Saturday 11 August 2018

Neptune Collonges Wins the Grand National for Paul Nicholls

The historically much-sought Grand National prize has had a rather notorious trend for horses winning by a whisker. And this perfectly bizarre tradition seems to have become the standard ever since Red Rum narrowly defeated Crisp in 1973. All the same, of all these year-to-year surprises, very few can rival what happened at Aintree during the 2012 Grand National… 

Daryl Jacob rode Neptune Collonges from a seemingly impossible position to win the historic race – eclipsing two more fancied opponents - Sunnyhillboy and McLernon! 

With nothing but a grass blade separating the two foremost horses, the history-making horse wowed everyone as he deftly outran the visibly confounded Richie McLernon. It was a magical moment celebrated by a cheering crowd. 

It was one of few races in the history of this race to win by a ‘nose’! Neptune Collonges scooped the prize of £547,267.50. 

A total of 40 runners set out for in the fiercely contested jackpot. It was an race which saw two horses die: Synchronised and According to Pete. In fact, only 23 out of the 40 horses went beyond the first circuit, as a terrible string of falls summarily threw the rest out of the tough challenge. Some of the fancied runners who departed the tussle at the iconic Becher’s Brook included Organisedconfusion, West End Rocker, and the originally favourite Junior. 

Neptune Collonges kept an inconspicuous mid-division place throughout much of the race. The first-time champion didn’t command a prominent position until On His Own and According to Pete fatally gave out at the Becher’s Brook. After, unstoppably advancing horse stealthily crept toward the pack, ahead of the last-ditch clash. 

Neptune Collonges and cunning jockey undoubtedly deserve much praise for their tactical judgment of the slowly unfolding battle…or, at least, so it would seem to any race fan watching their mastery from the sidelines. 

Whereas the title-winning Paul Nicholls had previously bagged a number of other substantial feats, he had not yet grabbed an Aintree title until that fortunate April of 2012. Despite consistently fronting a whopping 52 runners, his appears to have been some chiefly luckless piece of diligent hard work. Prior to the inconceivably razor-thin victory, the trainer hadn’t managed anything better than a single second place. 

Satirically downplaying the incontrovertible truth that the outcome may have as well easily tilted to the closest rival’s favor, Nicholls extolled his patently lucky jockey as a true racing ace…who had supposedly pulled off nothing short of a glass-clear lead over a purportedly ‘less able’ contestant. 

Even so, he sort of sounded mildly convinced that the nose victory was a windfall. Nonetheless, this thinly guised admittance did tremendously little to trim the now fame-emboldened horseman’s unbridled mirth and his just re-affirmed faith in the victorious runner and its rider. 

Nicholls’s trademark utterances might be mistaken for conceited vanity; especially if you’re an excusably sympathizing devotee of McLernon’s…You thus might have considered his saying that his otherwise fluky runner happened to touch the magical line ahead of the nearest rival. And if you bitterly disagree with the celebrated equine coaching legend, just try to reckon the prize difference the controversially narrow ‘nose’ victory secured - £547,267.50 compared to £205,822.50… Verdict: actually not as tiny as it might so misleadingly sound at first! 

Separately, Katie Walsh managed a sterling third place and prize money of £102,862.50, riding the quite talented Seabass. Cappa Blue and Paul Moloney weren’t too far from victory, either. The 4th-ranking duo took home a substantial £51,382.50, closely chased by Niall Madden, who successfully shepherded the relatively experienced In Compliance to a moderately encouraging £25,837 – a comparatively fair feat, especially factoring in the whole fact that the resilient brace actually outshone 35 other well-practiced participants!

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