Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Auroras Encore romps to victory in the Grand National

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 06:  Ryan Mania riding Auroras Encore clears the last to win the John Smiths Grand National Steeple Chase at Aintree Racecourse  on April 6, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 06: Ryan Mania riding Auroras Encore clears the last to win the John Smiths Grand National Steeple Chase at Aintree Racecourse on April 6, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Sue Smith became only the third female in history to train the winner of the John Smith's Grand National as 66-1 outsider Auroras Encore claimed the Aintree spectacular.

Beaten just a head in the Scottish National at Ayr a year ago, the 11-year-old had been well beaten in recent starts but came to challenge for the lead jumping the final fence.

While the complexion of the National has changed so many times on the long run-in in the past, the result was scarcely in doubt on this occasion as Auroras Encore galloped all the way to the line under Ryan Mania to score by nine lengths.

Cappa Bleu finished strongly to grab the runner-up spot, with Teaforthree and Oscar Time third and fourth respectively.

Scottish-born rider Mania said: "There's no words to describe it, I got a dream ride all the way - I couldn't believe my luck.

"I couldn't fault the old horse. He was second in the Scottish National last year and I thought I should stay loyal to him and thank God I did.

"I never really had an anxious moment, he made a couple of mistakes, that's all."

Bingley-based Smith said: "It's unbelievable, he gave him such a good ride.

"I knew the ground was right for him and hoped everything else was. He stayed down the middle and had a bit of luck in running. He didn't have a lot of weight and that helped, too.

"He's such a grand little horse, you can ride him anyway you like.

"I just feel sorry for the previous owners, who were wonderful and sold him because of ill health."

Smith's husband, former world famous showjumper Harvey Smith, said: "It's superb, absolutely spot-on.

"All the horses have come back in one piece. Everyone has worked hard to get it as a safe course and that has proved it today.

"This race will go on forever, look at the public- it goes out worldwide and you can't beat it.

"This is the best (moment of my career) and let's hope there's more to come."

Jenny Pitman became the first lady to train a Grand National winner when Corbiere won the race in 1983, and she went on to saddle a second winner with Royal Athlete in 1995.

Venetia Williams struck gold with 100-1 shot Mon Mome in 2009.

Since his fine effort in the Scottish National, Auroras Encore had made seven racecourse appearances, failing to complete on three occasions and finishing well out of the frame on the other four starts.

However, clearly lit up by the giant fences, the veteran enjoyed a dream run under a light weight and finished off strongly to give Mania an incredible success on his first ever ride in the race.

Cappa Bleu, fourth in the race 12 months ago, put in another fantastic performance to fill the runner-up spot.

Teaforthree led at the final fence but was unable to keep with the winner and faded into a gallant third.

The 12-year-old Oscar Time was second in 2011 and a fine fourth this time around.

 

JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL - WHERE THEY FINISHED

1st AURORAS ENCORE (66-1)

2nd Cappa Bleu (12-1)

3rd Teaforthree (10-1)

4th Oscar Time (66-1)

5th Rare Bob (16-1)

6th Swing Bill

7th Soll

8th Tarquinius

9th Saint Are

10th Always Waining

11th Major Malarkey

12th Join Together

13th Seabass

14th Across The Bay

15th Balthazar King

16th Quiscover Fontaine

17th Any Currency

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