Monday 8 October 2018

Gordon Richards Jubilant As Silver Birch Wins 2007 Grand National

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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