|1. Hedgehunter||7-1F||R Walsh||W P Mullins|
|2. Royal Auclair||40-1||Christian Williams||Paul Nicholls|
|3. Simply Gifted||66-1||Brian Harding||Jonjo O’Neill|
|4. It Takes Time||18-1||Timmy Murphy||M C Pipe|
|5. Forest Gunner||8-1||Carrie Ford||Richard Ford|
|6. Nil Desperandum||16-1||J Culloty||Ms F M Crowley|
|7. Innox||16-1||Tony Dobbin||F Doumen|
|8. Heros Collonges||66-1||John McNamara||Paul Nicholls|
|9. Just In Debt||33-1||Tony Dobbin||Martin Todhunter|
|10. Amberleigh House||16-1||Graham Lee||D McCain|
|11. Bindaree||33-1||Carl Llewellyn||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|12. Iznogoud||125-1||Tom Scudamore||M C Pipe|
|13. Polar Red||100-1||Tom Malone||M C Pipe|
|14. Joly Bey||16-1||Mr D H Dunsdon||Nick Gifford|
|15. L’Aventure||66-1||R P McNally||Paul Nicholls|
|16. Monty’s Pass||33-1||Barry Geraghty||James Joseph Mangan|
|17. Strong Resolve||9-1||Peter Buchanan||Lucinda Russell|
|18. Spot Thedifference||25-1||R M Power||E Bolger|
|19. Arctic Copper||200-1||D N Russell||Noel Meade|
|20. Europa||150-1||Jason Maguire||Ferdy Murphy|
|21. Shamawan||200-1||J R Barry||Jonjo O’Neill|
The 2005 Grand National looked more competitive than ever, due in part to the fact that every one of the 40 runners was in the handicap proper.
As a result, it wasn’t surprising that the often impenetrable 11 stone mark (only 13 post war winners have carried more than 11st and none since Corbiere in 1983) was broken with HEDGEHUNTER running out a most impressive winner under 11st 1lb.
Last year, Hedgehunter seemed to lack the stamina for this great race as he took a tired fall at the final obstacle when in third place. However, despite the ground being slightly softer this time around, he stayed on strongly to draw clear on the famous run in, having travelled well throughout the contest.
He is quickly developing into an Aintree specialist and has a good chance of being the first horse since Red Run to register back to back Grand National successes as he has plenty of class to go with his seemingly new found stamina.
Another classy performer, Royal Auclair, ran a cracker under nine pounds more than the winner to finish second. He may have given Hedgehunter even more to think about had the ground been slightly better, as he has always shown his best form on a decent surface. His fine fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup only a few weeks ago clearly didn’t leave too much of a mark and he has done his connections proud this season.
The same is true of Simply Gifted, who also travelled nicely throughout the contest to improve one place from his fourth in the Mildmay at the Festival. He was just outstayed by the first two in the closing stages.
It Takes Time was nursed into the contest under a typically patient ride from Timmy Murphy. He was bang there three out but could quicken from that point and stayed on for a one paced fourth. He was, however, nicely clear of the fifth and sixth – Forest Gunner and Nil Desperandum – both of whom would have preferred softer ground.
Nevertheless, , Forest Gunner must have given his lady rider, Carrie Ford, a tremendous thrill, whilst all Nil Desperandum does is stay and he would be of interest next year granted a softer surface.
Innox can be a bit of a monkey but, as has often been the case with horses who like to think about the game, he took to the challenge and seemed destined for the frame four out before fading to finish seventh. Heros Collonges and Just In Debt also failed to see out the trip, but ran with credit in eighth and ninth respectively.
They finished just ahead of two former Grand National winners – last year’s hero Amberleigh House and Bindaree. Another former winner, Monty’s Pass was sixteenth, showing just how hard it is to win this contest more than once.
200-1 shot, Shamawan, was last of the 21 finishers.
As always, there were plenty of hard luck stories amongst those that failed to complete, the most obvious of which was , Clan Royal who, having been a slightly unlucky runner up last year, was put out of the race this time around by a loose horse at Becher’s on the second circuit when still going great guns for Tony McCoy. Both horse and rider deserve to win one of these.
The other notable casualties were Double Honour, who was still going in nicely in second when unseating his rider at the 21st fence, and Gold Cup runner up, Take The Stand, who gave his jockey, Leighton Aspell, no chance of keeping the partnership in tact at the Chair.