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Last Updated:  Thursday, 3 April, 2003, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Racewatch: Aintree day one
First Gold stole show on the opening day of the prestigious Grand National meeting at Aintree.

The 14-1 shot, trained by Francois Doumen and ridden by his son Thierry, won the feature race of the day, the Martell Cognac Cup Chase.

A bumper crowd was at the Merseyside track for a top-quality card. Re-live the action from the afternoon's seven races.


1730: St Austell Brewery Novices' Hurdle (2m 4f)

1. Leinster (K A Kelly) 12-1
2. Crystal d'Ainay (R Thornton) 14-1
3. Aine Dubh (C F Swan) 66-1

Leinster gives the Irish their first victory of the meeting by winning a dramatic race for the St Austell Brewery Mersey Novices' Hurdle.

The 11-10 favourite Coolnagorna had been in the lead and travelling well before taking what proved to be a fatal fall at the third-last.

And when Silver Charmer came down at the penultimate hurdle it left Leinster to take the spoils for rider Kieran Kelly and trainer Dessie Hughes.

Crystal D'Ainay (14-1) was second, beaten by seven lengths, with Aine Dubh (66-1) third.


1655: Martell Novices' Handicap Chase (2m 4f)

1. Midland Flame (J Culloty) 14-1
2. Bold Investor (B J Geraghty) 12-1
3. Indalo (B J Crowley) 20-1
4. Montreal (A P McCoy) 7-2 F

Jockey Jim Culloty and trainer Henrietta Knight, the team behind Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Best Mate, gets off the mark at Aintree with Midland Flame.

The 14-1 shot was always in the leading group and held a decisive advantage at the final fence and had enough in the tank to hold Bold Investor (12-1) despite the attentions of the riderless Avalanche.

Indalo (20-1) was third and Montreal, the 7-2 favourite, fourth.

Knight said: "He's a wonderful jumper. He's a bit of a quirky fellow and I was a little worried about the loose horse that he might follow him out."


1620: Ember Inns Novices' Hurdle (2m 110 yds)

1. Le Duc (R Walsh) 33-1
2. Spectroscope (B J Geraghty) 8-1
3. Well Chief (A P McCoy) 2-1 F

The Peter Nicholls-trained Le Duc springs a 33-1 surprise with a narrow victory over Spectroscope.

The first two fought out a tremendous finish on the run to the line with Le Duc leading at the final flight and holding on by a head.

Well Chief, the 2-1 favourite, was two-and-a-half lengths back in third place.

The first two got close together shortly after the last hurdle and it was no surprise that the stewards called an inquiry.


1545: Martell Fox Hunters' Chase (2m 5f 110 yds)

1. Divet Hill (D Jewett) 11-2
2. General Wolfe (T Dennis) 16-1
3. I'm The Man (J Cookson) 66-1
4. Irbee (C Tizzard) 14-1

Divet Hill finishes strongly to win the race by 10 lengths and justify strong support at 11-2.

In an eventful race, five horses fell at The Chair and only 11 of the 21 starters finished.

General Wolfe (16-1) was second with 66-1 outsider I'm The Man a neck back in third.


1510: Martell Red Rum Handicap (2m)

1. Golden Alpha (AP McCoy) 7-1
2. Dark'n Sharp (R Johnson) 4-1 F
3. Risk Accessor (S Durack) 7-1
4. Log on Intersky (G Lee) 10-1

Champion jockey Tony McCoy wins his second race of the afternoon - on the horse he broke his collarbone on at Cheltenham three weeks ago.

McCoy won by 10 lengths from Richard Johnson's Dark'n Sharp in second.

The win sealed a 136-1 double for McCoy and trainer Martin Pipe.

Heavenly Stride, ridden by Brian Harding, fell heavily at the fifth fence.


1435: Martell Cognac Cup Chase (3m 1f)

1. First Gold (T Doumen) 14-1
2. Lady Cricket (AP McCoy) 6-1

First Gold leads from first to last to repeat his 2001 success in this race.

The 14-1 shot, trained by Francois Doumen and ridden by his son Thierry, wins by 14 lengths from Tony McCoy on Lady Cricket.

The JP McManus-owned First Gold had been struggling for form in recent months, but jumped beautifully and looked back to his very best.


1400: Martell Cognac Handicap Hurdle (3m 110yds)

1. Carlovent (AP McCoy) 16-1
2. Rostropovich (N Williamson) 16-1
3. Keepatem (D Casey) 8-1
4. Fairwood Heart (R Power) 12-1

Carlovent, trained by Martin Pipe and ridden by Tony McCoy, wins the first race of the meeting.

Majestic had led the race until falling at the seventh hurdle, when he took Carl Llewellyn's mount Priests Bridge down with him.

Carlovent, a 16-1 shot, took over from there and powered home to win by three lengths from Norman Williamson's Rostropovich.




SEE ALSO
Gold shines at Aintree
03 Apr 03  |  Grand National 2003
Aintree day one action
03 Apr 03  |  Photo Galleries

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