Friday 20 July 2018

Many Clouds Touches the Sky for Oliver Sherwood (2015 Grand National Winner)

A fine example of Oliver Sherwood’s unequalled horse-training talents, Many Clouds registered an unsurpassed performance when he was announced the 2015 Grand National winner. The winning jockey - Leighton Aspell – marking his second win in two consecutive years. April 11th proved another triumph for Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, England. 

Leighton Aspell's spectacular win in the 2014 edition – aboard the peerless Pineau de Re a noble feat. The all-conquering horse’s proud owner, Trevor Hemmings, got a share of the immense glory. Grand National aficionado may remember that Hemmings had twice enjoyed success in the 2011 (Ballabriggs) and 2005 (Hedgehunter). 

The elated Sherwood acknowledged having moments of despair when past National chances had disappointed. Very few trainers win the Grand National and even fewer in the early years of their career. 

However, Sherwood isn't your average trainer. However, he wasn't optimistic his ''humble'' novice would defy his 25/1 odds and scoop the loftiest steeplechase crown of all. 

While he personally didn’t consider it prudent to include the young horse, Tremor Hemmings was of a contrary opinion. He urged the largely unwilling trainer that he should try the young rookie, as long as Many Clouds was fit and well.

Thus, the trainer was grateful of Hemmings' repeated requests leading to this historic victory. 

Sherwood’s training prowess first came to light back in the early 1980s. Do you remember a dramatic Hennessy Gold Cup? Arctic Call ridden by none other than Jamie Osborne. 

Additionally, the trainer achieved other rare victories at the 1990 Cheltenham Festival. Sherwood has since received countless accolades as one of the finest trainers in England. In the hard world of horse training, he had lost favour when the likes of Martin Pipe and Paul Nicholls dominated the National Hunt races up and down the country.

Nevertheless, Sherwood's career was embellished by taking the Grand National. Certainly, the victory of Many Clouds’ 2015 win buoyed his confidence. 

Regarding the 2015 Grand National, 98 entrants were made public on 3 February 2015. This marked a lower number against the 115 applicants who had declared the previous year. Additional reductions effected on March 24 and April 9 finally saw the field consequently shrink to the routine 40 contestants. 

The race featured an unusually large number of fallers – including Balthazar King and Ballycasey (ridden by the famous jockey, Ruby Walsh). Millions of punters were hoping the long-time legend, Tony McCoy, would be successful. However, his ride fell short of stamina and thus labored home to a lackluster 5th place. Instead, the event’s much-sought £561,300 prize went to Leighton Aspell; the only champion jockey to secure two consecutive Grand National titles since Brian Fletcher aboard Red Rum in 1973 and 1974. 

The runner-up was grabbed by Saint Are, ridden by Paddy Brennan who ultimately claimed a tidy £211,100. Other noteworthy performers included Monbeg Dude/Liam Treadwell (3rd slot), Alvarado (mounted by Paul Moloney), and Shutthefrontdoor/Tony McCoy.

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