Racing: Rivalry renewed

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The Independent Online
BALASANI, forever in pursuit of bookmakers' sponsorship cash, has been promoted to 8-1 joint- favourite with Ladbrokes for next weekend's Tote Gold Trophy.

Martin Pipe's hurdler was having his first race for more than a year when 10-lengths fourth to Trainglot in the Tote Jackpot Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. The seven-year-old shares market leadership for the same firm's race at Newbury with an old adversary, Native Mission, from the Trainglot stable of Jimmy FitzGerald.

Last season, Balasani won first time out, taking the William Hill Hurdle at Sandown. Two lengths back in second place was Native Mission, who was conceding 4lb.

Balasani was a bitter disappointment on his next run when hot favourite for the Ladbroke Hurdle at Leopardstown, trailing in 17th of the 20 runners. Native Mission was vastly superior that day, finally gaining fourth place in receipt of 1lb. Next Saturday, Balasani must carry 1lb more than his FitzGerald-trained rival.

Fiddlers Pike, ridden to victory at Chepstow on Saturday by his 50-year-old owner-trainer Rosemary Henderson, will not run in the Grand National. 'I have no ambitions to ride him there and I don't want anybody else to ride him in the race,' she said.

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