walsh did in 2015, Yorkshire-based Cook pointed the field away from the fence so Deutsch could continue to be treated.
Praised on ITV by Walsh for his leadership and responsibility to others, BHA stewards took a dim view.
“After being interviewed, his explanation that he was attempting to help the racecourse staff by guiding the runners and loose horses around the bypassed fence was noted,” said a statement. “He was reminded of his responsibilities to not become involved in these procedures.”
The race saw the Smith-trained Delusionofgrandeur pulled up after a circuit – he never travelled for Henry Brooke – while Seeyouatmidnight ran prominently for Brian Hughes before fading late on. He’ll be aimed at the race next year by trainer Sandy Thomson.
Though just 12 of the 38 runners completed the course after heavy ground became very sticky, Deutsch did walk gingerly back to the weighing room with nothing worse than bruising.
And, for the sixth successive year, there were no equine casualties – Aintree veteran Saint Are, who came to grief at the Chair, was treated overnight by vets before being allowed to return to the stables of Tom George.