Grand National 2000

OLBG - Grand National 2000

Race Summary

The Tapes go up and despite all the warnings on the television beforehand and the fact that many of the riders have ridden in the race before they all choose to ignore the softly softly advice and there is the usual charge from the tapes across the melling road on to the first fence. Only one horse is going at a sensible pace and that is Celtic Giant

At the first Torduff Express , Trinitro, Art Prince and last years winner Bobby Jo are in a line Torduff express jumps it well but Art Prince and also Trinitro the Norwegian horse falls and also Royal Predica comes to grief, the others are over it, Mely Moss gets hampered but its forward they go and the second seems to come quicker every year.

We are at the second and Bobby Jo is just in the lead but Sparky Gale makes a mistake, blunders and unseats jockey Andrew ( chocolate ) Thornton.

It’s onto the third and this is the first real test, this fence is a large open ditch and often catches out horses that are not quite into their stride. The leaders jump it OK but one horse does not quite get up far enough and lands very steep and throws his jockey out of the saddle over the top of his head. We wait for the commentator to catch up and he then reveals it is the very well fancied Dark Stranger. the horse is OK but the jockey Tony McCoy is still on the ground and is injured another coincidence ? as he was injured last year and taken away to hospital. Addington Boy makes a mistake.

Before we know it they are at the 4th a fair 4ft 10 inch fence but this catches out two this time Earthmover Paul Nicholls smart ex Pointer falls and so does Choisty but he field is now starting to sort itself out.

There're at the fifth fence in no time and there are four up front Torduff Express Star Traveller, Esprite de Cotte and Bobby Jo. they lead the others over the fence and at last we have the first fence where there are no casualties but the next is the most famous fence in the world Bechers Brook.

You know when it’s this fence because the lead into it is fenced on both sides and as the leaders jump this formidable drop fence, Torduff Express just falls about 2 lengths behind the other three and the laders jump it well, the field then comes to it and most jump the fence OK but Red Marauder who jumps the fence stumbles on his next stride and loses his front legs and falls.

After that formidable fence the course turns slightly left handed and the next fence which is the smallest on the course was the one that everyone knows caused the biggest upset in 1967 when most of them fell or refused yes it’s the Foinavon fence. . Bobby Jo is one of the first at it and he makes a mistake and manages to shoot his jockey up his neck and we all think that’s that for him but Paul Carberry hangs on to his neck and makes a brilliant recovery , he has lost a few lengths but this is early enough in the race to come on again . The rest jump it well and it’s on to the right angle left hand turn of The Canal Turn Next.

Star Traveller is in the lead at this fence and Esprit de Cotte is second. The rest of the chasing pack follow their lead at the fence and jump it well . At the back of the field Celtic Giant is getting a little detached.

The next is Valentine's and all jump it but Niki Dee hits the fence but gets away with it and so on to the 10th fence.

The leaders at the 10th jump it well but another of the fancied horses the Scottish National winner Young Kenny falls and happily both Jockey and horse get up OK.

On to the next fence and the field is now starting to sort it’s self out and all jump the next OK.

Nothing is going better in the race at this point than the leader Star Traveller and he leads the pack followed by Esprite de Cotte, Torduff Express, Papillon, Brave Highlander, Bobby Jo,Addington Boy and Lucky Town. they are at the 12th and the is a faller in the back of the field it’s Druid’s Brook.

They cross the dirt of the covered road again and it’s a long way onto the next, as they turn left handed the field starts to close up again and it's into the home straight for the first time. Onto the 13th and this proves unlucky for two horses Torduff Express and the Gopher both Fall. Brave Highlander makes a mistake but is OK .

Onto the next fence and as always happens here loose horses become a problem and Star Traveller who has now lead for some time has problems with the horses turning left then back right as his jockey pulls him to the right , they have a scare and the jockey hails a cab but he sticks with the horse. In behind a lot of the fence goes flying as a lot of horses don’t get high enough at it but only one in the back of the field falls and that’s Merry People who has been pushed along for some time.

The next fence many people are surprised to hear is the biggest on the course and is the Chair and this fence is narrower than the fences jumped so far , the loose horses run wide and Star Traveller leads, all the others over it and all are safe.

The Next is the water jump and Mely Moss Makes a mistake at this fence but again there are no fallers. But Tony Dobbin knows that Listen Timmy has had enough and pulls him up.

The jockeys left now have almost completed one circuit and have another to go. The placing now stand as :- Star Traveller, Esprite de Cotte, Papillon, Hollybank Buck, Bobby Jo, The Last Fling, Brave Highlander, Addington Boy, Stormy Passage, Lucky Town, Escartefigue, Mely Moss, Call it a Day, Djeddah, Niki Dee Village King, Suny Bay, Kendal Cavalier, Feels like Gold, Buck Rogers Flaked Oats and bringing up the rear is Celtic Giant.

Around the bend at the start they go and it’s onto the next which was the first fence just a few minutes ago but now the pace is more serene and all jump it safely but Brave Highlander gets bumped very badly in the air and looks as if he will fall but recovers very well and goes on. All seem to be going well enough and it’s on to the next.

Nothing has Changed and all jump the next.

We are now back to the Open Ditch but this time the jockeys are aware of it and all jump it safely although Niki Dee makes a mistake but it’s on to the next.

The next is the 20th fence and some horses are now getting tired, the field are now coming back a little to the leader and they jump it well but we lose two at this fence and they areVillage King and Flaked Oats.

The next fence is the one before Bechers and Hollybank Buck takes a slight lead over Star Traveller for the first time and all horses jump it with out any falling.

So it's on to Bechers and this fence often catches out horses on the second circuit when they are more tied than on the first circuit. And two horses who are in contention here fall, Esprite de Cotte and Stormy Passage fall and Bobby Jo who is following looks very much like he will be brought down but this very clever horse side steps to the right to avoid the problem and this leads to Paul Carburry being pushed out of the plate on the other side, he hung on when he made a mistake on the first circuit but this is a much worst problem and he surly must fall, but no Paul manages to stay put and this remarkable duo live to fight on.

Onto the little fence and all jump it well and Star Traveller is now getting ahead of his field again.

The next is the awkward Canal Turn and as the leaders approach the fence they pull into the centre of the course in order to cut the corner of this right angle turn. Papillon however gets the inside track at this fence and steals a length on Star Traveller and takes the lead, in behindBuck Rogers makes a bad mistake and falls, throwing his jockey clear.

It’s on to Valentines for the second time and we have a new leader in Papillon who is going very well then comes Star Traveller who is also going well Niki Dee is also getting closer and Mely Moss is making up ground. Papillon jumps the fence well but Star Traveller makes a mistake and strikes into himself and loses a few lengths and it looks as if he may not continue.

At the next the leaders jump it well and although the field is getting little spread out they all jump it. But there is a definite problem with the long time leader Star Traveller and he is pulled up.

At the next the horses at the rear are now beginning to fade but all survive the fence butAddington Boy makes a slight mistake.

This is now the last fence in the back and although the field is still being spread all jump it OK.

The long run across the melling road is next and the confident Ruby Walsh on Papillon is looking around to see how many are left as he takes a few length's out of the field, behind him are Lucky Town, Mely Moss ( going very well ) Addington Boy, Niki Dee, Brave Highlander, Hollybank Buck, Call It a day, Djeddah and The last Fling. These 9 are well ahead of the rest of the field and the horses in the frame will come from these.

Around the bend and on to the first in the home straight this is two from home Papillon Jumps in the lead, But only by ½ a length from Mely Moss and Niki Dee and Addington Boy are only another half a length behind . Any of these could win it now if good enough.

And so onto the last fence in the marathon Both Papillon and Mely Moss Jump it together with Addington Boy and Nicki Dee two lengths behind and they run on to the elbow.

At the Elbow the crowd is deafening as Papillon has taken the advantage and got a two lengths in front but runs off the rail and Norman Williamson gets Mely Moss onto the rail and then starts to catch up with Papillon. The Run In.

The commentator now can’t be heard as the roar is deafening. With 200yrds to go Mely Moss has caught Papillon and is less than half a length behind but Papillon will not give in both jockeys and horses give their all and with 100 yards to the line Papillon gets the better of Mely Moss and takes a length lead and it’s all over. The Winner As Ruby Walsh Raises his whip hand and punches the air and salutes the crowd. He’s done it at the age of 22 he’s won the worlds greatest steeplechase and the trophy is going back to Ireland again this Year!

Winner Comments


The Grand National is famous for being the worlds most famous horse race, but it should be famous for the coincidences or fairy stories that occur it seems every year. Papillon But although that is correct, it rarely turns up two years with the same story but this year it really was a case of Deja Vu. The winner was trained by Father, it was ridden by the son, it was backed off the boards on the day of the race, the horse was given a warm up race over hurdles and last but by no means least it was an Irish raider! All these points were true last year when the race was won by Bobby Jo Many people did not give Papillon much of a chance this year given that the horse had been out of form but going back 2 years it was Pappilon who was second to last years Grand National winner Bobby Jo in the Irish National and now the form of that race looks very good indeed. The horse ran very well jumped the Aintree fences without trouble and stayed on but did not win with the comfortable 10 length margin of last year indeed had to battle up to the line to get his 1 length victory but he is no less a hero for that. However his participation in the race was no forgone conclusion, his American owner Mrs. Betty Moran was not keen on her beloved equine hero running in the Aintree masterpiece, as the reports she had read did not give her the greatest confidence, not that the horse could win but that the risk of injury was too great. Thankfully she did take the advice of her Kill based trainer and the rest as they say is history.

Edward ( Ted ) Walsh

Ted Walsh is the head of a very friendly family based training yard in Kill County Kildare where all the family helps out. Ted Walsh Ted Jr. who is unlike his brother a big man who's plays prop for Naas rugby club helps out in the stables at weekends, his sister 23 yr old Jennifer who despite holding a job with Irish Racing is also her brother Rubys Agent, Ruby who rides for his dad and also rides out at the stable when he can ( he is stable jockey to Willie Mullins ) then there's Katie and Mum Helen does the stables accounts. Ted was a very successful amateur jockey before he turned his hand to training indeed he was 11 times the Irish Amateur Champion rider and won four times at Cheltenham and the last of these wins was in the Foxhunters in 1986. His yard consists of about 20 horses but he has some class in his yard with horses like Commanche Run and the smart Rince Ri ( Pronounced rinky ree or you will get the roth of Ted ). He is frequently seen on our TV screens as he commentates on runners and riders not only in Ireland but is quite often Our man in Ireland on Channel 4 racing. The fact that he has won the race that so many only dream of will surly be heightened by the fact that his son was the winning jockey and at the presentation after receiving his winning trainers trophy his chest boomed out to almost bursting point with pride when his son came to the platform to receive the jockeys trophy.

Ruby Walsh

At the age of 20 Ruby Walsh has done what most other jockeys never achieve Winning the worlds greatest steeplechase. Ruby Walsh A Manchester United fan when not racing Ruby 's year has not been memorable up to now as he has been struck by a spate of injuries starting with a broken collar bone and the breaking his leg twice in the same place. He turned professional last year after becoming the leading amateur rider on two occasions in Ireland. And topped this by becoming the Top Jockey last year with a very good total of 96 wins. He is a young man with a great future ahead of him and I'm sure that he is already thinking of next year and hoping to win again for his father and who knows if the ground comes up good again it would be brave man to rule him out.

Second Place

Mely Moss

Mely Moss This years second was one of the great training performances, as the trainer of Mely Moss managed to get this horse fit and ready to run in the worlds greatest steeplechase without the benefit of a single prep run this year, indeed this horse has been very lightly raced since his arrival in the UK from France in January 1997. With only six runs it is an amazing feat for this horse to run so well in a 4 mile race. The horse was ridden very well and jumped well throughout the race and only made one single mistake all the way through and that was at ' The long jump ' ( The Water Jump ). The horse has had his problems this year with leg trouble and also had a virus so his second place 1 1/4 lths behind the winner was probably the best performance of the day and to say this takes nothing way from the winner.

Charlie Egerton

" I'm numb and can't believe it " was the quote from the Trainer of Mely Moss, Charlie Egerton. But it really was a fabulous run and an equally terrific training performance for this trainer. I think it is fair to say that patience is the key when you have horses like this who have injury problems and it must be frustrating to have to sit out preparation races to keep the horse together. Charlie Egerton trains at Heads Farm Stables, Chaddleworth.

Norman Williamson

Norman Williamson is one of this countries best jockeys, and his skill and riding were top class today. Norman Williamson Norman said after the race that although the horse was going well and that there was quite a few that looked in with a chance he thought that Pappilon was the horse that they had to beat from 3 out, and he should now as he has ridden the horse in the past. Norman has won most of the big races in this country and also in his native Ireland including the Cheltenham Gold Cup and The Champion Hurdle. He has guided some very good horse to victory with the likes of Master Oats and Teeton Mill. Also to his credit is not afraid to pull up horses early if he thinks that there may be a problem with them and I'm sure that it was his good horsemanship that saved Teeton mill from a more serious or even a fatal injury

Third Place

Niki Dee

Niki Dee put an improved performance on what he has done to date even making alowances for the fact that he made a few mistakes throughout the race, but he made good progress and stayed on if a little one paced. This race seems to have brought out the best in this horse despite his few jumping errors. His best race up to this term was when second in the Cathcart. But this year has been very good for him if on most occations but he has found a few too good, but has been very good behind good horses like Tullymurry Toff, The Last Fling and Beau. At ten years old he should have more good races in him and it would not be a surprise to see him win one or two good handicaps next term.


Peter Beaumont is a top class triner who trains in Brandsby in Yorkshire, and wins many good races north and south of the country. He had two runners in this years race and this was proberbly his second string as he also trains the very smart Scottish National winner Young Kenny , and he may get some recompence for not winning this race by the latters run in the Sottish National this year.

Robbie Supple

Robbie Supple is on of our good all round Jockeys. He rode a beautiful race on this horse and put the horse in a great position after he had made some mistakes in the race and was right there if the horse was good enough to win.

Fourth Place

Brave Highlander

Brave Highlander this year showed more improvement on his very good sixth in the race last year. He was running well and his jumping was sound enough despite a mistake at the 13th however he was very badly hampered on the second circuit when he was bumped in the air and landed very awkward but stayed on his feet and did his owners proud as with a few fences to go was still in with a chance, it was about two from home when he started to get left behind, but given the fact that he was so badly hampered I think he would have been a lot closer and who knows that although he can't be improving his connections want to bring him back next year at the grand old age of 13 for another crack at the big one.

Josh Gifford

Josh was one of our great jockeys of the past who took up a training licence and has gone to the top and stayed there for many a year now. His horses are top class and perhaps unlike some trainers he has horses of all types that do well and is not limited to long distance chasers or quick short hurdlers. He has won many good championship races in the past and his big day of national glory was with the same connections of this horse when Bob Champion and Aldeniti won the race in 1981.

Philip Hide

Philip Hide has been stable jockey to Josh Gifford for some time now and wins many good races for his Governor. He is a good jockey and rides very well as was shown in this race today when after being bumped badly stayed stuck to the horse and did not panic but let the horse recover without losing his chance and he produced him at the second last with ever chance but on the day the horse was just not quite good enough. 

Full List of Finishers

1st Papillon (IRE) 9 10 12 Mrs J.M. Moran T.M. Walsh R. Walsh
2nd Mely Moss 9 10 1 Mr.D.C. Mercer C.R. Egerton N. Williamson
3rd Niki Dee
Mr. G.Dilger P. Baumont R. Supple
4th Brave Highlander 12 10 0 Mr. S.N.J. Embiricos J.T. Gifford P.Hide
5th Addington Boy 12 11 2 Mr. Chiu Fat Yuen F. Murphy A. Maguire
6th Call it a Day 10 10 11 Mrs. J.Lane A.King B.J. Geraghty
7th The Last Fling 10 11 5 Mr. T. Hemmings Mrs S.J. Smith S. Durack
8th Lucky Town 9 10 5 Mrs. N.McManus E.Bolger D.J.Casey
9th Djeddah 9 11 8 Mr. J.D. Martin F.Doumen T.Doumen
10th Hollybank Buck 10 10 4 Mrs. S.Warner A.J.Matin P.Niven
11th Bobbyjo (IRE) 10 11 6 Mr. Robert Burke T Carberry P. Carberry
12th Kendal Cavalier 10 10 6 Mr. M.W.Digby G.B. Balding B.Fenton
13th Suny Bay 11 11 12 Mr. A.L. Cohen S. Sherwood C.Maude
14th Feels like Gold 12 10 7 Independent Twine Manuf N.G. Richards B. Harding
15th Camelot Knight 10 10 0 Mr M.Gates N.T. Davies O.McPhail
16th Kingdom of Shades 10 10 4 Mr. M.J.Fenn Miss V. Williams T.Jenks
17th Celtic Giant 10 10 0 Mr. R.J. Gilbert L.Lungo B.Gibson
1st Fence
FELL Royal Predica 6 10 4 Mr P.A.Deal M.Pipe. G.Tormey
FELL Trinitro 9 10 3 Ms. L.S.Myskja R.Haugen R.Bellamy
FELL Art Prince 10 10 0 Mr T. Neill M.Pipe. D. Gallager
2nd Fence
FELL Sparky Gale 10 10 8 Mr and Mrs R.A.Green C. Parker B. Storey
3rd Fence
FELL Dark Stranger 9 10 1 Mr T.Niell M.Pipe A.P. McCoy
4th Fence
FELL Earthmover 9 10 5 Mr R.M. Penny P. Nicholls J. Tizzard
FELL Choisty 10 10 0 Mr.F.J. Sainsbury H.E.Haynes R. Widger
5th Fence
All Jumped
6th Fence
FELL Red Marauder 10 11 2 Mr N.B. Mason N.B.Mason R.Guest
7th Fence
All Jumped
8th Fence
All Jumped
9th Fence
All Jumped
10th Fence
FELL Young Kenny 9 12 0 Mr.J.G. Read P. Beaumont B. Powell
11th Fence
All Jumped
12th Fence
FELL Druid's Brook 11 10 0 Mr K.C.Bailey K.C.Bailey R.Wakley
13th Fence
FELL Torduff Express 9 10 3 Two Plus Two P.Nicholls R. Thornton
FELL The Gopher 11 10 3 J.W. Eagan D.J. Wintle W. Marston
14th Fence
FELL Merry People 12 10 0 Mr.K.Casey and Mrs.M.Dowling G.Cotter
15th Fence
All Jumped
16th Fence
PU Listen Timmy 11 11 5 Mr.S.W. Clarke A.King A. Dobbin
17th Fence
All Jumped
18th Fence
All Jumped
19th Fence
All Jumped
20th Fence
FELL Village King 7 10 11 Capt.E.J.Edwards heathcote P.J. Hobbs J. Culloty
FELL Flaked Oats 11 10 0 Mr.H. Morris and The Daily Mail P.F.Nicholls T.J.Murphy
21st Fence
All Jumped
22nd Fence
FELL Stormy Passage 10 11 3 Mr. P.Luff P.J. Hobbs A. Thornton
FELL Esprit De Cotte 8 10 8 Mr.T. Hemmings N.J. Henderson M. Fitzgerald
23rd Fence
All Jumped
24th Fence
FELL Buck Rogers 11 11 0 Mrs.J. Skinner V. Bowens K. Whelan
25th Fence
All Jumped
26th Fence
PU Star Traveller 9 10 11 Mrs Strachen J.Daly R. Johnson
27th Fence
All Jumped
28th Fence
All Jumped
29th Fence
All Jumped
30th and Last Fence
FELL Escartefigue 8 11 9 Mr.D.C. Mercer P.F. Nicholls J.A. McCarthy
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