jockey Sam Twiston-Davies blamed top weight and heavy ground that had turned to glue for Blaklion’s defeat in the Grand National Trial at Haydock.
The Grand National ante-post favourite, who finished second in this gruelling marathon, was beaten 54 lengths by Venetia Williams’s Yala Enki, the only horse featured not entered in Aintree’s showpiece race.
Just three runners completed the course and Yala Enki’s win completed a week to remember for jockey Charlie Deutsch, who had lost his conditional rider’s claim at Catterick.
Twiston-Davies dismounted Blaklion, trained by his father Nigel, on the track and said: “He just got very tired. Carrying that weight in that ground took its toll and we just took him straight back to the stables.”
Named in honour of owner David Armstrong’s wife, Donna’s Diamond has been nursed back to form and fitness by Billingham-based Bewley after a season-long leg injury.
He was ridden with confidence by Bewley, who served his apprenticeship at Sue and Harvey Smith’s stables. “Unbelievable,” the 23-year-old told The Yorkshire Post after success in the Grade Two Betfred Rendlesham Hurdle.
“This horse means a lot. If you can win races like this on the bigger days, it’s just the job. Big days like this, it’s what you want.”