Spectacular start for Irish

Irish raiders got off to a great start on Grand National day at Aintree as Definate Spectacle (11-1) landed the opening John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle.

Irish raiders got off to a great start on Grand National day at Aintree as Definate Spectacle (11-1) landed the opening John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle.

Paul Carberry, who partners Colnel Rayburn in the big one, pressed the button on Noel Meade’s charge approaching the last and he scooted clear for an eight-length success over long-time leader Say What You See.

Crossbow Creek was a further half-length away in third, with Copeland taking fourth.

The result provided encouragement for supporters of the Irish contingent in the big race, which numbers no less than 10.

The outcome was a bit harsh on the Martin Pipe-trained runner-up, who had attempted to make all under Tony Dobbin.

He was still in front jumping the second-last, but the writing was on the wall as a confident Carberry loomed large.

The result was never in doubt thereafter, but supporters of Pipe’s 9-4 favourite Medison, who had been so impressive previously in the Imperial Cup, knew their fate from some way out.

``He did it very well. He was always travelling very comfortably,'' Carberry told BBC Sport.

“I didn’t really want to hit the front too soon – it’s a long way from the last, but he was going so well.”

Meade said: ``He loose-schooled in Fairyhouse last week. Paul came off at the second flight and he went round on his own.''

The trainer had seen his Harchibald agonisingly beaten in the Smurfit Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, and he added with a smile: “If he hadn’t won today I wouldn’t have been coming back to England!

“But he’s done well and is a fair horse. He was highly rated on the Flat and was pretty decent there too. He doesn’t like hard ground and he doesn’t like it soft. Just as it is today, nice ground is fine.

“I’m not sure if there is a race for him in Punchestown, so we might consider bringing him back here for Haydock (Swinton Hurdle).”

Pipe, who was also responsible for the fourth, said: ``That was two good runs.

“I’m delighted with Say What You See. He is game and genuine, and he jumped well and stayed well. He has run a terrific race.

“The old boy (Copeland) ran a blinder.”

He added of Medison: “He just slipped, and that was that.”

Mark Rimell, trainer of third-placed Crossbow Creek, said: ``I'm happy with him. He's run another smashing race and he's very consistent, but the winner had no weight.

“We’ll see how he comes out of the race. We might go for the Swinton Hurdle as he should get his good to firm ground. He’ll go chasing next season."

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