Sunday 5 August 2018

Auroras Encore Springs 66-1 Shock Win in 2013 Grand National

Like numerous other races before, the 2013 Grand National availed yet another sensation: Auroras Encore’s totally unpredicted win! Expertly ridden across the historically shortened run-in by the little-known Ryan Mania, it was a real wonder to see the unlikely 66-1 shot beat those impossible odds to win the greatest steeplechase in the world. 

As for the equally obscure winning trainer – Sue Smith, the incredibly lucky wife of the once-popular show jumper and TV celebrity Harvey Smith – a pretty atypical set of firsts seems to have been triply established during that year’s John Smith’s Grand National… 

Unlike previous years, Aintree’s officiating crews were under a lot of pressure to guarantee extra safety as a result of the two fatalities that had occurred over the preceding days. With softened spruce fences, the steeplechase had no casualties. 

For example, the race featured no fallers and no jockey got unseated over the first seven fences. In fact, all runners returned sound to the stables without injury. 

The 2013 starting arrangements also appeared to have undergone a raft of uniquely impressive alterations. Owing to the final chase’s uncommonly swift and trouble-free start, it was quite hard for a vast number of Aintree onlookers to witness the actual start. Many surprised to discover that the eagerly awaited start had already commenced somewhat unnoticed. Thus, only a small percentage of the crowd could believe it when they saw Auroras Encore pulling clear of Cappa Bleu and Teaforthree – who finished second and third, respectively. 

The once-promising 11-2 favorite, Seabass, irrecoverably ruined the decent winning odds for female jockey Katie Walsh. Ruby Walsh was also another prospective victor who had been ranked among possible finishers – but his bright chances grew markedly duller on the second circuit. Barely managing three additional fences beyond his previous year’s dismal record, the luckless mount suffered an unfortunate fall at the Valentine’s Brook. Furthermore, even the legendary Tony McCoy’s commendably gallant Colbert Station fell terribly short of the coveted jackpot – miserably succumbing to a blunder at The Chair. 

The 40 horses jostled for a £975,000 prize fund, easily making the extremely colorful horse-riding competition Europe’s most money-rewarded jump-race title. Although all the 40 horses returned to the stables largely unharmed, only 17 of the total 40 successfully finished the course. Due to the remarkably improve safety of the course, the race’s top organizing committee quite convincingly described 2013’s as truly one of history’s most well-orchestrated Grand National of the century…Needless to say, the visibly emboldened overseers had apparently succeeded in allaying almost all the pre-race safety fears previously expressed by both concerned fans and animal welfare groups. 

There were additional firsts witnessed in the 2013’s Grand National. For instance, the race was formally televised on Channel 4 after this first-time broadcaster won the live coverage rights for four consecutive years, ending in 2016. Also, 12 of the sixteen Aintree fences were retouched with a more tender material referred to as “plastic birch”. Another of these noteworthy peculiarities was the unprecedented moving of the event’s starting point nearer to the first fence by roughly 90 yards. Indeed, the starting line was not only shifted slightly farther from the spectators’ stands but the total distance was also reduced by a couple of lengths.

In a quick wrap-up, the top three prize recipients were Auroras Encore/Ryan Mania (£547,268), Cappa Bleu/ Paul Moloney (£205,823), and Teaforthree/Nick Scholfield (£102,863). The next two monetary awards went to Oscar Time/Sam Waley-Cohen who won a worthy cash token of £51,383 and, finally, there was a fifth-place reward for Rare Rob/Bryan Cooper amounting to £25,838.

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