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Geraghty in winning spirit

Barry Geraghty started Grand National day on a high with victory on Spirit Son in the John Smith's Mersey Novices' Hurdle at Aintree as he set up a quick treble.

The jockey enjoyed a smooth success on Nicky Henderson's gelding, who had finished second in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Sam Winner made the running to three out after no-one appeared to want to go on, but when Spirit Son (3-1) took it up he bounded away to score by 13 lengths from the favourite Cue Card, who made several mistakes.

Geraghty, who won the next race in the same colours on Finian's Rainbow and then scored on Oscar Whisky, said: "He's a bit of a baby, he's only five. I said to Nicky before Cheltenham that it might just come six months too soon for him, but he learned an awful lot from it.

"Over this longer trip he was able to get into a nice rhythm and he jumped and travelled lovely. He picked up well and he destroyed them at the finish. I was going like a winner everywhere."

Henderson, bagging his first winner of the three-day meeting, added: "We've finally managed it. He was good today. I don't know quite what his trip will be, but you won't see him again this season.

"We'll see where he is over hurdles just to start with (next season) and it's only just starting to happen for him."

Cue Card's trainer Colin Tizzard said: "We were beaten by a very nice horse. Joe (Tizzard, jockey son) had to wake him up a little on the bend, but he stayed on really well.

"That will probably be it for the season. He will go chasing next season and he will be a nice horse over fences.

"We thought he would travel and then pick up, but Spirit Son did that a bit better and he must be a very good horse."

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