Racing: Walsh steals National stage from father Ted

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The Independent Online

Walsh is the name at the top of the racing pages this morning following yesterday's Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. Ruby, the leading Irish jockey, deserves the tributes for a rousting ride and, anyway, he sits a lot easier in headlines than his equally redoubtable mount, Numbersixvalverde.

It was a result which kept another Walsh out of the winners' enclosure. Father Ted appeared to have the prize in his keeping when the trainer's Jack High forged to the lead over the last, but just failed to last home. Either he or rider Garrett Cotter got tired. Maybe both.

Numbersixvalverde was a first runner in the Fairyhouse showpiece for the trainer Martin Brassil. "I'm just trying to take it all in," he said. "He's done us proud. The race worked out well. He was lucky he wasn't interfered with by a faller early on. He made a mistake at the fourth-last, otherwise he might have got there a bit easier."

It was, as usual, an eventful Irish National, with 26 horses careering around Co Meath for 3m5f. The horse which made the running and the race was Paul Nolan's Kymandjen, who, at one late stage, seemed about to pull off the somewhat improbable feat of leading all the way.

However, John Cullen's mount was sucked in by the pack two fences from home. Then, at the last, the rallying Numbersixvalverde was back on the scene to carry off a 9-1 success from Jack High, last year's runner-up Marcus Du Berlais, and Howaya Pet.

Further details emerged yesterday of another cavalry charge, one which will be conducted at Doncaster on Saturday. Mine heads a list for the Lincoln Handicap which still includes 68 horses at the latest confirmation stage.

Last season's Royal Hunt Cup winner has top weight of 9st 10lb in the race over the straight mile for which only 22 are allowed to run. For those horses which miss the cut at Thursday's 48-hour final stage, there is the consolation of going for the Spring Mile on Friday's card.

All the leading fancies for the Lincoln stood their ground, including market leaders New Seeker from the Clive Cox stable, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Stream Of Gold and Michael Jarvis's Divine Gift. Stoute has, however, taken out the Queen's five-year-old Desert Star.

A rather more talented horse seems likely to be the mount of Mick Kinane this season as he goes about the business of winning Classics. Michael Bell has been in search of a new partner for the Racing Post Trophy winner Motivator ever since Kieren Fallon decamped to ride for John Magnier and partners. Now it seems a previous incumbent as Ballydoyle stable rider might be the man.

"Michael has spoken to Mick and he wants to ride the horse," Harry Herbert, spokesman for owners the Royal Ascot Racing Club, said yesterday. "I am sure that, like all top jockeys, he will want to see what is round, but he is extremely keen. He will ride him in a piece of work in a couple of weeks' time. Hopefully, once he has sat on him and seen what he can do, he will confirm that he wants to ride him.

"He is a horse that has done particularly well from two to three years old. Somehow the better horses look better in their coats and he looks like he is ready to run tomorrow."

Richard Edmondson

Nap: Box Builder

(Pontefract 4.10)

NB: Riley Boys

(Pontefract 3.35)

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