Irish raider Rule The World stormed to victory in the 2016 Crabbie’s Grand National under 19-year-old jockey David Mullins today (9 April).
It was the nine-year-old gelding’s first win over fences and the horse was bouncing back from some serious setbacks. His jockey — the nephew of top Irish trainer Willie Mullins — was having his first ride in the famous race.
Trainer Mouse Morris enjoyed his first taste of victory in the Crabbie’s Grand National, having also won this year’s Irish Grand National with Rogue Angel.
“It is unbelievable, fairytale stuff,” said Mouse. “He’s had some big issues including two fractured pelvises but I’ve always thought he is the best horse I’ve had. He’s a class horse and even though he was only a maiden he’s been running in some good Grade One races.”
The win culminated a successful season for the gelding’s owner Michael O’Leary of Gigginstown House Stud — following Don Cossack’s triumph in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Carrying 10st 7Ib the Sulamani-sired gelding held off eventual runner-up, the Kim Bailey-trained The Last Samuri, ridden by David Bass, by six lengths.
“Rule The World, what an aptly-named horse. I’ve never had a feeling like this,” said winning jockey David Mullins. “I was getting worried that everything was going to plan, then we hit the fourth-last fence — I was delighted when we got back into a rhythm. I couldn’t give you a word to describe how I feel.”
Following a deluge of rain just before the day’s feature race the ground changed to soft, heavy in places but the 33-1 winner relished the heavier going.
Leighton Aspell, who was bidding for his third consecutive triumph in the Grand National, was always in touch aboard last year’s winner Many Clouds. The top-weighted gelding put in a solid display of jumping before tiring and finishing eventual 16th.
The top placings were mostly dominated by Ireland with the Dermot McLoughlin-trained Vics Canvas finishing third. Irish raiders Gilgamboa, Goonyella and Ucello Conti came home fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
Dual King George VI winner Silviniaco Conti and Black Thunder — who was purchased for £90k by Robert Waley-Cohen for son Sam to ride — both pulled up during the race.
Out of the 39 runners who went to post, 12 were eventually pulled up but all horses and jockeys returned home in one piece.