Pineau De Re won the 2014 Grand National at Aintree. The 25-1 shot held off the challenge of Balthazar King and the joint favourite of Double Seven and Alvarado to win by five lengths.
The winning jockey was 37-year-old Leighton Aspell and he timed his run to the front of the pack superbly in the latter stages. Owned by John Provan and trained by Dr Richard Newland the Pineau De Re clan was noticeably delighted as his horse was lead into the winners enclosure after his historic triumph.
Aspell spoke after the race of how he was happy to sit back and time his run to the front per BBC Sport:
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.
Here are the horses who placed in the Aintree showpiece this year:
|1.||Pineau De Re||Leighton Aspell||25-1|
|2.||Balthazar King||Richard Johnson||14-1|
|3.||Double Seven||Tony McCoy||10-1|
|5.||Rocky Creek||Noel Fehily||16-1|
The race got off to a premature start, as the starter called the horses back for a false start. Battle Group refused to join the pack either the first or second time round, and when he wouldn’t budge a third time, he was left behind.
The race fell into a similar pattern, with one of the less fancied horses making an early run to the front. This year, it was Across The Bay, but he was led off course by a couple of stray horses, losing a heap of ground on the leading group.
As the race moved into the final stages, Double Seven and Balthazar King moved ominously up through the field. Ridden by champion jockey Tony McCoy, the general expectation was that Double Seven should have enough to see this home. But Pineau De Re was resilient and started to pull clear.
Balthazar King made a late charge, but faltered in the closing stages leaving Aspell to see the horse home.
Given the amount of horses competing and the notoriously high fences, the Grand National has come in for some criticism. But thankfully, early reports suggest that all horses and jockeys are fine following the race:
Preliminary reports are that all riders have returned safe & sound from 2014 Crabbie's Grand National— BHA Press Office (@BHAPressOffice) April 5, 2014
For the race organisers, this will have been incredibly pleasing news. The race is undoubtedly one of the most exciting spectacles in sport, but injuries to horses in recent years has marred the event.
Looking ahead to next year’s race, Balthazar King is a prime candidate to go one step further and potentially win the world’s most famous steeple chase in 2015. He made a superb run from a long way back in the latter stages, and some shrewder positioning earlier in the race could have seen him overhaul the eventual winner.