Pineau jumps to National glory

Pineau De Re crosses the last on his way to winning the National
Pineau De Re crosses the last on his way to winning the National
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The 25-1 outsider Pineau De Re won the first-ever £1 million Crabbie’s Grand National after an incident-packed race at Aintree

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 in a race where a lot of the fancied contenders, Teaforthree, Tidal Bay, Trio D’Alene and Long Run among them, fell by the wayside.

The race was a triumph for trainer Dr Richard Newland and jockey Leighton Aspell.

Pineau De Re 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 memorable five-length victory.

Balthazar King, winner of the Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham 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 continued: “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.”

Despite the fact there was plenty of grief, Aintree officials were happy to report that all the horses and jockeys were ‘fine’ after the race.

There was drama at the start when there were two false starts, but they got away at the third attempt to a huge roar from the crowd.

One of the field, Battle Group, planted himself at the start and refused to race.

Forty horses started, but only 18 completed the course, showing that despite modifications to the fences the National is still a searching examination of horse and rider.

Jockey Jack Doyle was given a 12-day suspension by the stewards for, in their view, failing to pull up a horse who was clearly exhausted in Wayward Prince, who fell at the third-last.