Grand National Festival 2021 day one results: Sir Alex Ferguson enjoys hat-trick of victories at Aintree
Sir Alex Ferguson loves nothing more than winning in Liverpool and was left reflecting on his best day as an owner after enjoying a treble on the opening day of the Randox Grand National Festival.
The 79-year-old, who once famously vowed to "knock Liverpool off their perch", won everything there was to win during 26 years as manager of Manchester United - but does not recall winning 3-0 on Merseyside before.
He did just that at Aintree on Thursday, with Protektorat, Monmiral and Clan Des Obeaux – all of whom he co-owns with Ged Mason and friends – carrying his colours to Grade One success in the first three races of the afternoon.
Ferguson said: "It's been a fantastic day. Winning is the name of the game – and winning on Merseyside, they (locals) will all be happy!"
The Scotsman was doubly represented in the opening SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices' Chase, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Hitman the better fancied of the pair.
However, it was Ferguson's apparent second-string Protektorat (17-2) who struck gold for Dan and Harry Skelton.
Little over half an hour later Monmiral (10-11 favourite) maintained his unbeaten record for the Nicholls team in the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle, before his stablemate Clan Des Obeaux made it a hat-trick in the Betway Bowl.
Runner-up to Kemboy when the race was last staged in 2019, the 5-2 favourite went one better with a 26-length demolition job in the hands of Harry Cobden, who was also aboard Monmiral.
"We fancied Hitman and Monmiral, but we had a fresh approach with Clan with the cheekpieces on," Ferguson added.
"He was fresh and we decided to race him right up in front. I think (Clan) was the best horse in the race."
Ferguson admits success on the racecourse provides him with a different buzz to winning football matches.
He said: "It's a different (thrill). When I was manager, you have control over what is going to happen on the pitch – I have no control here. The trainer does all that, I'm just an owner.
"You do get the same sort of excitement when you win big races like that.
"That's the best day I've had in my time in racing, which is about 20 years or so."
Ferguson's week could get better yet, with Give Me A Copper set to bid for glory in Saturday's Randox Grand National.
He added: "The Grand National is a different race. Give Me A Copper has to be fresh and he is fresh – Paul (Nicholls) has laid him out for this race.
"The favourite (Cloth Cap), his performance last time was fantastic.
"If Give Me A Copper gets into a rhythm he will enjoy himself – and if he takes to the fences, we'll see where he takes us.
"I will definitely be coming on Saturday – I might be riding in it!"
Grand National Festival results - Day one
13:45 - SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices' Chase
2) The Shunter
3) The Hitman
14:20 The Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle Race
14:50 The Betway Bowl Steeple Chase
1) Clan Des Obeaux
2) Clondaw Castle
3) Native River
15:25 The Betway Aintree Hurdle Race
1) Abacadabras2) Buzz3) Millers Bank
16:05 The Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase
1) Cousin Pascal
2) Latenightpass3) Cat Tiger
16:40 The Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase
1) Editeur Du Gite
2) Sully D'Oc Aa
3) Dostal Phil
17:15 Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat
1) Me Too Please
2) Elle Est Belle
3) Miss Lamb