Jockey Leighton Aspell scored back-to-back Crabbie’s Grand National wins this afternoon (Saturday 11 April), winning aboard the Oliver Sherwood-trained Many Clouds.
The 38-year-old jockey won the race last year, on Dr Richard Newland’s Pineau De Re, who finished 12th in this year’s renewal.
Leighton became the first jockey to secure consecutive wins since Brian Fletcher in 1973/74 on Red Rum and the first since Bryan Marshall in 1953/54 to do it two years running on different horses.
The pair reached the front three out after The Druids Nephew fell, and battled to the line with the Tim Vaughn-trained Saint Are.
“He gave me a super round. I had a good, clear run and a good start,” said Leighton.
“I just wanted him to appreciate the fences and take care with them. He gave me a lovely smooth ride.”
The eight-year-old gelding was the youngest winner of the race since Bindaree in 2002.
Berkshire-based trainer Oliver said that “words couldn’t describe” the feeling after the race.
“He didn’t run his race in the Gold Cup [where he finished sixth], maybe he got out of the wrong side of bed, but there’s been nothing wrong with him since,” he added.
“He’s not seen a National fence before this on purpose. I wanted him fresh.”
Oliver added that owner Trevor Hemmings had been more keen on the race than him.
“Personally I thought this [Grand National] was a year too soon, but what do trainers know,” Oliver said.
“I’m in cloud cuckoo land. I hadn’t had a horse get round the course before this.”
Trevor was celebrating a third win in the famous 4m4f race — after victories with Hedgehunter in 2005 and Ballabriggs in 2011.
“It’s a lovely feeling,” he said. “Someone is looking down on me. Three wins is an incredible feeling.”
The jockey quit the saddle for 18 months in 2007, but was back race-riding in 2009.
“Looking back it [quitting] was a crazy thing to do,” he said. “I’m full of gratitude now for what I do.”
Second was Saint Are at 25-1, third was Monbeg Dude at 40-1. Alvarado was fourth for a second year running.
Hot favourite, Shutthefrontdoor finished fifth, ridden by AP McCoy in his final Grand National.
“After the line AP was full of congratulations,” added Leighton. “He is as good a loser as he is a winner.”
All 39 runners were back on their feet following the race, but Balthazar King continues to remain under assessment.
Davy Condon, rider of Portrait King, was also receiving medical attention.
Photo by Bill Selwyn