Pineau De Re wins the Grand National
The 25/1 shot lands big prize for jockey Leighton Aspell and trainer Dr Richard Newland
Pineau De Re goes clear to win the Grand National Steeple at Aintree. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Runners and riders clear the first in the Grand National at Aintree. Photo: Pete Byrne/PA Wire
Brian O’Connell riding Quito De La Roque (C ) clears the Water Jump on the first lap of the tack. Photograph: EPA
Pineau De Re claimed ’s Grand National glory at Aintree for trainer Dr Richard Newland and jockey Leighton Aspell.
The 11-year-old was a 25-1 shot after finishing third in the Pertemps Final over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival and moved into the race travelling powerfully.
He jumped the final fence in a clear lead and his pursuers never looked like bridging the gap as he galloped all the way to the line to secure a momentous five-length victory.
Balthazar King ran a fine race to finish second, ahead of champion jockey Tony McCoy aboard Double Seven. Alvarado stayed on from a long way back to finish fourth.
Aspell, who at one stage had retired from riding, said: ”It’s a wonderful day. This is what we do it for.
”I’ve been watching the National since I was a very young boy.
”As much as you enjoy sharing everyone’s success, you crave a bit too.
”To get a chance to ride in the National is a great thing, and to get on one with a chance is even better.”
Aspell went on: ”I was very conscious that I didn’t want to be in front too soon over four and a half miles.
”He’s a small horse, so he finds jumping hard enough.
”When I got a bit of daylight I knew I’d be fine because that was my only worry, a lack of daylight.
”Once he was in daylight he really enjoyed that part of the race.”
There was a dramatic start to the race as Battle Group’s reluctance to join the other runners led to a false start and when they were given the green light at the second attempt, the Johnny Farrelly-trained nine-year-old again stood motionless and took no part.
Last year’s third and joint-favourite Teaforthree made it as far as The Chair before departing, while another to come to grief when still bowling along towards the front end was former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero and dual King George VI Chase winner Long Run.
Across The Bay led for a long way until almost being carried out by a loose horse as the field headed out for the second circuit, effectively ending his chance of victory.
Aspell took his time aboard Pineau De Re, moving stylishly into contention and never looking like being pegged back once he struck the front.
The Philip Hobbs-trained Balthazar King, winner of the cross-country chase at the Cheltenham Festival, was never too far off the pace, racing down the outside of the field and running a superb race to fill the runner-up spot.
Double Seven, saddled by former Grand National-winning trainer Martin Brassil (Numbersixvalverde, 2006), was the choice of McCoy and he was far from disgraced, beaten a little over six lengths.
Alvarado was never really in contention but flew home for fourth.
For those punters who bet with bookmakers paying out on the first five, Rocky Creek occupied that finishing berth.
All runners and riders were reported to have returned safely.