Wednesday 3 October 2018

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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