Hot Favorite Earth Summit Wins 1998 Grand National

Earth Summit Grand National Winner 1989
Earth Summit, a pre-match 7-1 favourite, successfully outran other contesters participating in the 1998 Grand National to pass the finishing post distinct streets ahead at Aintree Racecourse. Maintaining a chiefly judicious pace from the very start, jockey Carl Llewellyn beat Sun Bay (the 2nd runner) by an extraordinary 11 lengths. Samlee and St Mellion Fairway took distant third and fourth position, respectively. 

Such a ‘superbly judged’ run – as a lively BBC coverage immediately described it - had hardly been before seen at the Liverpool’s time-honoured racing facility. As many longstanding gaming experts rightly explained, the shiny performance narrowly paralleled another similarly tremendous record inked by the same rider back in 1992. 

Again, it was not only Llewellyn’s worthy show of skill but also a likewise solid testimony for Nigel Twiston-Davies’ superior horse-training prowess.

Nigel Twiston-Davies seemed completely clueless at first, and just tensely looking on as the tough chase kicked off and the participants coursed along the ancient gaming arena. Evidently, very little could at those early moments tip the experienced trainer about the huge honours that lay ahead of him. 

Some minutes later, the consummate equestrian coach was however spotted celebrating and hugging Llewellyn quite heartily in the finishing area. 

In what has since been commonly described as the most unfavourable British weather conditions for a Grand National showdown, Earth Summit overcame such notoriously inclement climatic circumstances to pull off an unprecedented 11-length finish…confirming the rosy pre-contest predictions he’d earned from the majority of Aintree aficionados before the event’s kickoff. 

Official statistical records prove that the literally murky clash noted three racetrack fatalities – with Do Rightly, Pashto, and Griffins Bar emerging out of the harsh National scuffle with outright mortal wounds.

Close observers have also unanimously lauded the top horse’s ‘perfect start’ – having met all his fans’ wild expectations as a deserving 7-1 favourite ahead of the competition. 

Earth Summit came out as the only renowned runner who really lived up to prior punters’ anticipations…while other would-be champs such as Rough Quest and Suny Bay desperately drifted to less-shiny forecasts hours to the start, and eventually fell distantly short of the glossy pre-race wagers they’d previously attracted from optimistic supporters. 

The unforgettable steeplechase showpiece was preceded by a rare torrential downpour. But, immediately the interrupting drizzling had ceased, the officiating starter Simon Morrant paced undeterred his designated post, and at once formally ushered anxious clutter into the long-awaited tussle. 

Shortly after, Pashto became the first casualty to crash to the rain-drenched floor at some point along the initial fence. 

With many mud-encumbered pairs falling out of the weather-affected circuit, Greenhil Tare Away was sighted making positive moves up the testing field, a few minutes into the historical chase. Almost simultaneously, Decyborg began to create some gap between the two candidates, even with the frontrunners breaking into an apparent casual banter that lasted some brief moments. 

On the other hand, a bunch of furiously advancing competitors soon started to emerge from the rear. Subsequently, the leading duo then called off their budding chitchat so as to better fight the growing opposition behind them. 

Toward the end of the first circuit, any keen spectator might have easily noted the cutthroat pursuit put up by real soft-ground pros such as Cel de Brion and St Mellion Fairway. Minutes later, as the collectively energized huddle eased into the second circuit, the day’s ultimate winner remained tactfully inconspicuous…slyly beguiling himself among then still-middling sprinters like Sun Bay and other hard-to-notice eventual top performers. 

Having thus clandestinely but very calculatingly trailed their colleagues throughout much of the track, both Sun Bay and Earth Summit finally shot into limelight as they dashed past the Becher’s Brook – commanding an invincible lead. All of a sudden, the latter gained even greater momentum and began to gradually outdistance his closest challenger.

Although Suny Bay tried all the harder to keep up with the winning galloper, he appeared to lack the requisite strength to outdo the more determined pair. In the end, amid deafening ululations issuing from the unbelieving crowds, Carl Llewellyn unstoppably piloted his resolute mount to trounce second-placed Graham Bradley by an unmistakable 11 lengths.

The third-ranking horse was Samlee – steered by the thoroughly practised Richard Dunwoody, swiftly followed by Andrew Thornton's St Mellion Fairway and Kenny Whelan/Gimme Five, in that particular order.

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The 1999 Grand National: Bobbyjo Steals the Show for Team Carberry

More famously remembered as the Martell Grand National for corporate sponsorship sakes, the 1999 edition of this centuries-old steeplechase showpiece was won by Irish-bred Bobbyjo. In a demonstrably rare show of unfading skill, the 9-year-old inked an indelible record when he successfully retained the very title he’d clinched dramatically a year before. 

Besides, the distinct nine minutes within which twice-winning runner completed the keynote race was equally emphatically descriptive of the defending champion’s sheer racetrack tenacity.

After a mostly winless 24 years dominated by various exotic horses, the entire Irish racing sorority reeled under a smothering cloud of utter collective demoralization. Subsequently, they all with a similar went for a surefire pick that would ease the near-impervious discouragement brought by lacklustre racing seasons. 

In a word, the whole of Ireland’s leading equestrian fraternity joined heads and hands toward a unified purpose: to carry home the following National top honours, come rain or shine! And with a singularly hope-inspiring background powerfully demonstrated by his yesteryear’s admirable performance, Bobbyjo became every far-seeing Irish horse-handling pro’s best guess. 

Still unready to take the slightest blind risk, those vindictive folks undertook a greater deal of more thoroughgoing deliberations as a defeat-united community with a common pent-up bitterness. 

Finally, the then reigning Aintree conqueror satisfied all as the much-sought win-win bet for the neck-break waterloo ahead…and this foolproof communal strategizing proved lethal enough in the end! 

Owned by a smart enterprising compatriot with vast concerns in horseracing and horses generally, Bobby Bourke prayed for the best as his stable’s finest hope entered the giant clash. Concurrently, the finally twice-honoured Tommy Carberry happened to be conventional pick’s coach, plus the title-winning jockey Paul Carberry biological father - an epochal rarity at any rate. 

At first, that guardedly unpretentious coaching ace readily endorsed his countrymen’s undivided decision to field his rigorously tutored charge. And registering after a resounding success, the astonishingly modest fellow couldn’t even give any faint attempt at the habitual chest-thumping Aintree fans had been accustomed. 

Breaking from traditional indulgences in excessive self-elevations, the simply self-effacing nerd issued nothing more than tacit media remarks, all through seeming to give the greater credit his son. And whatever lesser morsels of apparent praises, those the humble sportsman pushed over to his jointly scheming countrymen who’d made it all possible on the tense duelling grounds.

If you still are a sceptical doubter of the clever maxim that truth is naturally stranger than fiction, then you’re literally ‘in for it’ – as they say. Now, it’s this very self-abasing Tom Carberry who had won Ireland’s last jackpot, after which polished masterstroke the perennially victory-eluded region would remain without any win until Bobbyjo avails a soothing emphatic triumph in 1998. 

In a similar vein, the closing game of the yester-millennium’s Grand National editions featured a retinue of distinctive changes. One key alteration availed extra numbers 41 to 43 as standby reserves to cater for eleventh-hour withdrawals. 

To curb devious manipulations by conniving jockeys and stable proprietors, a new clause deterring horse participation in multiple races at the same venue within the National’s designated timeframe. This latter amendment sought to end rampant unethical arrangements under which a single runner could be ill-used by fortune-stricken of avaricious riding professionals, trainers, owners, or shady proxies advancing sundry foxy ploys. Properly informed racing adherents may nevertheless generally acknowledge that the aforesaid notorieties had reduced markedly about a decade to the 1999 event. 

Paul Carberry, an industrious horse-riding protégé of his own father’s excellent nurturing, shared the occasion’s most reminiscent splendours with…a classic parenting milestone in the main; an attention-grabbing father-son Grand National thrill that would be yet unbelievably replicated in the succeeding grand gaming season. 

The second-biggest cash giveaway went to a somewhat unfamiliar horse, forebodingly christened Blue Charm – a manly exploit creditable to the genius legworks of a probable apprentice, Lorcan Wyer. With a 10-length distance and just a neck separating the 2nd and 3rd pairs, Richard Dunwoody evidently capitalized on Call It a Day’s unusual steel to decisively trounce the fourth-ranked Adrian Maguire/Addington Boy pair by 7 lengths. 

Last of all, wrapping up the cheerful day’s divergent marvels and tales were the determined fifth finishers: Brian Harding and Feels like Gold, crossing the ultimate line five lengths behind Maguire and his mount.

Papillon Millennium Grand National Winner for Ted Walsh

The predictably exciting 2000 Grand National went straight into the extensive annals of competitive English equine sporting as the only keynote international race to be won by a father-son combination. The event’s most triumphant horse was the then 9-year-old Papillon…a top mount actually piloted by the immensely talented Ruby Walsh and properly trained by his dad - Ted Walsh. 

Thus, quite surprisingly, the very closely blood-related aces emerged winners as jockey and trainer respectively. And unbelieving gasps of wonder rend the air…describing the utter bafflement following both child and parent coming first in the same, star-studded horse-riding combat! 

Again, the keenest of equestrian gaming enthusiasts will also easily recall the fact that it’s the same mercurial rider who added an extra feather to his already well-decorated cap by winning the 2005 National title on Hedgehunter. 

Achieving a strikingly rare first, both the senior and junior Walsh really enjoyed their fair share of worldwide fame – one for a majestic ride like no other, the other for having so painstakingly coached the year’s most illustrious galloper. 

This is however not to say that the runner’s excellent performance had in any way eluded the prior predictions of accomplished eyes. An extensively trusted 10-1 shot, Papillon’s near-flawless jump in preceding championships had inspired a huge deal of previous fanaticism at home and abroad...earning the gallant ride thousands of decent success predictions as a highly promising second-favorite. 

As close watchers at the legendary racecourse could well attest, the day’s eventual winner didn’t attain such overwhelming Aintree accolades without creditable opposition from other tough-competing fighters. For instance, Mely Moss gave him a sure deal of untiring heat as the two leading contesters careered vigorously past the final straight. 

Nevertheless, the Charlie Egerton-trained candidate proved hardly capably of undoing his more energized rival, and only managed to scoop a soothing second place. 

Due to its eminent coincidences, the 2000 National version is commonly viewed as one of the most prominent Grand National tournaments of all time. The former event obviously earned an especially greater measure of extra publicity when its increasingly adored champ again defeated all Aintree frontrunners to claim the 2005 edition’s title. 

Considering Papillon’s matchless dash – marked by uncharacteristic jumps and gallops on both occasions – overwhelmed fans and foremost sports opinion makers remained sufficiently convinced that the twice-winning marvel was easily the finest runner of the young millennium. 

Another contributor to the 2000 National enigmatic reminiscence is the very outstanding Ted Walsh himself…possibly, too, Europe’s most victorious head of a richly talented racing family. You’ll call to mind the well-known circumstance that the lucky model racer doubles up as the proud lead proprietor of an amiable family-based horse-training enterprise located at Kill County Kildare. 

And, in addition to all the aforementioned accomplishments detailed hereinabove, the gifted patriarch has sired a respectable line of other naturally endowed riding heavyweights. 

The now-elderly racecourse veteran’s unmistakable scions comprise his joint prizewinning replica Ruby Walsh, renowned Irish racetrack official Jennifer Walsh, and the enduring female trier who has enjoyed boundless accolades in many men-dominated steeplechases. All these miscellaneous exploits by the revered Teds instantly morph into something of an entire phenomenon once you throw in the founding geek’s uncountable achievements in preceding nationwide competitions. 

A good case in point is that old fellow’s unblemished scorecard as a consummate amateur entrant in several Irish showdowns some years ahead of the striking twin wins at the exact unfolding of the millennium. 

Consequently, thousands of sharp-brained fanatics blessed with particularly sharp memories can with complete awe and adoration recollect senior Ted’s four-time Cheltenham triumphs…all of which impossible feats the heroic horse connoisseur dramatically easily accomplished against scores of insufferably skillful opponents in historic equestrian battles both in Ireland and England. 

Another maybe less remarked uniqueness that made 2000’s continentally followed game is that the first and second-finishing horses were both nine years old. That was the new face Norman Williamson’s second-placed Mely Moss, an initial 25-1 favorite trained by Charlie Egerton.

Elsewhere, Robbie Supple – an indeed demonstrably ‘supple’ jockey of no middling riding prowess – managed to steer Niki Dee to a third-place finish, a conspicuous 7 lengths behind. Philip Hide’s evident hardwork didn’t leave him unrecognized, either; for his strapping Brave Highlander completed fourth, oh-so precariously trailed by the world-reckoned Adrian Maguire on Addington Boy…with a mere neck between the two closely tussling pairs! 

And now here’s a closing tidbit to keep avid gaming-loving aficionados thinking about their mainstay pastime longer than this piece could stretch…well, it’s worth keeping in mind that it was Ted Walsh happened to be the very first of the deafeningly thundering cheerers to extend Ruby Walsh a warm, congratulatory handshake immediately he crossed the winning line! 

Eyes became at once transfixed upon the simultaneous title-winning father and son, the mutually thankful heroes patting each other’s back for the suddenly mesmerizing, once-in-trillion act…a shrilly inspiring image that the stunned onlookers couldn’t even wildly hope to behold again in their lifetime.

Red Marauder Wins 2001 Grand National at 33/1

Red Marauder Wins 2001 Grand National
Red Marauder trounced a clutter of 39 other contenders to achieve a perfect Grand National title at Aintree Racecourse, against a myriad of unprecedented setbacks. The debonair galloper inked a truly laudable record by beating a handful of other better-known horses enrolled for the momentous sporting duel.

All these historical developments unfolded on Saturday, 7 April 2001…an uncharacteristically eventful day chiefly marked by a lot of noteworthy firsts and feats. Also referred to as the Martell Grand National in honour of the main sponsors of the great international championship, the exceedingly memorable gathering attracted a huge deal of negative hullabaloo from diverse formal and informal quarters

2001’s was actually the 154th official staging of the annual equestrian derby customarily held at the traditional Liverpool’s Aintree horseracing arena. Only a 33/1 shot, the surprising champion won the tourney by a ‘distance’.

Ridden by the renowned Richard Guest, the top horse indeed proved quite capable of doing a great job – a praiseworthy achievement sealed in a timing of slightly more than 11 minutes. Coincidentally, this also happened to be the inaugural season for a jockey-cum-trainer to win a Grand National title.

In the above-mentioned respect, it was an authentic double-honour for the hardworking jockey and trainer. Owned by Norman Mason, the latter accepted to the internationally acknowledged fact that Guest was a truly gifted equine gaming star. Meticulously coached for a long, painstaking four to five years, the favourite pick spent earlier ages receiving expert sports lessons for the calculative rider, who would later use him to earn unprecedented National accolades.

Richard Guest, going by the formal details provided in the official license for the victorious mount, was formally described as the assistant proprietor of the County Durham’s Crook – the very humble stable and equestrian enterprise proudly owned the fledgeling winner. Guest’s unmistakable riding zeal was embodied in his unique colour selections of three azure hoops on the sleeves, all stylishly finished off with a blue-and-red decorated cap.

Although the year’s tussle drew the usual maximum of 40 competitors, only a surprising two completed the designated track. Two extra horses were however later re-mounted for a somehow ceremonious completion of the remaining part of the formal circuit.

All the same, this last-minute effort didn’t succeed in undoing the well-noted truth that they year’s episode was marred by a wide range of mid-course mishaps. Even local and worldwide journalists covering the important occasion were quick to recognize the aforementioned fact.

The Canal Turn proved to be the most jinxed spots that largely significantly fateful day – with a total of eight near-mortal mishaps. Shortly after the event’s start, top commentators from around the globe took to various publicity platforms to criticize what they termed as largely unsafe weather conditions for a worldwide gaming fete. Even the meet’s official organizers couldn’t refute the allegations that the racetrack was just too soggy for jockeys and their unfortunate mounts.

In a somewhat opposing rejoinder, some unflinching members of the officiating crew maintained that the purportedly ill-navigable ground in effect provided a cushioning softness…and, hence, the equally conspicuous complete absence of any fatalities that day. According to them, critics sounded ‘deliberately ungrateful’ to the evidently providential climatic gift kind Nature had offered on the said ‘fortunate turn’.

In addition to the controversies detailed hereinabove, the 2001 National edition ran smack against the longstanding rebuttals that the yearly competition is essentially determined by mere luck than real skill. No wonder, with just four out of forty completing the established distance, Red Marauder and Richard Guest barely eclipsed Smarty and his comparatively less lucky mount by a sheer ‘distance’…with the third and the fourth ranks going to Blowing Wind and Papillon respectively. 

The winning runner pocketed the £290,000 jackpot, having been left in what was universally referred to as an ‘eerie isolation’ – with a clear-cut head-start enough to clinch the epic prize. In some way depicting the soggiest ground conditions under which the luckless scuffle was executed, Richard Guest termed the scarcely navigable Aintree turf as the ‘worst circumstances’ in which he’d trodden in his rich racing career.

Last, of all, the 2001 Martell Grand National made history as the only race in which all the successful finishers won a tidy monetary award. While previous money earners had to struggle to beat a bunch of sterling gallopers and their proficient guides, it was a stark contrast that time around…you only needed to cover the preset track circuit to take home an honourable name and glittering cash reward!

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Bindaree Wins 2002 Grand National for Nigel Twiston-Davies

Bindaree Wins 2002 Grand National for Nigel Twiston-Davies
Critics were thrown into momentary silence as Bindaree displayed a really stunning performance at Aintree; swiftly jumping out of an earlier lacklustre position, and assuming and maintaining an illustrious lead till he crossed the ultimate finishing line in the 2002 Grand National. Beating a would-be first-time winner – What’s Up Boys – the brave sprinter walloped an entire field of longstanding champs to come out as the fastest runner and overall hero of that amazing April weekend. 

Ingeniously piloted by Cheltenham’s universally recognized Jim Culloty, the award-winning creature astounded the unbelieving Liverpool crowds as he boldly careered his way into the final stretch, shaking off a string of unyielding competition from the 2nd-ranking contester – Richard Johnson. 

Well beyond any tinge of doubt, the unfaltering gelding seemed to have entered the ageless English battleground with a pre-calculated dashing blueprint that evidently took aback all closest challengers…as gradual expressions of stark amazement could be seen creeping on the completely surprised faces of many a watcher, while the tough-fighting Culloty continued to steadily wear down all leading racers to a one-and-three-quarter winning distance. 

The epoch-making showdown’s third place went to the enduring sprinting icon Tony McCoy; a seemingly luck-eluded equine-sporting maverick whom top honours had appeared serially dodge over the preceding decades. The tellingly title-hungry McCoy hadn’t recently won and wasn’t going to win top-slot National honours in that Culloty-dominated National edition. 

And all these little disappointments befell the admittedly finessed rider due to no discernible faults of his own. Fate alone might have tilted odds against him – for he’d previously had an especially successful gaming record – frequently dotted by a superfluity of bold manoeuvres…indeed uncommon racetrack firsts, not only in modestly great Grand National performances but also in a string of several other lower-ranking gaming derbies, in England and Ireland and far-flung foreign racing turfs. 

The frequent pundits-tipped riding star had actually been tipped to dominate the day’s packed field a few months earlier, but then a huge deal of this massive optimism dwindled distinctly toward the eventual year-after-year clash. A sizable number of McCoy’s diehard fans began to sense that the renowned ace was beginning to somehow give in to either fatigue or some kind of public pressure…and we all appreciate that sort of unexplained ‘block’ that curtails a natural giant’s best. 

And, in short, it’s that wave of feeling too inadequate for the looming task ahead that ruined that talented competitor – bit by bit throwing him slightly out of balance, as he fruitlessly struggled to meet the manifold stack of tall expectations piled on his unsure shoulders by the blindly adoring multitudes far and wide. And so, the story at hand and the remaining details herein unfolding are centred on the arguably fluking Jim Culloty – and not as much on the really extensively loved McCoy - as it all might have otherwise been… 

Perhaps to observe a healthy break from the preceding tales of the palpable racetrack heat that characterized the extraordinary international event, the 2002 annual edition run as the 154th Martell Grand National. This unique formal reference was long adopted as a way of according lasting corporate honours to the fortunate benefactors under whose mainstream funding the year’s showdown takes place.

And, as has been the changeless custom, the significant steeplechase was staged at the predictable Aintree Racecourse within Liverpool’s calm spring environs, on 6 April 2002. 

The 8-year-old Bindaree was owned by the Irish man of modest equestrian rearing ambitions known as Raymond Mould. Furthermore, the lucky 20-1 shot had been trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies in Naunton; at the not-very-well-known Grange Hill Farm, situated some snugly miles deeper within Gloucestershire’s innermost neighbourhoods. 

Elsewhere, the breeder of the colourful occasion’s most impressive horse was one virtually unknown Noel King – another Northern Ireland’s man of fine equine-handling talents…whom cheerful Providence chose to bless with some token of worldwide recognition, almost as if to grant the middling breeder at least a worthy modicum of fame to motivate him into pursuing greater glories of a similar kind in later horseracing waterloos. 

As is the continuing norm, the year’s contest featured the regular field of 40 runners. Despite the considerable number of formally cleared contestants, only a paltry 11 of these completed the traditional Aintree circuit – the rest fizzling out after meeting unforeseen misadventures or such other immobilizing mishaps. In the end, the initially modest field ultimately fell off to about ten patently persistent horsemen, all perspiring rather defiantly atop their likewise tenacious mounts.

In the course of the intense chase, some 9 horses succumbed to immobilizing accidents within the first fence. Also, two deaths occurred as the remaining 29 horses tackled the rest of the treacherously winding circuit – The Last Fling (2nd Canal Turn) and Manx Magic (20th fence). 

The monumental tussle was captured live on BBC One and on their rival media station ITV1. The latter was however badly beaten by their longstanding nemesis in terms of locally and globally estimated viewership numbers – 8.6 million against 300,000 watchers! 

Unlike many other past National versions, whereby an obviously well-known face would emerge out of the crowds to acknowledge public kudos and give the habitual press remarks, things proved strangely different that time around. 

To be more specific, there was a stark uniqueness seeing visibly agitated sports newspaper writers and camera-toting scribes meet an obscure fellow coyly coming out of the main house at the practically shadowy Grange Hill Farm… an unfamiliar gentleman of a confident, unassuming composure who shortly said he was Nigel Twiston-Davies – the proud horse-breeding fan who had for many patient years diligently trained the just-crowned Martell Grand National conqueror - Bindaree! 

The publicity-shy instant hero confided that Grange Hill’s eternally horse-loving community hadn’t been minting any really juicy fiscal returns previously. He nevertheless admitted that the little establishment would no doubt look finer, now that one of their superb products had brought the small harem immense glory about an hour before. 

It was also an essentially rapturous moment for Bindaree’s happy owner, Raymond Mould. Reminiscing over his sorrowful parting with his late wife (Jenny) two years earlier – who had succumbed to cancer back in 2000 - the wryly smiling horseman lacked much to say. He, however, didn’t fail to promote the larger game-loving world many other bigger racecourse milestones in future equestrian steeplechases, away and at home.


Monty's Pass Takes 2003 Grand National

Monty's Pass Takes 2003 Grand National
Monty’s Pass inked a breathtaking win during the 2003 Grand National showpiece, held at England’s Liverpool’s Aintree racecourse. The noteworthy event is also referred to as the Martell Grand National, in an enduring centuries-old effort to commemorate the lucky bearers of the year’s sponsorship privileges. The apparently in-form 10-year-old won attained these laudable accolades under the adroit ride of one Barry Geraghty – a really experienced equestrian sportsman of longstanding status.

The chiefly fortunate winning rider and galloper are both internationally viewed as astonishingly gifted racetrack competitors. The champion horse had been trained in Ireland by Jimmy Mangan and smartly outran the second runner to come first by a decisive victory margin of 12 lengths!

Obviously, this wonderful job not only entered history’s fairest chronicles as one of the biggest winning margins ever but also ranked among Aintree’s swiftest cases: 9 minutes and 21.7 seconds! Plainly stated, it was the creditably rare sort of distinguishing conquests that most well-knowing equine sporting aficionados would naturally expect from a richly endowed racer of Geraghty’s singular skill and endurance.

The usually 4.5-mile course attracted the regular field of 40 contenders, with only a paltry 14 of them completing the conventionally designated circuit. One of the most discrete aspects that defined the really testing showdown was the unforgettable high number of immobilizing horse injuries and jockeys casualties witnessed that memorable day. A notable case in point – the altogether unsuccessful Warren Marston and his likewise unlucky ride Goguenard lost the entire showpiece after stampeding into a crashing melee at the 19th fence

You Never Walk Alone, a previous top favourite with the crowds - mostly due to a prior cosy dalliance with the Liverpool Football Club – ended up with a broken leg…instead of the eagerly awaited first-position medals and laurels. Even though the minor harm was shortly effectively restored, it had seemingly cost the pair the whole race, already. A fairly little-known rider Gerry Supple also faced a lot of obstacles that included a terribly fractured wrist and a wrecked nose.

Ruby Walsh’s Willy had been 2003’s leading pre-match favourite, his decent prospects having momentarily risen after a terrific display of prowess in the Gold Cup tourney, staged earlier at Haydock. The 7-1 shot however extinguished the wildly soaring crowd hopes as he sluggishly trailed top sprinters throughout the heated chase…ultimately pulling up at the 21st fence, at which fateful juncture the previously highly favoured choice encountered a terminal mishap.

Iris Bleu was another noteworthy contester who had elicited a huge deal of interest among spectators and bookmakers alike. The proud riding choice of the sufficiently renowned Tony McCoy’s had joined the clash as an 8-1 joint-favourite, a clear contrast when casually compared to the eventual winner’s 16-1 entry odds.

Monty’s Pass’s ratings had barely improved a few hours before the start of the annual confrontation – inching markedly closer to the crest from the originally predicted success chances of 40-1. Some sports media outlets like the accurate Racing Post had forecast the outstanding win some months to the ultimate yearly tussle.

Barry Geraghty’s triumph earned simultaneous honours for Dee Racing as they owned the 2003 event’s top-ranked galloper. Some of the well-known horse-owning establishment’s executive caught by media cameras celebrating this new achievement included Ian Rose, Noel Murphy, Muir Higginson, and Adam Armstrong. The evenly happy trainer Jimmy Mangan joined the tiny excited crew in relishing the extraordinary performance, their bliss-filled faces radiating heroic gleams in the searing spring sun. 

When he was finally reached for news comment, Geraghty simply described the whole conquest as a vivid authentication of his tireless practice, skill, and an undeniable measure of providential luck…maintaining the pompous air of the real sporting ace he still is today – wearing an evidently surefooted pro’s pose seeming to unflinchingly ask, “Who didn’t know Barry Geraghty does win these things, after all?” 

Tirelessly trailing Barry Geraghty and Monty’s Pass was Leighton Aspell, mounting the tenacious Supreme Glory. The third position went to Graham Lee and Amberleigh House; the horse who went ahead to clinch the 2004 National title. Barry Fenton finished fourth, atop the fairly dauntless Gunner Welburn. Lastly, Joe Tizzard steered Montifault to a quite-commendable number-five finish…and thus expediently earned himself a snug slot in the memorable roll of the big day’s five most impressive contestants.

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Amberleigh House Gallops from the Shadows for Ginger McCain

Amberleigh House
The already widely adored Red Rum trainer – Ginger McCain - was again relishing rare accolades, after his gallant Amberleigh House catapulted him to a fourth Grand National victory at Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse in 2004. The visibly ageing horseman had shot to sudden éclat in the sorely competitive 1970s.

These were McCain’s inordinately successful bouts which he might have been considering as practically gone heydays that would never be replaced. But these little doubts swiftly vanished when Amberleigh bagged him an extra medal…thus effectively adding another medal to his three previous National titles.

And, probably just to remind his anonymous critics that he still was that unbeatable racetrack giant of the fruitful yesteryears, the master equine handler grew unboundedly ecstatic as his glamorous horse emerged first. In a striking manner akin to the proverbial ill luck that purportedly hardly comes singly, McCain’s lofty fortune didn’t profit a single man – it was Graham Lee’s extraordinary moment, too…the history-making chap who steered the unstoppable victor to a dazzlingly excellent finish, ending up as that April’s most illustrious jockey!

It sounds like the whole affair comprised a series of sheer miracles. Watchers who witnessed the gripping clash collectively agree that the 16-1 short apparently jolted out of the middling clutter in a blinding jiffy, and momentarily collared Clan Royal by a record three-length distance! An even worse-ranked initially – the 40-1-odds Lord Atterbury –defied punters’ best wagers by coming third, by a solid two lengths, as well! It was an actually surprise-defined race, held on that unforgettable 3rd of April, 2004.

Clearly not left out of the fat catalogue of occasion’s never-ending wonders (or flukes, whatever you opt to call this kind of weird thing), a recent champion named Monty Pass stayed true to his starting tempo and his unyielding resilience earned him a distinct fourth position…quite belying the 20-1 odds initially assigned him by unsuspicious bookmakers who just couldn’t envision Amberleigh’s forthcoming shocker!

The great sporting hour may have not been as inspiring for one fairly well-known David Casey, whose suddenly overtired mount suddenly crashed to the turf. Hedgehunter wasn’t in any fit shape to bring his unfortunate rider much glory that round, either. Casey must have been ruing this certainly off-putting early exist, when the strangely untiring Graham Lee and Amberleigh House simultaneously shot onto the hectic horizon, amid ear-deafening cheers and the soaring gun-blazing chants heralding their colossal success.

The familiar die had by now been cast to yield flawless honours for diligent Lee, by the look of things. Liam Cooper and Clan Royal had put up a truly admirable fight throughout the spirited trail, though. In fact, it’s been correctly remarked that the number-two contender executed a couple of near-perfect theatrics, many of these worthy manoeuvres being clearly evidenced at sundry junctures close to the end of the long, tortuous circuit.

For instance, Cooper desperately tried to ‘manually’ coax great mount in a trademark less panicky fashion, some few strides toward the track’s stop…having shortly lost his whip someplace within the monumentally testing course. This came out as a historically stunning effort with incredibly good results, happily. And although the would-be titleholder fell three lengths short of the ultimate jackpot, grateful posterity will definitely not take for granted this marvellous display of unparalleled horseracing talent.

When reached for media comments moments after this proud accomplishment, McCain, then 73, said that he actually felt too advanced in years for such rare sporting honours. The April day’s breathtaking sensation notwithstanding, the globally admired idol will live to remember more commendable wins of earlier times – his Red Rum’s terrific performance that had enchanted equine-gaming fans 27 years before, for example.

Senior McCain also disclosed his pre-match doubts as to whether Graham Lee’s real sportsmanlike potential would offer much that seemingly bootless season. The iconic equine enthusiast modestly confiding the truth that he hadn’t really looked forward to such a splendid result…even though he well knew that there was a little embarrassment to expect from the hardworking jockey’s steely determination. And with enough shining laurels to his belt as a thrice-winning trainer, he supposedly hadn’t seen a fourth title coming his humble way.

Further, on Amberleigh’s commendable achievement, the experienced racecourse doyen described the triumphant horse as a thoroughly “professional” and “positive” runner…philosophizing that the phenomenal triumph was an indeed well-deserved international milestone after a long, patiently-borne phase of intensive racetrack instruction.

Elsewhere, worldwide sports paparazzi caught an overexcited Lee relishing a thrilling armchair ride in celebration of the praiseworthy milestone just accomplished. The charming jockey extolled his newly garlanded ride for the “faultless gallop” he’d kept throughout the notoriously treacherous circuit.

For a brief upshot of the day’s most noteworthy happenings, Graham Lee and Amberleigh House won the race by a notable distance of three lengths, spiritedly tailed by Liam Cooper’s Clan Royal. The third slot went to Lord Atterbury – ridden by Mark Bradburne, a hard-trying 40-1 pair who shattered limiting odds to earn themselves a memorable name in the proud English racing fraternity.

Monty’s Pass and Barry Geraghty came fourth, while Spot Thedifference finished in the fifth place. The mighty annual clash featured the usual field of 40 competitors. Some of the prominent non-finishers comprised David Casey’s Hedgehunter and Takagi’s ill-fated run that officially removed Davy Russell’s name from the day’s golden list. The great event’s cumulative prize monies totalled £600,000, with the overall champion getting a glittering £348,000.

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Love the Grand National...

Who doesn't enjoy the greatest steeplechase in the world? The Aintree Grand National, Liverpool. A race like no other. Its glory captured in brave horses and riders exemplified in the triple victories of Redrum trained by Ginger McCain. This website details all the horses, trainers, jockeys and owners who over the centuries have made this race what it is today. Enjoy the Grand National Directory in keeping you informed.   

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Jolly Old Hedgehunter Victorious For Willie Mullins

Hedgehunter wins Grand National
After a couple of comparatively unsuccessful showings in the annually staged Grand National championships at Liverpool’s famous Aintree Racecourse, 2005 turned out to be a really lucky year for Ruby Walsh. Walsh attained an arguably impossible marvel by riding the largely little-known Willie Mullins-trained 9-year-old named Hedgehunter to scoop the momentous competition’s yearly awarded top-jockey title. The well-known champion also simultaneously brought Trevor Hemmings a great deal of fame as the event’s best-performing horse owner.

Nevertheless, it was all a rather fluky affair as all this gracious history would have been absolutely unwritten, had not the front-running Clan Royal’s excellent canter met with ill luck at the epochal Becher’s Brook….All in all, it’s all now an utterly futile case of one crying over the proverbial water that’s already oh-so-painfully but irretrievably spilt!

This year’s Grand National racing combat marked the 158th edition of the universally followed John Smith’s Grand National, due to sponsorship reasons. Featuring the traditional field of 40 contesters, the annual tourney attracted an extravagant lump-sum of £406,000 – a variously coveted bounty routinely set aside for the ultimate winner. The proud organizing bench had, in fact, availed an overall £700,000 as the cumulative reward kitty for the leading finishers.

A previous 7-1 shot, Hedgehunter pulled off a decisive victory of a thumping 14 lengths, thus completing the traditionally set circuit by an astonishingly historical timing of 9 minutes plus 21 seconds. Despite the outstanding performance, Ruby Walsh’s unyielding mount won the tough race under the unforgiving pursuit of the fiercely jackpot-chasing Royal Auclair…an indeed untiring 40-1 shot who would have reasonably outdone the leading pair had hard fate not so miserably worked against their tremendous hard work.

Separately, an even more unlikely trier – the 66-1 runner named Simply Gifted wowed Aintree’s totally staggered watchers when he beat all overwhelming odds to brilliant third finish.

One of the unmistakable aspects that made the 2005 equine gaming meet especially unforgettable is that the showpiece was moved back by about 25 minutes…this record-making rescheduling sought to avoid a time clash with the widely attended nuptial ceremonies of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

The 2005 National also made an outstanding record in terms of human and equine safety ratings. Although the Frenchman’s Creek was retired shortly after the showdown’s hectic conclusion, there was at least something quite unique that organizers could really smile about. For the first time in many decades, slightly over half of the competing horses went back to the stables safely…the participating jockeys, similarly, were uncommonly fortunate to leave the renowned sporting battleground each in a rare, perfect physical frame.

Again, the history-making Forest Gunner’s rider generated a huge deal of international interest among the older game’s fans and pundits alike. The resilient female jockey Carrie Ford – had earlier enjoyed great publicity as a possible first-ever lady rider to bag the legendary National. However, forecast fortune eluded her some way or other – and the erstwhile inspiring racer only managed a rather lacklustre position five.

It seems all this overrated hype had emanated from the vastly regarded equestrian-gaming heroine’s and her comparably enigmatic runner’s excellent showings in a few preceding tournaments. As fate would have it, these glossy accolades in less momentous riding battles weren’t well replicated that day. As the actual titanic tussle came to a close, it eventually turned out that a less-shimmering fifth finish was the only solace destiny had had in store for the awesome duo, initially sent off as a prospective second-favourite.

Another memorable oddity that characterized the fantastic occasion was the sheer vast hordes in attendance. Reliable statistical evidence accurately put the final day’s crowd size at 70,850 – plus the cumulative 151,660 that graced the entire 72-hour-long gathering.

Dependable sources also show that the towering showpiece’s crowd numbers can only be outdone by those of the prominent 1997 Monday National, Aintree’s largest multitudes that ever attended any English racing meet in the whole history of this noble sport.

Despite the earlier National edition’s figures seeming significantly bigger, this one proved to be a doubtless more competitive scuffle. Each of the 40 contestants appeared way fiercely more aggressive than ever before. As some of the watching pundits following the spirited fight famously remarked, all participating pair looked strikingly well-prepared and gallant enough.

These well-verified claims are further resoundingly corroborated by Hedgehunter’s superior record. For the uninformed, the jackpot-winning horse happened to break the long-preexisting 11-stone mark that day…and thus became the first triumphing sprinter to try and effectively smash under-11st-1lb-runner record that had stood stoutly unshaken for a thumping 22 years!

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Gordon Richards Jubilant As Silver Birch Wins 2007 Grand National

Silver Birch Grand National Winner 2007
There was a bracing stir at Liverpool’s famed Aintree Racecourse, as the Irish-bred Silver Birch colourfully grabbed the 2007 Grand National title. The proud result of Gordon Eliot’s training prowess, the ‘foreign’ horse took other more weathered runners by surprise. 

Incidentally, it was Robbie Power who opted to test his luck with the modest placed at the vaguely unpromising odds of 33-1…and it was utterly unbelievable to see the fine galloper maintain a steady leading pace immediately he went past the epochal Elbow. 

The 2007 edition’s conqueror prevailed against ferociously concerted attempts at thwarting his historical record. Among the toughest chasers who presented a brutal challenge included renowned names such as McKelvey (12/1), Slim Pickings (33/1) and the unexpectedly successful Philson Run (100/1). 

The bouncy 10-year-old had earlier won the Welsh Grand National back in 2004, then under the intense tutelage of Paul Nicholls - a worth-mentioning English equine-training superman. Some months to the 2005 Aintree National, Silver Birch had been touted as the ante-post favourite but all hope vanished when the venerated candidate suffered incapacitating injuries a short while before the event’s actual staging that April. 

As a result, the glory-seeking raider must have joined the 2007 version with a retaliatory passion and illimitable energy, eager to reclaim the rare honours fate had denied him two years before…and his reasonably revived alacrity more than paid off with a foot-perfect act that left rivals writhing under a really humiliating defeat. 

According to immediate sports news reports, the winning sprinter appears to have embarked on the momentous tussle in a calculatingly deft style that dodged the furious attention of key opponents. Apparently, he kept travelling in an unobtrusively great fashion – all along keeping a close eye on evident frontrunners such as Naunton Brook and Bewleys Berry. 

As the lethal confrontation rapidly neared the finishing mark, Silver Birch was seen to loom progressively larger on Slim Pickings’ swiftly dashing heels. The calculative mount, however, gained a sudden advantage over the former as the fast-galloping set whooshed past the second-last fence. And the rest became history, as they often say. 

Whilst Slim Pickings tried to really rally against this spanking antagonism, it was McKelvey who actually gave the year’s champion more gruelling opposition. The thinly-spaced duelers maintained a cutthroat trail up to the final mark – with the seemingly less lucky combatant falling behind by a historic ¾ lengths! 

Yet, a win is a win; and a loss is never a victory – it became just another close-shave deal thus irretrievably ‘done’. McKelvey had, however, come home with something worth a smile, since the second place in such an important battle isn’t that bad, after all. 

A panting moment after sealing the admirable record, rider Robbie Power told BBC reporters that the nasty match’s upshot was to him quite ‘unbelievable’. Power had, in fact, enjoyed every little inch of the long-established Aintree circuit. These revealing comments can be gleaned from his post-victory interviews by various media crews so restlessly gadding about for the juiciest stuff for their worldwide screens and newspaper folios. 

Of particular emphasis is the prizewinning jockey’s inestimable praise for his loyal mount who had just managed creditably ‘great’ jumps and pace throughout the race. 

Elsewhere, the newly-crowned racing hero disclosed Gordon Richards’s prior misgivings that the layup as early as was ever so crucially obligatory. All the same, the gifted racer rejoiced now that he had overwhelmingly put the slightly cynical trainer’s worries to rest. In a rather strange blow-by-blow clarity of detail, the animated champ narrated the stimulating bits characterizing the enormous fight…saying he’d indeed severally thrown a stealthy peek at his arch-rival (Tom O’Brien, atop McKelvey), especially when the two careered ruthlessly fast toward the straight…whom Power admits having seen tearing ahead as swiftly as ‘anything else”.

As for the once-sceptical Gordon Richards, the big day’s top trainer merrily remarked that the hard-fighting horse had legitimately upset his initial scepticism. The blissful owner Brian Walsh confided that he’d at first entertained some chilling qualms some candidate or other might blight the ultimate crown…but, as the first two contenders entered the concluding stretch, he started to rule out any remote possibilities of McKelvey ruining the almost-attained glory. 

To quickly wrap up the day’s major racetrack happenings, here’s an orderly roll of the top 5 performers: Silver Birch/Robbie Power (£399,140), McKelvey/Tom O’Brien (£149,730), Slim Pickings/Barry Geraghty (£74,970), Philson Run/Daryl Jacob (£37,380), and Libertine/Sam Waley-Cohen (£18,760). Last of all, Point Barrow, Livingstone Bramble, and Graphic Approach were some of the famous event’s most prominent non-finishers.

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