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Hopes rise for Grand National.

Byline: Cheltenham Round-up

Ferdy Murphy is hoping Joes Edge makes the cut in the John Smith's Grand National after getting up in the shadow of the post to win the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

He looked booked for third as Distant Thunder led Juveigneur over the last, but Davy Russell conjured a late charge out of the 50-1 outsider to land the spoils by a short head and the same from co-market leaders Juveigneur and Distant Thunder.

The former Scottish National winner was was cut to 20-1 from 40s for the Aintree marathon, in which he was seventh last year, with Ladbrokes.

"I hope he gets in the National - he would be borderline. He's got 10st 2lb, but doesn't get a penalty for this. Hopefully, he'll get in," said the West Witton trainer.

Former champion trainer Martin Pipe celebrated his inclusion in Cheltenham's Hall of Fame by enjoying his first success as an owner at the Festival.

Pipe saddled a record 34 winners at the big meeting in a glorious 32-year career before handing over the reins at Nicholashayne to his son David last April.

His colours were carried to victory by Gaspara in the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle, giving the winning connections a pounds 75,000 bonus for following up victory in last Saturday's Imperial Cup at Sandown.

The 9-2 joint-favourite made virtually all the running in the hands of 5lb claimer Andrew Glassonbury.

Nothing could get in a serious challenge with Altilhar taking second spot five lengths adrift just a neck ahead of Pipe's other runner, Laustra Bad.

Pipe senior said: "I must admit David was joking to me on the gallops the other day that it would be more than a coincidence if his only winner there was with my horse."

Nina Carberry completed a memorable family double when winning the Sporting Index Handicap Chase on Heads Onthe Ground.

Just 90 minutes after her brother Philip had partnered Sublimity to victory in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, she came out on top in the marathon over the cross-country course.

The Enda Bolger-trained Heads On the Ground, the 5-2 favourite, beat Silver Birch by three and a half lengths. Le Duc was another 12 lengths away in third place.

Willie Mullins landed his 10th Festival winner as Ebaziyan shocked the masses with a 40-1 victory in the Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

In the final flight, the Thurles winner pulled away to collect by three lengths from Granit Jack, with favourite Amaretto Rose third.
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Title Annotation:Sport Racing
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Mar 14, 2007
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