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Cup fits into Grand plans

AINTREE'S executive insist the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Everton will not have a negative impact upon this year's John Smith's Grand National - despite being staged on the same day.

Although National day on April 14 is already a sell-out, up to 80,000 football supporters from Merseyside will be heading south to Wembley.

But Julian Thick, Aintree managing director, is adamant the game will not reduce the local significance of the highlight of the jumps calendar. He said: "We sold out for National day ahead of last year's schedule when we had a capacity crowd of 70,300.

"From a commercial point of view, we are confident the semi-final will have no significant impact, while from a customer experience perspective we are waiting to see what time the match kicks off to see whether it is possible for us to incorporate coverage of the match into the raceday entertainment."

Sad end for U B at Ludlow

There was a sad postscript to the Weatherbys Bloodstock Insurance Handicap Hurdle at Ludlow when the winner U B Carefull collapsed and died after the race.

Having run out an emphatic victor under amateur jockey Matthew Barber, the nine-year-old was on his way back in from the track.

He was owned and trained by Sirrell Griffiths, who handled Norton's Coin, the 100/1 winner of the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Clerk of the course Bob Davies said: "He won easily, by 22 lengths, and he was just on his way into the winner's enclosure when he collapsed and sadly died. It's very sad."

Carson picks up seven-day ban

William Carson will miss the first day of the Craven meeting after picking up a seven-day suspension at Lingfield, on an otherwise profitable afternoon highlighted by a double on Catalyze and Red Senor.

The downside came after he had steered Richard Guest's Catalyze home in the Platers And Stampers Selling Stakes.

Carson was found guilty by the local stewards of using his whip above the permitted level.