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Four-star O'Farrell scoops National

Conor O'Farrell made it a week he will never forget as he steered the David Pipe-trained Minella Four Star to glory in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter.

The young jockey starred on stablemate Buena Vista at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday and followed up with an accomplished ride to take this big staying prize by 11 lengths from Ballyfitz.

O'Farrell said after the 25-1 success: "That was brilliant and it's just my second winner over fences, the first one was a year ago. I've done loads of schooling at Mr Pipe's and that has helped my confidence so much. It's been some week, I won't forget it in a hurry."

Tony McCoy's mount Synchronised was sent off the 9-2 favourite in his bid to repeat last year's win in the race, but was being pushed along for well over a circuit and did well to get as close as he did, just losing out on second to Ballyfitz. Gentle Ranger was fourth.

With Pipe in Dublin for the England/Ireland rugby international, assistant trainer Gerry Supple said: "Minella Four Star came from the same Cheltenham sales as Junior.

"He ran a lovely race first time back at Ffos Las, and was running well when he was hampered on his previous start at Doncaster.

"He has a lovely bunch of owners, all builders, from Bristol."

O'Farrell, a 21-year-old from Kilkenny, added: "He galloped and jumped superbly the whole way. After each fence he took a gulp of air and headed for the next. He was relentless and is an out and out stayer."

Pete Green, spokesman for the owners Ashton Racing Club said: "All being well he'll be aimed at the Grand National next season."


From Belfast Telegraph