David Pipe won his fourth successive Betfred Midlands Grand National as 13-2 favourite Goulanes scooped the marathon contest at Uttoxeter on Saturday.
After wins for Minella Four Star, Master Overseer and Big Occasion in the last three years, Pipe probably felt lightning could not strike for a fourth time.
However, Richard Johnson, on board instead of Tom Scudamore who was switched to Kempton at the 11th hour, never looked in any danger.
A decent novice last term, he ran behind Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere in the RSA Chase 12 months ago, he had shown little in two starts this season.
With a tongue tie on for the first time, though, Goulanes stayed on stronger than Alpha Victor for the small yard of Will Kinsey in second, two and a half lengths back. West End Rocker made a bold bid from the front and hung on to third with Summery Justice in fourth.Top weight Harry Topper made an early blunder and was beaten a long way out.
Goulanes is owned by Roger Brookhouse, who saw his colours carried to victory by the Pipe-trained Western Warhorse in the Arkle at Cheltenham and Baltimore Rock in the Imperial Cup at Sandown seven days ago.
Johnson, who had two winners at the Festival himself, said: “He was very good, they went a really hard gallop early on, the ground is drying but it’s tacky and hard work.
“He jumped well bar the third last, Tom Scudamore said to humour him a bit but he jumped the last well. He’s a bit of a character but he’s got ability. When he got to the front he was looking at everything. I’m particularly pleased to win this race, I’ve been trying for a while. I was only four-years-old when my dad won this on a horse trained by by grandfather (Bridge Ash) in 1982.”