With a maximum field of 40 runners going to post today the start would be crucial. The new way of starting the race by getting the horses to stand back and then walk to the starting line was to be tried today. As the horses walk forward the new starter Shaun McDonald talked the jockeys in and got them off to the perfect start.
No Full took to the front with the pack following and as usual they raced away to the Melling road and then took a little pull as the first fence loomed.
At the fence No Full, Milan Deux Mille and Snowy Morning were the first to jump the fence that notoriously has fallers because the horses are running too fast. Today however all jumped it well and they raced away to the second.
No Change in the order at the fence but one of the leading pack, Black Aplapachi falls and rolls over. Backbeat and usually reliable jumper, and L’Ami also fall independently. L’Ami’s jockey Grand National winner Mick Fitzgerald looks to be badly injured and was later taken away to hospital.
The 36 left get away from the fence and on to the third.
On the approach to the fence, the first open ditch, Milan Deux Mille takes a clear half-length advantage and jumps the fence well. There are many jumping it well however Tumbling dice gets in too close and on landing gives his jockey no chance to stay in the plate. Iron man is also a faller at the third along with fundamentalist.
Very quickly they are at the fourth fence. The leaders jump it well but the substituted horse Ardaghey’s race ends here with a fall. Getting away from the fence the smart Mr. Pointment has now just taken up the lead with Milan Deux Mille and Snowy Morning both challenging for the lead. Timmy Murphy is giving Comply Or Die plenty of daylight as he is outside these in fourth.
At the fifth fence all the horses are starting to settle down to their racing and there are no mishaps here.
On to the next fence and the hedge leading up to the jump means only one thing the next is the most famous fence in the world Bechers Brook. At the fence, Mr. Pointment leads, No Full goes through the top of the fence and the drop side catches him out, he crumples on landing and all the connections hopes are gone as he falls.
The next fence is the smallest on the course The Foinavon. At it Milan Deux Mille is in the lead with Snowy Morning, Mr. Pointment, Chelsea Harbour, Comply Or Die and Hedgehunter, Simon, Joacci and Butlers Cabin. Then comes Bewleys Berry D’Argent and the Favorite Cloudy Lane who is going well.
The next fence is the Canal Turn. The horses move out on the approach so that they can cut the corner and not go too wide around the 90-degree turn. At the fence Milan Deux Mille is two lengths in front of Mr. Pointment and as the bulk of the horses turn the corner Philson Run unseats his rider and Madison Du Berlais falls.
Around the bend and on to the next, Valentine’s Brook, Milan Deux Mille is now really getting into his stride and is the first at the fence by two lengths and gives the fence a great jump. Next comes Mr. Pointment and Chelsea Harbour. Simon making ground is a little untidy at the jump where he fell on the second circuit last year but Comply Or Die jumps it well. There are no casualties here and the field goes on to the next.
At the 10th, No change in the leaders but D’Argent is making ground again all horses jump the fence safely.
On to the next an open ditch, the leaders jump the fence well but outsider Contraband is a faller and so to is Kelami. The horses are now starting to get spread out as they run on to the next.
Little changes at the 12th and the entire field get over the fence.
There is now a long run up the course across the Melling road and a turn onto the home straight for the first time. The order here is Milan Deux Mille leading Mr. Pointment followed by D’Argent, Simon, Comply Or Die, with Baily Breeze and Naunton Brook out the back. As they approach the fence there are two loose horses out in front and look like they could cause some trouble.
At the 13th the two loose horses jump the fence and they are followed by the leader Milan Deux Mille and D’Argent who is still making good ground and traveling well. All jump the fence.
At the next D’Argent and Comply Or Die are upsides the leader Milan Deux Mille and they all rise together. There are about a dozen horses in the leading group and all are going well
The entire field starts now to narrow in because the next fence may not be as wide as the other fences but it is the biggest fence, The Chair fence. At it all horses give it plenty of air and because the leaders jump it well there are no casualties further back in the field and they race to the water jump.
At the water there are 4 in a row. Milan Deux Mille, Mr. Pointment D’Argent and Simon. They get away from the fence well, Chelsea harbor is still going well and Idle Talk is making up good ground. Turko makes a, mistake but carries on. Point Barrow pulls up and his jockey Tony Dobbin’s last Grand National ride is over.
The field now go past the winning post and turn left around the course and having completed one circuit of the course then set out for the next.
Getting spread out now the leaders Mr. Pointment D’Argent and Simon. Comply Or Die then comes Milan Deux Mille who is now staring to labor, Idle Talk, Chelsea Harbour, Bewleys Berry, Snowy Morning and Butlers Cabin. Next is Mon Mome, Joacci, Hi Cloy, Hedgehunter and Slim Pickings who is going well, then comes King Johns Castle, Nadover and Mckelvey. Point Barrow is being pulled up.
At the fence that was the first but is now the 17th Mr. Pointment is now taken into lead and jumps it well all the remaining runners jump the fence but soon after Bob Hall pulls up.
On to the next and there is little change in the order, however Idle Talk is still improving and so is Chelsea Harbour. Simon is now starting to loose a little ground and at the back of the field Vodka Bleu is pulled up
The field goes on to the next, the open ditch; Mr. Pointment is just the leader from D’Argent and Chelsea Harbour. They are followed by Comply Or Die who is on the outside of them. At the back Joacci falls and Naunton Brook is pulled up.
The field is getting more strung out now and the leaders go on to the 21st Fence. At the fence Comply Or Die joins Mr. Pointment and they jump the fence together ahead of D’Argent Chelsea Harbour and Butlers Cabin whom in now going well and getting into contention. Mckelvey is a faller.
At the 21st there is now a clear group of 7 at the fence. The entire field jumps it well. No fallers this time and it’s on to Bechers for the second time.
At this formidable drop fence the leaders jump it well with the exception of the improving Butlers Cabin who lands too steep and falls continuing Tony McCoy’s bad luck in this race. He is the only casualty as they race on.
At Foinavon Mr. Pointment retakes the lead as all jump the fence well
Down to the Canal Turn and Chelsea Harbour jumps into the lead. Just ahead of Mr. Pointment. What’s left of the field jump the fence and race to Valentine’s.
At Valentine’s Mr. Pointment is again upsides Chelsea Harbour with Snowy Morning, Idle Talk and Bewleys Berry going well. Then comes D’Argent and Comply Or Die both of whom have lost ground. Simon makes a mistake at the fence again but this time does not get away with it and falls. Turko Takes a heavy fall and Knowhere unseats his rider.
On to the 26th Chelsea Harbour, Snowy Morning, Bewleys Berry and Mr. Pointment are the first at the fence and jump it well Comply Or Die and D’Argent are chasing them and Hedgehunter is making ground. No fallers here
At the next D’Argent who has been going well makes a mistake and pays the price. Mr. Pointment makes a mistake and pecks on landing and gets behind. Soon After the fence Dun Doire is pulled up.
At the last in the back Bewleys Berry takes the lead with Snowy Morning next, then Chelsea Harbour, Comply Or Die and Mr. Pointment. Kings Johns Castle is next and is making steady ground followed by Idle Talk. Then comes an improving Slim Pickings, Hedgehunter, Mon Mome, Cloudy Lane and Hi Cloy.
They cross the melling road at the Anchor road end and as they turn into the straight.
As they get to the second last six horses are in a line Bewleys Berry, Snowy Morning, Comply Or Die, Slim Pickings King Johns Castle and Chelsea Harbour, who is just starting to fade. Long time leader Mr. Pointment is fading also and is pulled up.
They get away from the fence and there are no fallers and it’s on to the last fence in the 2008 Grand National.
At the Last Comply Or Die out jumps Snowy Morning for the lead but running on strongly under a patient ride is King Johns Castle who looks the real danger now.
As they run away from the fence it is clear that there are three going better than the rest Comply Or Die is leading by a length with Snowy Morning recovering from a mistake at the last and King Johns Castle going really well. At the elbow these three are 6 lengths in front and Timmy Murphy takes a look behind him to see Snowy Lane knocking the door and King Johns Castle going like a train.
As they fly past the elbow Timmy gets to work on Comply Or Die who responds immediately and opens up a gap between himself and King Johns Castle with Snowy Lane running the race of his life and not giving up now.
At the post Comply Or Die wins the National by 4 lengths to King Johns Castle with Snowy Morning 1 length behind. Next comes last years 3rd Slim Pickings. 5th is Bewleys Berry then Cloudy Lane, Nadover, Baily Breeze and Chelsea Harbour. Then Mon Mome, Hi Cloy, Cornish Sett, Headhunter, Idle Talk and finally the horse that lead for a long time Milan Deux Mille.
A horse that needed time off for ‘Leg trouble’ and a jockey who has come back from alcohol problems today put all the bad days behind them and soaked up the well wishes of so many people who love a happy ending. Comply Or Die today won the world’s greatest steeplechase and did so by having a great round of jumping. He hardly put a foot wrong in the whole race and stayed on like the true long distance chaser that he is. Team work is what it’s all about in racing but when it comes down to the line it is bravery, stamina and attitude which sorts out the wheat from the chaff and Comply Or Die had all of these qualities in spades today. Finishing the grueling four and a half mile marathon like the good thing that the betting market thought he was, the connections soaked up the cheers of the packed stands. A previous winner of the Eider chase, the connections could have been in little doubt that the horse would stay but there would always be a doubt about any horse handling this unique and quirky course but today this horse took to the course and seemed to be enjoying his ‘day out’. Already getting a favorite quote of 14/1 for next years renewal this horse does seem to have it all and who knows maybe with a good preparation and a reasonable hike in the weights he could be the first horse around 30 years to win back to back nationals.
Given a super ride from Grand National winning jockey Paul Carberry today this horse did little wrong. He took to the national fences well and ran a very good race but was just not good enough on the day. Today’s run was very good especially if you take in to consideration that this horse has never won at a distance greater than 2m 3f. Given that the horse did stay on at the end you could not say that he did not get the trip today even though he did not look like catching the winner on the run in. Having now tried this distance, he will be again laid out for this race and next year he could be a much better prospect for the race.
A one-time favorite for the race soon after the weights were published this horse ran a real cracker today. His fall from betting market grace came with a couple of lack luster performances but today he was right on song again. Never quite going to be the winner he did make a mistake at the last, which may have robbed him of second place. He is the type of horse who if laid out for the race next year could get a bit closer.
|1||Comply Or Die (IRE)||9||10-9||Mr D. A. Johnson||D E Pipe||Timmy Murphy||7/1J|
|2||King Johns Castle (IRE)||9||10-11||Mr John P. McManus||A L T Moore||P Carberry||20/1|
|3||Snowy Morning (IRE)||8||11-1||Quayside Syndicate||W P Mullins||D J Casey||16/1|
|4||Slim Pickings (IRE)||9||11-3||Doubtful Five Syndicate||T J Taaffe||B J Geraghty||10/1|
|5||Bewleys Berry (IRE)||10||11-0||Andrea & Graham Wylie||J Howard Johnson||Denis O´Regan||12/1|
|6||Cloudy Lane||8||10-11||Mr Trevor Hemmings||D McCain Jnr||Jason Maguire||7/1J|
|7||Nadover (FR)||7||10-9||Mr G. H. Storey||C J Mann||R M Power||125/1|
|8||Baily Breeze (IRE)||9||10-11||R. A. Scott||M F Morris||P W Flood||66/1|
|9||Chelsea Harbour (IRE)||8||11-2||Mrs P. Duffin||Thomas Mullins||D N Russell||14/1|
|10||Mon Mome (FR)||8||10-11||Mrs Vida Bingham||Miss Venetia Williams||A Coleman||28/1|
|11||Hi Cloy (IRE)||11||11-12||Mrs Susan McCloy||Michael Hourigan||T J Doyle||100/1|
|12||Cornish Sett (IRE)||9||10-10||Mr Peter Hart||P F Nicholls||Mr N Scholfield||80/1|
|13||Hedgehunter (IRE)||12||11-12||Mr Trevor Hemmings||W P Mullins||R Walsh||10/1|
|14||Idle Talk (IRE)||9||10-9||Mr Trevor Hemmings||D McCain Jnr||Brian Harding||66/1|
|15||Milan Deux Mille (FR)||6||10-9||F. G. & J. E. Wilson||D E Pipe||Tom Malone||125/1|
|F||Black Apalachi (IRE)||9||10-8||Gerard Burke||D T Hughes||Andrew J McNamara||66/1|
|F||Backbeat (IRE)||11||10-9||Andrea & Graham Wylie||J Howard Johnson||Wilson Renwick||100/1|
|F||L´Ami (FR)||9||11-1||Mr John P. McManus||F Doumen||Mick Fitzgerald||33/1|
|UR||Tumbling Dice (IRE)||9||10-10||Mrs John Donegan||T J Taaffe||T G M Ryan||100/1|
|UR||Iron Man (FR)||7||11-5||R Owen & P Fullagar||P Bowen||Christian Williams||50/1|
|F||Ardaghey (IRE)||9||10-7||D. J. & S. A. Goodman||N A Twiston-Davies||David England||100/1|
|F||No Full (FR)||7||10-12||Mrs P. Doyle||Eoin Doyle||J R Barry||125/1|
|UR||Philson Run (IRE)||12||10-8||Gale Force One||Nick Williams||Daryl Jacob||25/1|
|F||Madison Du Berlais (FR)||7||11-9||Roger Stanley & Yvonne Reynolds II||D E Pipe||Tom Scudamore||66/1|
|F||Contraband||10||11-0||Mr F. G. Wilson||Paul Murphy||Keith Mercer||100/1|
|UR||Kelami (FR)||10||10-9||Halewood International Ltd||F Doumen||Barry Keniry||66/1|
|PU||Point Barrow (IRE)||10||10-13||Mrs P.Clune Hughes, Mrs M.O'Dwyer, J.Foley P Hughes||Tony Dobbin||25/1|
|PU||Bob Hall (IRE)||7||10-11||Mr John P. McManus||Jonjo O´Neill||Noel Fehily||100/1|
|PU||Vodka Bleu (FR)||9||11-2||Mr D. A. Johnson||D E Pipe||Paul Moloney||20/1|
|PU||Naunton Brook||9||10-10||Mr David Langdon||N A Twiston-Davies||Andrew Tinkler||66/1|
|F||Joaaci (IRE)||8||10-13||Mr D. A. Johnson||D E Pipe||J W Farrelly||66/1|
|UR||Mckelvey (IRE)||9||11-0||Mr N. Elliott||P Bowen||T J O´Brien||25/1|
|F||Butler´s Cabin (FR)||8||11-3||Mr John P. McManus||Jonjo O´Neill||A P McCoy||10/1|
|F||Turko (FR)||6||11-10||The Stewart Family||P F Nicholls||Richard Johnson||33/1|
|UR||Knowhere (IRE)||10||11-11||Mr H. R. Mould||N A Twiston-Davies||Joe Tizzard||66/1|
|UR||Simon||9||11-7||Mrs Mercy Rimell||J L Spearing||Dominic Elsworth||11/1|
|F||D´Argent (IRE)||11||10-12||Mr Nigel Bunter||A King||Robert Thornton||25/1|
|PU||Dun Doire (IRE)||9||10-7||Dunderry Racing Syndicate||A J Martin||Richard McGrath||33/1|
|PU||Mr Pointment (IRE)||9||11-11||Stockton Heath Racing||P F Nicholls||Sam Thomas||25/1|