Hat-trick Hemmings lands Grand National

Many Clouds (extreme right) takes The Chair on the way to winning the National
Many Clouds (extreme right) takes The Chair on the way to winning the National
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Lancashire businessman Trevor Hwemmings won his third Crabbies Grand National at Aintree when Many Clouds, a 25-1 shot, put up a tenacious performance to win the £1 million chase.

In the process, the eight-year-old, ridden by Leighton Aspell and trained by Oliver Sherwood, dashed the dreams of AP McCoy.

Riding in his final National, McCoy’s mount was in contention turning back on to the racecourse proper, but faded to finish a brave fifth.

It was another Red Letter Day for Hemmings, the one-time owner of Blackpool Tower, who had won the race previously with Hedgehunter and Ballabriggs.

It was the second win in succession for Aspell - the last rider to win back-to-back Nationals was Red Rum’s pilot Brian Fletcher in 1974.

Aspell won the National last year with Pineau De Re, who was unplaced this year.

Many Clouds, sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, tired from the elbow, but had enough in reserve to hold off Saint Are, with Monbeg Dude third and Alvarado fourth.

The bookies were delighted that Shutthefrontdoor, who was the favourite, could not provide McCoy with a fitting National send-off.

Bookmaker Paddy Power said: “Thankfully for the bookies Many Clouds was a gift from the Gods and saved the industry £60 million.”

Aspell said: “It was wonderful and we will certainly celebrate tonight. I asked some big questions, but he dug deep.

“We really refreshed and recharged his battery, and I tried to conserve energy. He is all heart - all season he has had hard races.

“Win lose or draw, that’s the best ride I have had in the National. I just hoped his battery life lasted out and it did. “

Sherwood said: “I can’t believe it - it was some spin. All I wanted was the horse to come back in one piece.

“He was foot-perfect and didn’t make a mistake. I thought it was a year too soon, but he was fit and healthy and it was Trevor’s decision - he must get all the credit.

“The horse has been unbelievable all season, he has blossomed all year - he just got out of bed the wrong way in the Gold Cup.

“I didn’t show him any National fences on purpose, I thought he had just gone over the top before the Gold Cup.”

Hemmings said: “Seriously, it was incredible. You come to the National and you dream that you win it.

“When a third comes along, that is something special. It is a wonderful, wonderful feeling.

“For years and years this race has captured my heart. What a wonderful feeling, you can’t express it.

“Thank you Oliver Sherwood, thank you Leighton and all the staff, and, of course, Aintree.”

Saint Are finished second, also at 25-1, while Monbeg Dude came from a long way back to be third.

Alvarado was fourth for the second year in a row.

Balthazar King came down at the Canal Turn, the fence being by-passed on the second circuit while the horse was being attended.

The horse remained under veterinary assessment in the immediate aftermath.

All the 38 other horses returned apparently unscathed.

Jockey Davy Condon, rider of the faller Portrait King, was taken to hospital for treatment.