04/05/2008 12:00AM

Comply or Die best at Aintree


The 7-1 co-favorite Comply or Die outgamed a closely bunched group of late contenders to win the $1.6 million Grand National Handicap Chase at Aintree on Saturday, while Cloudy Lane, also 7-1, was sixth, 32 1/2 lengths back.

Ridden by Timmy Murphy, the 9-year-old Comply or Die was going best of all of the four horses still in with a chance approaching the second-last of the 30 fences in the grueling 4 1/2-mile contest. He went clear after the last and held off the 20-1 King John’s Castle by four lengths for the victory. Snowy Morning was third, 1 1/2 lengths farther back, with the 10-1 Slim Pickings, third in last year’s race, finishing fourth, another 16 lengths behind.

The 2005 winner, Hedgehunter, second in 2006 and ninth last year, plugged on to come home 13th of the 15 finishers in the 40-runner field.

Trained by David Pipe – the son of Martin Pipe, the man who revolutionized jump race training in England and who saddled Minnehoma to win the 1994 Grand National – Comply or Die was a good bet to stay the course, as he had won a 4 1/8-mile handicap chase at Newcastle on Feb. 23. A son of the 1989 French and Irish Derby winner, Old Vic, he had been beaten by Cloudy Lane by 2 1/2 lengths in a three-mile handicap chase at Haydock in December when in receipt of two pounds On Saturday, Cloudy Lane was giving two pounds to Comply or Die, but his first defeat in four starts was accountable solely to his failure to stay the distance.