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Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Saturday, 5 April 2008 16:31 UK
Aintree, 5 April, 2008



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Replay: Comply or Die wins the Grand National

JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL

1 Comply Or Die (T J Murphy) 7-1 Jt Fav 2 King Johns Castle (P Carberry) 20-1 3 Snowy Morning (D J Casey) 16-1 4 Slim Pickings (B J Geraghty) 10-1 (40 ran)
Highlights: BBC One at 2340 BST

By Phil Harlow

Joint favourite Comply Or Die held off a strong challenge from King Johns Castle to take victory by four lengths in the 2008 Grand National at Aintree.

Irish jockey Timmy Murphy rode the David Pipe-trained nine-year-old for his first Grand National win after 11 previous attempts.

Snowy Morning claimed third place, while Slim Pickings took fourth.

Cloudy Lane, who started as 7-1 co-favourite, finished sixth but was never really in contention.

The pre-race attention had largely centred on Cloudy Lane, trained by Donald McCain, but many gamblers on and off the course took a fancy to Comply Or Die on the day as his odds tumbled from 10-1.

And the money that went in Comply Or Die's direction proved a shrewd investment as Murphy gave his mount a trademark ride, cruising along with something to spare before asking for an extra effort off the last fence.

Several horses, with Chelsea Harbour, Bewleys Berry and Hedgehunter joining the first four home, were vying for the lead as the race reached its closing stages, but it was Murphy who found the extra gear to claim the victory.

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"I can't believe it yet, it's the best ride I've ever had over these fences," Murphy told BBC Sport.

"He got into a lovely rhythm and he jumped fantastic, he picked up again when Paul (Carberry, on King Johns Castle) came at me.

"It's not sunk in, I'm delighted for David Pipe and my boss David Johnson - it's a race he's always wanted to win."

It was a fairytale victory for Murphy, with the popular Irishman having to battle back from alcoholism and a short spell in prison to claim the most famous race in the sport.

The victory was also a memorable one for the Pipe family, as David followed in the footsteps of his father Martin by training a Grand National winner.

"I had slightly better ammunition than what he started off with," said David Pipe, in reference to his father taking 19 years to train a National winner compared to his success in his second season.

"I can't really describe it. It's great for everyone, for the whole team. We couldn't do any of it without them.

"I've had a great teacher in my father, David Johnson has been brilliant and Timmy gave him a fantastic ride - there's no feeling like it."

Owner David Johnson was equally delighted with his first Grand National winner.

Timmy Murphy celebrates his superb win
Murphy gave his horse an almost faultless ride

"I've probably run 20 in it before and it's a thrill," he said.

"Timmy did nothing wrong and it was a typical Timmy ride really, he showed how good he really is."

But Tony McCoy's wait for a Grand National winner goes on after his horse Butler's Cabin fell at Becher's on the second circuit.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls will also have to wait another year to find a winner in a race that continues to elude him.

Nicholls had three runners, with Mr Pointment giving his backers a good run for their money until being pulled up at the very last fence.

"They've all come back safe, that's the main thing and I'm not complaining," said Nicholls.

"Turko fell, Mr Pointment was leading for a long way but ran a bit free, while Cornish Sett gave Nick Scholfield a great ride round."

Milan Deux Mille, who led for much of the first circuit, was the final horse to complete the four-and-a-half-mile course in 15th place, with 25 horses failing to get round the 30 fences.

McKelvey, who finished a brave second in last year's race, had to be put down after unseating jockey Tom O'Brien at the 20th fence.

The nine-year-old then ran on but collided with a barrier and proved unable to regain his feet.

"Any death is very regrettable and we can't defend them, but as an animal welfare organisation our duty is to work with the organisers to improve things," said RSPCA equine consultant David Muir.

"If you look at the National in the last eight years and compare it to the eight years before there has been a massive reduction in fatalities and injuries."

There will be nothing else on his agenda apart from coming back here again, although that may have been his best chance

Arthur Moore, trainer of second-placed King Johns Castle

Mick Fitzgerald was taken to hospital with back injuries after falling from L'Ami in the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree.

The Irishman, a former winner of the race, lasted no further than the second fence.

Ireland's trio of placed horses will all be aimed for Aintree again in 2009. King Johns Castle, Snowy Morning and Slim Pickings chased home David Pipe's winner, and their respective connections are keen on another crack.

The striking grey King Johns Castle loomed menacingly from out of the pack under Paul Carberry, but could not get past Comply or Die passing the Elbow.

"For a few strides after the last I thought we might do it, but the winner kept battling and had more reserves than us," reflected trainer Arthur Moore.

"Paul has given him a real peach of a ride. He always had the leaders in his sights and came through with the perfect challenge.

"There will be nothing else on his agenda apart from coming back here again, although that may have been his best chance today."


see also
Murphy revels in greatest victory
05 Apr 08 |  Horse Racing
Grand National as it happened
05 Apr 08 |  Horse Racing
Where they finished in the National
05 Apr 08 |  Horse Racing
Grand National photos
05 Apr 08 |  Horse Racing


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