Ten of the Best – Aintree winners in the last decade
Rachael Blackmore made Grand National history in April 2021, becoming the first female rider to win the world’s most iconic jumps race but how well do you remember the recent roll of honour at Aintree?
Here’s a quick recap of the last ten Grand National winners at the famous Merseyside venue.
2011 – Ballabriggs
The McCain name is forever synonymous with this great event and in 2011 Ballabriggs ensured Donald emulated his father, Ginger, by taking victory at Aintree.
The race was run on a blistering hot afternoon and Jason Maguire’s mount kept on stoutly in the finish to hold Oscar Time and Gold Cup-winning amateur Sam Waley-Cohen at bay, with the previous winner – Don’t Push It under AP McCoy – behind in third spot.
2012 – Neptune Collonges
The slenderest winning margin for many a year as Neptune Collonges won for Paul Nicholls and Daryl Jacob, repelling Sunnyhillboy by an official margin of just a nose after a cracking duel. Despite trailing early, Neptune Collonges worked into the race and became the first grey to win the race since Nicolaus Silver in 1961. He was retired after Aintree by owner John Hales.
2013 – Auroras Encore
Sue Smith and Ryan Mania combined as rank outsider Auroras Encore landed the big race at odds of 66/1, the latter being the first Scottish rider to win the race in 117 years. After travelling smoothly on the pace, Mania’s partner readily came clear to win late on when asked for his effort.
2014 – Pineau De Re
Dr Richard Newland is renowned as a shrewd trainer and much of that stems from Pineau De Re winning this race as his first ever runner in the Grand National. He had been campaigned mostly over hurdles, but Newland said Aintree was always the target and they won in what the first year of £1million prize money in the race.
2015 – Many Clouds
The most recent of Trevor Hemmings’ Aintree successes came in 2015 as the brilliant Many Clouds became the first Hennessy Gold Cup winner to take the Grand National. Leighton Aspell was once again the man on board, becoming the first rider to go back-to-back on different horses since Bryan Marshall in 1953 and 1954.
2016 – Rule The World
An emotional win for trainer Mouse Morris as Rule The World jumped superbly around Aintree to give owners Gigginstown House Stud their first taste of success in the race. Remarkably, it was also Rule The World’s first win over fences – a feat no horse had attained in the Aintree National since Voluptuary in 1884.
2017 – One For Arthur
One For Arthur was ‘one for Scotland’ in 2017 – becoming the first horse trained north of the border to win the Aintree showpiece since Rubstic’s victory in 1979 and only the second overall. He beat Cause Of Causes, who had registered success in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival a month earlier.
2018 – Tiger Roll
Gordon Elliott’s eight-year-old had landed his third Cheltenham Festival success in the Cross-Country Chase the previous month and was now amidst a real purple patch after a couple of years in the doldrums.
The Aintree fences were something brand new and Tiger Roll positively loved them. Davy Russell seemingly had the winning of the race from some way out but Pleasant Company rattled home and it was a photo in the end. Tiger Roll was game and remained in front for a famous win in the Gigginstown silks.
2019 – Tiger Roll
For the first time since the mighty Red Rum, a horse retained this great crown. Russell and Tiger Roll were the names on everyone’s lips and they certainly didn’t disappoint.
The little lion went around almost foot-perfect having gone off the 4/1 favourites. On a sun-drenched evening at Aintree, Tiger Roll shone brightly as the crowed soaked up his stunning back-to-back wins.
2020 – No race owing to Covid-19 pandemic
2021 – Minella Times
After a Cheltenham Festival where she and trainer Henry De Bromhead were dominant, racing’s latest superstar carved out more history by steering Minella Times to win The National.
Blackmore was coolness personified in the race and while she and Minella Times enjoyed bits of luck along the way, they eventually surged home more than six-lengths clear of Balko Des Flos – also trained by De Bromhead – as the Irish enjoyed a ‘first five home’ domination.