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Walsh team out of luck

Katie Walsh's dream of becoming the first female jockey to win the John Smith's Grand National faded away in the closing stages as Auroras Encore kept the Aintree prize in England.

Walsh was on her County Kildare-based father Ted's Seabass, who finished third last year and was sent off the 11-2 favourite after attracting massive support on the morning of the race.

The 10-year-old ran well for a long way, but could only take 13th place out of 17 finishers even though at one stage, the rider felt he might sneak into the action.

She said: "I had a good spin again. He jumped super and I thought maybe crossing the (Melling) road I might be in with a squeak, but he wasn't going as well as last year. He got very tired in the last 100 yards."

Her brother Ruby was on another leading fancy, the Willie Mullins-trained 8-1 chance On His Own, but said: "I don't know if we had any chance as we were too far out and I fell at Valentine's."

Leading the Irish contingent home were Oscar Time, trained by Martin Lynch in County Westmeath, who finished a creditable fourth, and the fifth-placed Rare Bob, from Dessie Hughes's team based on the Curragh.

Sam Waley-Cohen, who rode Oscar Time, said: "He's a fantastic horse. He loves it here and he's just magnificent around those fences. I enjoyed every second of it and it's great to be part of it." Rare Bob's partner Bryan Cooper added: "I got a great spin. He jumped his fences very well and I couldn't be happier."

Paul Carberry, successful on Solwhit earlier in the afternoon, did not have such a good time on Gordon Elliott's well-fancied Chicago Grey, who was pulled up.

He said: "He jumped very slow. He was just a bit too careful at these big fences, which meant I got detached quite early. He just took too much out of himself jumping."

Robbie Power said of Joncol (pulled up): "He jumped OK, but the ground was a bit quick for him. He couldn't go the pace and I got a bit detached", while Niall Madden reported of Ninetieth Minute (pulled up): "He was never really going, to be honest. He made a couple of mistakes and we had to call it a day."


From Belfast Telegraph