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Nolan notches Aintree victory

Far Away So Close just got the better of fellow Irish raider Jack Cool in a thrilling finish to the John Smith's Handicap Hurdle for conditional and amateur riders at Aintree.

Paul Nolan's six-year-old (14-1), carrying the famous Gigginstown House Stud colours, was ridden by promising claimer Michael Doran.

"He's run very well twice in the Supreme at Cheltenham and we decided to keep him as a novice for this season," said the trainer, who was saddling his first winner at the Aintree Festival.

"We used different tactics this time. He jumped well and found plenty off the bridle. Mick gave him a great ride and the plan now is to go for a two-and-a-half-mile handicap at the Punchestown Festival."

Gordon Elliott appears to have a smart prospect on his hands in Steps To Freedom (12-1), who had too much speed for Montbazon in the John Smith's Champion Standard Open NH Flat Race.

Paul Carberry was at his ultra-confident best as the five-year-old came from the rear of the field to beat the favourite by two lengths.

The trainer said: "He's a very good horse, he likes good ground and Paul gave him a great ride. We may go for the bumper at Perth and I think he's good enough to win over a mile and a half on the Flat."

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