Posted: Thursday April 4, 2013 10:59 AM

Walsh opens Aintree Festival with win on Zarkandar

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AINTREE, England (AP) - Ruby Walsh warmed up for the Grand National by riding Zarkandar to a victory in the Aintree Hurdle on Thursday, the top race on the opening day of the Aintree Festival.

It was a particularly sweet win for Walsh, who tumbled from Zarkandar in the same race last year and was forced to give up his seat upon On His Own for the National.

This time, the Irish jockey produced the perfect ride, dictating the pace of the race before holding off 11-4 favorite The New One in a thrilling finish after leading all the way.

On His Own is Walsh's mount for Saturday's National and the favorite for the famous race with British bookmakers.
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