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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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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Numbersixvalverde Wins the 2006 Grand National

Numbersixvalverde Wins the 2006 Grand National
Maintaining a foot-perfect gallop from the start to finish, Numbersixvalverde added a yet another racing feat to his the gradually brightening scorecard. That was at Aintree – during the seasonally held John Smith’s Grand National championships at Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse in England. Literally ‘hurtling’ past many more recognized previous champs, in the sure hands of Niall Madden, the excellent performance won a rare name for training ace Martin Brassil, too…and, well, it left Bernard Carroll (the owner) with a stupendous reason to wear a smile, also.

After sealing the grand record, a noticeably overjoyed Brassil yelled an ecstatic “Unbelievable!” He gleefully joked that the resoundingly cheering outcome wouldn’t have been any different, had he been earlier asked to draw an own script of how he’d have wanted the face-off to unfold. Even though it was Niall’s maid round to traverse those unfamiliar fences, he essentially did it like a real pro. Full of gratitude to fans and friends and his greatly supportive close contacts, Brassil hardly prevaricated as he heartily acknowledged the outstanding jockey’s wonderful dash to fame and gold. As for the reactions of the well ‘over-the-moon’ Niall “Slippers”, the invincible rider cordially confessed that he had been a bit jittery as he began to tackle the entirely untried local fences. He nevertheless disclosed that viewed the amazing outcome as an ‘unbelievably brilliant’ blend of sheer gallantry and good fortune alike. By the winsome look abruptly stealing into his whole anxious manner, the conquering jockey’s huge appreciation to his tenacious mount could seemingly hardly find enough expression in mere uttered words.

The new titleholder could be heard breathlessly relating the nervous particulars characterizing the mad dash as a ‘dream ride’ and a ‘perfect sprint’, interchangeably. Now a justifiably adored equestrian-gaming buff ever since, the Grand National hero appeared totally overcome with absolute tearful joy. As the officiating crew signalled the epic battle’s nervous start rather forebodingly, the 2006’s racing idol seemed quite unable to predict the shimmering excellence that awaited him.

In spite of the general fact that the staggeringly successful horse put up a spirited fight from the very outset, he didn’t establish a clear advantage the second-ranking Hedgehunter until the two challengers entered the concluding lengths. As the scarcely projected vanquisher boldly bolted toward the final mark, his rare display of impenetrable stamina must have astounded an even more venerated competitor – the severally feted Tony McCoy.

The eternally admired McCoy’s resilient mount, Clan Royal, had by now sustained too much exhaustion to present any significant challenge to the first-ranked pair. Finishing fourth and fairly far behind Niall’s six-length victory, Nil Desperandum and Tommy Treacy didn’t have a really good reason to cry much, either.

There was a bit of drama within the first lap as five abrupt fallers arose in a nippy succession. Some of the unlucky horses caught up in these early falls include the well-backed Juveigneur and Innox. Also permanently immobilized at this initial phase was the 2005 runner’s up – the bets-favored Royal Auclair. Just In Debt and Ross Comm also dropped out shortly after, promptly trashing all the wild hopes optimistic wagers had guinea-pigged on the unfortunate racetrack star.

And then there were a few ‘early retirees’, as knowing equine sporting insiders so logically call them…and in this category was Lord of Illusion – who had by this time inspired a good measure of tolerable optimism with a finely choreographed fist-lap run. Racing nerds have fiercely blamed the fallen giant’s disappointing lack of success on the heavy rains that had just pounded the then-soggy Aintree grounds. Then there was Cornish Rebel and Amberleigh House – well ably endowed shots who would have simply bent the arcs of all racing history, had fate not so furiously worked against the justly deserving duo.

The second lap was as well dogged by a few unceremonious blunders that roped in well-known names like Ballycassidy, who ended up rather dismally. Close watchers confirmed that the remarkable horse had already pulled off a six-length lead but got abruptly slowed down by a brief crash that robbed him of what would have been a truly historical finish.

The final six-horse cluster comprised real veterans like Native Upmanship and Rince Ri. Elsewhere along the last lengths, First Gold threw off its hapless rider in the momentarily tortuous course of the fast unfolding closing tussle. Therealbandit might have smiled all the way to the ultimate jackpot, were it not for the goofy fall-back that saw him much of his initial agility right at the very juncture he needed it more than ever before. A large number of renowned equestrian opinion-makers describe the day’s success as having been altogether dependent on a galloper’s hardiness, then general dashing skill. Since a persistent downpour had pounded the slimy turf for several hours before, it was one’s ‘appreciation’ of the waterlogged ground that mattered most – according to assorted remarks voiced by leading members of the historically respected English racing punditry.

Hence, it wasn’t any big wonder to see the unrelenting Numbersixvalverde finish way ahead of his mercilessly sludge-crippled pursuers. After all, the same valiant runner’s past titles had all been earned on either much more or slightly less marshy areas.

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Mon Mome Wins Grand National At Odds of 100/1

Mon Mome wins Grand National 2009
Proficiently trained by Venetia Williams, the nine-year-old Mon Mome began to slowly overtake his closest challengers, one by one, and lastly gained adequate momentum to triumph in the 2009 Grand National. This was an extraordinarily unique first for the odd shot, his maiden success in what’s generally known as the John Smith’s Grand National, in customary commemoration of the event’s corporate sponsors.

Besides the scenic sights and exuberant sounds that conventionally describe the annual challenge, it was all but Liam Treadwell’s stunning conquest that decently wrapped up the 162nd unveiling of the ageless Grand National equine steeplechase. Pretty predictably, the yearly racing battle was colourfully staged at the old Aintree Racecourse, located within the characteristically busy Liverpudlian environs in England.

The noteworthy equestrian duel took place on 4 April 2009 and featured the usual 40-horse clutter that included celebrated names like Ruby Walsh and Timmy Murphy. Commonly viewed as a hard-to-surprise outsider before the showpiece kicked off, the deceptively self-effacing French-trained wonder finally surprised all…everyone was evidently caught off-guard as the astonishing rookie vigorously sprung over the closing stretches to a genuinely superlative finish.

The out-of-the-ordinary finish surprised the entire throng jostling for an eyeful of the century-old chase. Complete wonderment swept across the cheering sidelines as Mon Mome impeccably sprinted toward the Elbow, before dashing swiftly past the yesteryear’s champion Comply or Die, establishing a decisive win by a thumping 12 lengths! The lucky jockey piloting the finely practised mount – the then chiefly unfamiliar Liam Treadwell aged 23 – suddenly won himself a grand stint of glittering fame.

In fact, this became a particularly incredible record for the tender equestrian sports chap, especially noting the truth that he implausibly outdid exceptionally consummate racing giants like Paul Nicholls and Paul Moloney, with the former commanding a not-so-inspiring fourth position.

Then a recently crowned Hennessy Gold Cup champion, State of Play had rather faintly eclipsed Nicholls’ My Will to scoop a fairly prestigious third finish. By his evident excitement upon the rare marvel at Aintree, the winning racer’s mirthful mien easily confirmed that he really delighted in his newfound celebrity status as one of the youngest grabbers of the highly coveted Grand National title.

A tremendously deserving entry worth several honourable mentions – the immortal Tony McCoy (of course!)- was also competing. However, his disappointingly luckless mount (Butler’s Cabin) ended up unsuccessfully, instantly jeopardizing the numberless high-stake bets faithfully wagered by sufficiently confident equine gaming aficionados. Actually, the suddenly ill-fated pair technically ‘failed’ to participate in the animated chase as they suffered two false starts.

In some way, it was a Young Turk’s turn to join the esteemed ranks of illustrious veterans of the olden gallant game that include the impossible McCoy and the timeless Walsh…it Liam Treadwell’s and his faithful exotic runner’s round to taste their record Aintree grandeur. It was an absolutely ‘powerful statement’, so to use the juvenile champ’s own words proudly voiced in a hysterical post-victory interview session with worldwide sports journalists.

Notably, the demonstrably soaring novice congratulated the dauntless horse’s sturdy speed right from the outset, saying that he’d well tolerably maintained a perfect pace up to the magical winning mark.

Following the fantastic performance, Treadwell gently quipped that the awesome feeling then coursing all through his entire little being was simply ‘immense’…modestly admitting that the heroic feat’s excitement had not yet sunk in; and that all he had to say was that it was all ‘plain unbelievable’. Deservedly applauding Mon Mome’s mid-course tenacity, the agitated jockey was all praises for his remarkably plucky runner.

The oddly successful victor had just broken an utterly winless racing spell as a fledgeling professional rider…and he for sure had every good reason to laud his attention-grabbing mount, adoringly describing him as an unyielding conqueror who was ever ‘so genuine’! As the media interviewing excitedly went on, the blossoming starter cheerily repeated that the dashing 9-year-old was to him an ‘absolute pleasure’ to steer across the appallingly testing circuit. The patently fortunate beginner admitted that he hadn’t known just how far ahead of the other competitors he was and that it all struck him a most sensational surprise in the end.

A sizable share of this newfound delight was Venetia Williams’, too; as she happened to have trained the starring horse in question. The mainly unsophisticated trainer hadn’t even dreamed of managing such an excellent act, going by her jovial press statements. While she’d previously entertained the optimistic prospect of enjoying some modest fame someday, it just hadn’t occurred to her that she would soon top the ultimate charts.

Befittingly lauding the bold product of her supposedly inexperienced hands, Venetia Williams exceedingly commended Liam’s terrific job. What's more, the freshly coroneted equine instructor threw a well-merited morsel of congrats to the unnamed lass who took care of the fêted horseback in the domestic yards.

Ms Williams dodged the ever-luring lure to conceitedly claim all the glory and humbly explained the grand victory as a flawlessly executed team task – a rather joint effort whereby all hardworking participants merited a worthy piece of the resultant fame. And she concluded the media briefing by issuing a generous pat-on-the-back to David Johnson – the unforgettable man who owned the second-best horse.

And on his part, Johnson reciprocated these bighearted remarks – maintaining that his little team was reportedly ‘happy enough’ to have emerged second in the star-packed clash just successfully concluded.

To cap it all off, here, below, highlighted are the first 5 contesting pairs…and in the exact order of their crossing the finishing line and monetary prizes: Mon Mome/Liam Treadwell (£506,970), Comply Or Die/Timmy Murphy (£190,980), My Will/Ruby Walsh (£95,580), State of Play/Paul Moloney (£47,790), and Cerium/Keith Mercer (£23,940).

Comply Or Die Win Grand National 2008 for David Pipe

Comply Or Die wins Grand National 2008
In an extra-colourful show of skill at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool in England, David Pipe’s Comply Or Die gave Timmy Murphy an uncommonly splendid Grand National victory. The 7-1 joint favourite managed a four-length distance from the unyielding King Johns Castle (adeptly ridden by Paul Carberry) who’s entered the annual equestrian battle at the odds of 20-1. 

Vigorously trailing the two champs was David Casey, atop the sprightly Snowy Morning (16-1), who finished a further one-and-a-half length behind, thus scooping a third-place share of the joint bounty of £450,640. 

The reasonably gritty Slim Pickings grabbed a fourth-place – well ably pushed by the naturally unbeatable Barry Geraghty. The most top-voted favourite, initially – Donald McCain’s (Jr.) Cloudy Lane – loyally handed Jason Maguire a distant position 6; an actually common disappointment shared by roughly all top-ranked candidates in the history of this momentous twelve-monthly contest. 

Despite all the quite-memorable sights and sounds hereabove highlighted, it’s indeed David Pipe who had the greatest reason to rejoice… 

The dexterous 9-year-old hadn’t given out any sign that he would manage such a brave accomplishment in the end. Many of Aintree’s spectators grew visibly bamboozled only when Murphy lastly urged his heroic mount to put a rather swift seal on the entire tussle. Consequently, the resulting move was Murphy’s awesome chance to prevail in the popular Grand National events, after some 11 fairly unsuccessful attempts. 

In his own words, the only just crowned winner owned up that he could hardly believe that he had eventually achieved the loftiest desire of his life – clinching England’s loftiest racing honours. Further, the joyous rider said that the basically talented runner seemed to have gained a surprising increase in momentum someplace along the very final stretches. 

Timmy Murphy additionally opined that he was incredibly happy for his boss David Johnson and trainer David Pipe for both of them had hopefully looked forward to succeeding in that crucial tournament. He assertively added that there was nothing as inspiring as excelling in such an important event and that he truly felt immensely relieved to secure the towering title after so many unfruitful trials. Pipe’s father was equally proud of his son’s tremendous triumph. 

The ecstatic father joked that it had supposedly taken him an entire lifetime to accomplish the very lofty feat that his enthusiastic son had pulled off at such an unbelievably tender age. While still partially regarding the great success as some chiefly providential happenstance, the older Pipe said that the younger chap appeared to have put in a great deal of toil into his adequately seminal career. 

Ultimately, the senior Pipe like a real pro congratulating a fellow Grand Nation hero, 1994 wrapped up his profuse praises for the illustrious jokey rather professionally. He curtly pronounced the fact that the junior Pipe’s topnotch racetrack wonder altogether merited all England’s and the world’s most passionate accolades. 

Separately, there was a distinctive spectacle as a rare big number of horses scuffled in a thickly clustered commotion toward the finish. Other than the top four finishers, some of the conspicuous fighters in this tough four-miler contention included prominent names such as Chelsea Harbour and Bewleys Berry. Interestingly, King Johns Castle was calculatingly hacking some sly paces behind the vehemently jostling clutter, desperately striving to outdo one another a marked distance ahead. 

Timmy Murphy looked like a real sneaky fox, somehow unwilling to strike the sensitive button unnecessarily early enough to rouse any unwarranted hostilities. It was not until the renowned Elbow point did Comply Or Die lastly prove to be a reliably impenetrable contender. All were caught largely unaware as this odd title-winning galloper speedily dashed over the second-to-last obstacle. 

Given that finding a real pick to the front in the Grand National is a far elusive business, David Pipe will always gratefully pride himself on this 2008 success. It will also be an enduring exploit for the exceptionally eminent owner David Johnson. While his later equestrian gaming shots might prove generally uninspiring, he’ll at least be eternally indebted to the young but illustrious Pipe, and maybe also to the whole great crew that includes the excellent Timmy Murphy. 

Speaking to a horde of curious sports journalists upon carrying out the extraordinarily fabulous deed at Aintree, Pipe is cited as saying that he’d, in fact, started viewing Comply the winning horse as a hot-cake candidate he surprisingly prevailed in the recently ended clash for the prestigious Eider title. Observing the then fledgeling star’s fine gallops and jumps, said the new prizewinning trainer, he’d confidently deemed him a potentially award-winning sprinter well deserving a try in the then forthcoming National edition.

And as Johnson assuredly passed the dual Grade-2 favourite to the regularly scrupulous Timmy Murphy, he knowledgeably felt a certain innately convincing hunch that the outcome wouldn’t be that disappointing, at any rate, And it was exactly so! 

As the record-smashing miler began to steadily outdo each of his close challengers – one after the other, pretty agreeably and systematically – the suddenly emboldened David Pipe acknowledged to have secretly commenced thinking about his rapidly brightening chances of replicating his father’s majestic act at the same venue, many nostalgic years back - during the 1994 editions of the very indescribably ruthless clash in progress. 

In fact, the fresh title-holding trainer confirmed that he’d already determined that his product would win the race a rather long way out – allegedly having earlier noted the tellingly intrepid way the courageous creature was faithfully earning an unfailing extra ounce of momentum as he lurched ever nearer to the magical closing mark. 

But the unforgettable equine coach didn’t entirely believe that the year’s topmost tribute would really come his way until the furiously concerted chase extended to the Elbow juncture. Strategically huddled within the unknowing masses watching on the big, surreal screen, maybe for some sort of convenience’s sake (for easier access by celebrating fans and shoulder-patting officials in the event of a ‘fluky’ win), the blissfully stunned equine instructor was eventually seen rushing to give a congratulatory hug to the likewise overwhelmed Murphy. 

So the mammoth partying went on, as is the immortal post-victory custom every April at Aintree…the fresh champs and prized confidants and top facilitators all headed to a nearby pub to celebrate the superb record the heroic pair just set. And, in the brief course of this little itinerary from the racetrack to the small ball venue, deafeningly congratulating fans lined up the neighbouring streets to bestow their hearty kudos on David Pipe and the rest of the peerless party.

Indeed, this was a supremely colourful occasion like no other for the apparently frequently blooming son of a legendary sporting titan. Also, without any iota of flattery, a really towering precedent of no cheap repute throughout the present-day horseracing sorority!

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