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Aintree bid next for Call Equiname.

Call Equiname will take his unbeaten chasing record to Aintree next month with trainer Paul Nicholls keeping his fingers crossed that the horse's suspect legs continue to hold out.

The trainer, who only had his first Festival success on Tuesday, celebrated a magic moment in his career when Call Equiname emerged triumphant after a stirring tussle in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Leg problems have restricted the nine-year-old's appearances over the years but they have failed to diminish his talent.

With Mick Fitzgerald riding an inspired race, Call Equiname was able to deny the favourite Edredon Bleu with the northern challenger Direct Route a close third.

Nicholls, who today saddles Double Thriller for the Tote Gold Cup, said: ``Call Equiname has given us plenty of headaches and has been pin-fired, bar-fired and implanted. His legs have been problems but he is a very good horse.''

Fitzgerald was given the ride because Nicholls considered his riding style to be suitable for the horse.

``The trouble is Call Equiname pulls up when he hits the front and needs hanging on to as long as possible. Mick's style suits the horse well,'' said Nicholls.

The trainer, who backed Call Equiname at 25-1 for this event back in January, is now planning to run the horse in the Mumm Melling Chase on the Friday of the Grand National meeting.

The second main event of the day was marred by a sickening fall for the 5-4 favourite Nick Dundee in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase.

The horse crashed heavily at the third from home and at first it appeared that he had shattered his near hind leg.

It later transpired that the injury was not quite so bad as first feared but there was still a huge question-mark over the horse's future.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Yates, David
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 18, 1999
Words:296
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