Grand National 2004

OLBG - Grand National 2004

Race Summary

As the horses moved away from the start Alexander Banquet was in the lead with Hedgehunter his stable mate in second position, they all headed towards the Melling road again going a little too fast. As the horses sorted themselves out Akarus came to the front.

At the first Grand National fence Akarus jumped it first if not fluently followed by Alexander Banquet. Shardam makes a mistake but gets away with it. Three Horses are not so lucky Arctic Jack jumps the fence too big and crumples on landing, he is unable to find a leg and falls. Luzcadou falls back in the field and unluckly he brings down Kelami.

At the second fence Alcapone has taken the lead and all jump it well

The open ditch is next and at it Alcapone jumps it well with Hedgehunter next Bramblehill Duke is in touch with Gunner Welburn. Shardam puts in a short one and on landing launches Tom Scudamore out of the saddle giving him no chance to stay with the horse.

Fourth fence The leaders jump the fence well but Jurancon II jumps it big and falls on landing, Just behind him Amberleigh House swerves right and manages to avoid him and What's Up Boys who is even further behind gets hampered.

At the fifth fence Spot the difference make a mistake. But the rest of the field jump it well and it's on to Bechers.

At the most famous fence in the world, Alcapone jumps it first followed by Hedgehunter, next is Puntal and Gunner Welburn these jump the fence well but Bechers takes it's toll Akarus gets hampered by a loose horse and falls, Bounce Back Falls, Risk Accessor Falls, Montreal falls, Skycab Falls, What's up boys jumps the fence well but is hampered and brought down with nowhere to go, Bramble hill Duke try's to refuse and unseats his rider, Bindaree is very unlucky he is hampered going into the fence by Blowing Wind who refused, He has to jump across the fence this he does bravely but on landing he is hampered and unseats his rider but it is not his or his riders fault he just has nowhere to go. So we lose nine at the fence and the rest of the field go on to the next.

The seventh fence is the smallest on the course, Foinavon, at it Alcapone leads. Hedgehunter and Gunner Welburn both jump it well but Spot the Difference makes a mistake and so does Mantles Prince.

The next is the Canal turn and the horses are led out to the outside of the fence to jump it at an angle the leaders jump it well but in third place Alexandra Banquet jumps it big and stumbles on landing this almost leads to him unseating but his jockey holds on and it's onto the next.

Valentines Brook is the ninth fence and at it Exit to wave is pulled up. The others in the field jump it well and go on to the next.

The 10th fence is next and in the run up to it the field are starting to get spread out however all horses jump it well.

At the 11th Wonder Weasel is not fluent but all are safe and it's on to the next.

At the 12th Alcapone makes a mistake when in front. But the field streams over it

Over the Anchor Bridge end of the Melling Road and back onto the course proper. The Leader is Hedgehunter, from Puntal and Alcapone, next is Lord Atterbury then Gunner Welburn followed by Alexandra Banquet. Next in the field is Monty's Pass. He is followed by Bear on Board and Clan Royal who is making up good ground.

The Next is the 13th fence. All horses jump it well and onto the 2nd in the home run.

At the 14th Hedgehunter increases his lead over Puntal and next is a close Lord Atterbury Next is Alcapone followed by Gunner Welburn

All horses jump it well and it's on to the biggest fence in the field The Chair. at_the_chair Hedgehunter jumps it first three length ahead of the field, next is Puntal then Lord Atterbury, next is Alcapone, they all jump it well, Takagi try's a big leap and lands unbalanced and unseats his jockey. Monty's Pass in next and he is going well.

The next fence is the Water and Hedgehunter leads the field over the long low fence.No Fallers at this one and the field runs past the winning post and around the bend to the start and they have completed one lap and now have to do it all again.

As they go on to the first for the second time Hedgehunter is in the lead by two length's, then is Puntal, then Lord Atterbury and then Alcapone, next is Clan Royal who keeps on improving. Gunner Welburn is next followed by Monty's Pass and Alexandra banquet who gets a few reminders. Bear on Board is next then Smarty who is staying on and Amberleigh house who is still with the field. Le Coudray and Wonder Weasel are next. Then comes Royal Atalza and Just in Debt, Ardent Scout David's Lad, Kingsmark, southern Star, Bunny Boiler, Spot the difference and Joss Naylor is last. Mantles Prince is pulled up. With 22 still in the field they go on to what was the first and is now the 17th.

At the 17th Hedgehunter leads the field of horses over the fence, Clan royal continues to make ground.

Before they reach the 18th Southern Star is being pulled up. At the fence the leaders Hedgehunter, Puntal and Lord Atterbury are still in the lead and jump it well however Alexandra banquet makes a bad mistake and falls.

On to the 19th and Joss Naylor is pulled up at the back of the field. Puntal blunders and unseats his rider and leaves Clan Royal in fourth position. The rest of the field is now being spread out again but all jump it well. And 17 go one to the next.

Before the 20th fence Gunner Welburn is pulled up and Spot the Difference makes a, mistake, Alcapone also makes a mistake. Amberleigh House makes up ground. 16 go on to the next.

The field is getting spread even more now, Hedgehunter is in the lead and next is the improving Clan Royal and Lord Atterbury follows him. At the 21st all jump the fence.

The 22nd is Bechers and Hedgehunter by a length to Clan Royal, A half a length behind them is Lord Atterbury, Next over the fence is Bear on Board who is five lengths behind. A half a length behind is Monty's Pass. Next is Amberleigh House who is still making up ground. Next at the fence is LeCoudray who makes a bad mistake and falls.

15 left and it's on to Valentines the 23rd. The three leaders are 6 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. They jump it well and next is Bear on Board who is untidy at the fence. Next is Monty's Pass and Amberleigh House. Just in debt makes a bad mistake and unseats his rider this leaves 14 for the next.

The 24th fence is the Canal Turn No change up front and the next three are 10 lengths behind the first three and are 8 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. All horses left in the field jump it well. Alcapone gets pulled up and 13 continue on to the next.

At the 25th the furious pace does not seem to be fading at all and at the next fence the first three jump it well, the next three also do well. A long way back are the other 7 but they are still going and still have some chance of glory but from this position is will be very hard.

At the 26th fence Hedgehunter jumps the fence well but Clan Royal makes a mistake and pecks but he gets away with it but his jockey looses his whip. Lord Atterbury jumps the fence and these three lead the field in the world's greatest steeplechase.

On the run to the 27th Wonder Weasel gets pulled up. At the fence Hedgehunter and Clan Royal jump it well but Lord Atterbury brushes through the fence and loses some ground.

At the next the leaders jump it well. Hedge Hunter is a length ahead of Clan Royal and he is a length ahead of Lord Atterbury. The Next three who are now spreading out are lead by Amberleigh House two lengths, behind him and now feeling his big weight and the furious pace is the brave Monty's Pass. Next is another tired horse Bear on Board. He is 10 lengths from the rest of the field. Royal Atalza is pulled up and there are now only 12 left in the 2004 Grand National.

The field now cross the Melling road again and turn on to the final bend. Amberleigh house is making relentless progress and is leaving Monty's pass 15 lengths behind but as he is 10 lengths behind the leader has he left it too late. The winner now must come from this first four.

Hedgehunter now is starting to show signs of tiring and Clan Royal seems to be going the best of the first three and Lord Atterbury is moving into a close second.

At the 2nd Last Clan Royal is in a one length lead and jumps it well, he is followed by Lord Atterbury who also jumps it well but both horses are starting to look tired at this relentless pace. Hedgehunter makes a tired jump out to the right one length behind. Amberleigh House is still making ground on the tired horses in front and jumps the fence two lengths behind. And now it's on to the last.

At the last Clan Royal jumps the fence in front but looks a tired horse, he has caught up and is in front but the fast pace of the race is now starting to tell he is running on memory. Lord Atterbury jumps the fence next he also looks very tired and this extended distance and furious pace is really telling now he is just running and holding on. Next at the fence is Hedgehunter who is less than a length behind but the trail blazing way this horse runs has just been too much, he has been disputing the lead for so long he has now given everything, the jockey just needs one more effort, the horse digs deep and jumps the fence but at the other side he is drained and is unable to find a leg, it's heart breaking but he falls the jockey rolls clear, the horse looks up but is unable to get up, he is so exhausted his head falls back down, he has given so much he does not even have enough breath left to get up. As the jockey rolls away Amberleigh House jumps the fence in front of him and he is closing. The rest of the field are 20 lengths behind.

On the run in there are only three in with a chance of glory now. Clan Royal is a length in the lead from Lord Atterbury and a further 5 lengths behind is Amberleigh House. As the horses go to the elbow Clan Royal is not turning out to the right, Lord Atterbury is turning to the right to get the correct route but he is now going very slowly. Amberleigh House is going well and has made up another length.

Liam Cooper on Clan Royal pulls the horse around to get him back on course but the horse is tired and over compensates he goes across the course and touches into Lord Atterbury. Both horses have now given all and can do no more than stay on. Amberleigh House is the only one still going on and has made up another length.

As they go past the elbow all jockeys are asking for more, Clan Royal still in front stays on as does Lord Atterbury but Amberleigh house is almost with them. Half way up the run in Amberleigh House gets the better of Lord Atterbury and then goes on to take the lead from Clan Royal he goes on by three lengths to win the 2004 Grand National.

Three Lengths behind is Clan Royal And a further Length behind is Lord Atterbury.

29 Lengths behind is Monty's Pass who finishes fourth. 1 length behind is Spot the Difference and 31/2 lengths behind him is Smarty.

Winner Comments

Amberleigh House

Recent trends tell us that 12 year olds do-not win Nationals; Horses that have run in the race before do-not win Nationals. Well nobody told Amberleigh House. This horse ran a blinder this year to come out on top. What's more there was no fluke here, he had problems in running and was not where his jockey wanted him to be throughout the race, he jumped every fence, which 20 of his rivals did not. The old boy simply did his best again on his favourite course and in the end he was staying on when others were going up and down on the spot. He came through when needed and gave all his connections a well-deserved win in the race. It was great today to hear the crowd all in full voice. If you weren't on Clan Royal then you were shouting for Amberleigh House, this is the stuff that makes Aintree legends. Everybody is aware that Ginger McCain the trainer behind Red Rums three wins is the trainer of Amberleigh House and that was the reason why I did not here one person make any negative comment about the horses win. Guts, determination, a love of the course, and the will to win were all in view today when this horse came up the long run in to capture the worlds greatest steeplechase. He has run over these fences 6 times before and always looked good and the only time he did not get round was no his fault he was brought down. His trainer expects him to be back next year for another crack, well all his connections should celebrate now and enjoy this year because horses don't come back and win again, but don't tell Amberleigh House or Ginger they don't respect stats they just break them.

Ginger McCain

Donald McCain who's he He's the man who trained Red Rum, oh you mean Ginger, yes we mean Ginger. A well respected trainer who now has re-gained the title king of Aintree. Nobody in the world knows more about what it takes to win The World Greatest Steeplechase. It was good to see Ginger in the winner's enclosure at this meeting again. Ginger has been a trainer since 1952 when he took out his first permit and now at the age of 73 and with nothing else to prove in the race you would think retirement would be on the cards well Ginger said "I did think that if I won the national again I'd consider it, but bugger it I might just squeeze another one in". Despite these words Ginger was quite to praise his son Donald Jr. and said that it was his son who has put in the bulk of the work riding out the horse and getting him fit and there is also another McCain Sian, Donald jr's wife who looks after the horse who also needs a mention. As you can see this is a team affair and in the future when the great man retires then Donald will get all the limelight he deserves but right now it's Ginger the toast of The Grand National.

Graham Lee

graham_leeGraham, was not even born when Red Rum won his first two nationals, but this jockey is having the best season of his life this year and this is the icing on the cake. Graham is a good jockey who has had some good wins but as he rides many horses in the north of the country he can sometime be overlooked. His big race wins include his win in the Becher chase on this horse. He did not have everything his own way today but he did not panic and even when coming to the end of the race and saw he was some way behind he did not panic he was behind but he thought and hoped that because of the fast pace that the leaders would tire and he knew his horse would stay and so it was to be his horse kept on while the others tired. He rode a great race today and who knows, maybe he'll do it again next year.

Second Place

Clan Royal

Clan Royal was trying to make it four in a row but he found one too good today. He ran a blinder of a race and jumped well until he reached five from home when a blunder allowed his jockey to lose his whip. Coming to the last fence he reached at it when in the lead and was a little untidy and as he had by then given all he could he started to wander about the wide course and he was passed by the winner but he kemp on well to finish a good runner up. It was perhaps a strange feeling having to submit first place to a horse he had beaten over these fences earlier in the year but the was no shame today in getting beat as he did everything he could to win but just found one too good today. At 9 he will be back for another crack at the race and who knows he might just go one better. He will almost certainly defend his crown at the course in the Tote Becher next season also.

Jonjo O'Neill

Jonjo is becoming one of the best trainers around. He took over the reigns at Jackdaws Castle where he has stamped his own style on one of the best horse training facility in the country. He is getting more winners all the time. Jonjo is probably still best know for riding Dawn Run to victory in the Champion Hurdle and also the gold cup but soon he could be known for even greater events in training.

Graham Lee

Liam Cooper is the stable jockey to Jonjo and as such has a great future ahead of him. He will find himself riding the best horses and why not, he is a god race judge as he showed today when even after loosing his whip he still managed to obtain the best place that the horse could have gained. There will be a lot more winners for Liam and his future looks bright.

Third Place

Lord Atterbury

Lord_Atterbury The real amateur in the race, with four hunter chases under his belt. He was strongly fancied to win the Hunter Chase at Cheltenham at the Festival however he disappointed that day and was pulled up. Today he was back on song, this time trained by M.Pipe who took over from his amateur training son. Lord Atterbury ran a really good race despite hitting a few fences he ran bravely throughout the race. He finished tiered but has the right to with four and a half miles covered at racing speed. 8 years old he is sure to win more races and is another who will try another crack at the race, lets hope the handicapper is not too heavy on him for this fine run.

Martin Pipe

Martin Pipe has won the trainers title on many occasions and it one of the best trainers around. He has lots of horses and lots of runners and he also gets lots of winners. After this meeting he was top of the trainers title race again. He has broken almost every record that it is possible to break and shows no sign of slowing down. He often does well with horses from other stable and usually finds improvement in them.


Mark Bradbourne is a fine jockey. He does not get his fair share of rides and showed today that with a good horse he can do well. He was a little unlucky in 1999 when his mother trained a fine horse called Blue Charm and he was set to ride however he was injured and Lorcan Wyer stepped in that day to be second, it must have been heart breaking for him but he was very gallant in his comments after the race. He is a good jockey and seems like a very nice man. He deserves to win a really big race like this. He will surly win more races when he gets the chance.

Fourth Place

Monty's Pass

Last year winner ran a cracker again, If not for the huge hike in the weights it could all have been so different. He ran his heart out today and although 34 lengths behind the winner he was carrying a stone more in weight. He hasn't really shown his best this year yet but of course he was trained with today in mind and it all paid off with a great run. He was always in touch with the leaders right up until about 4 from home when his weight burden started to tell however he did not give up and finished with great credit. A fine run from the reining champion.

J. Mangan

One of the smaller trainers in Ireland James Mangan is a fine man who tasted success with this horse last year. He was very happy with the horses run and so he should be he did very well to get this horse here again in the peak of his form. He's another who will be back next year or maybe the connections will try a crack at one of the other nationals.

Barry Geraghty

Barry rode a fine race today. He kept the horse in touch for as long as he could and kept the horse going when he started to slow down. He rode the horse sympathetically and got the best from him. Barry is a fine rider who is at the top of his form. He is the regular jockey for this horse and another champion in the form of the two miler Moscow Flyer. Barry is a top jockey and as such gets good rides and never seems to lose with a horse that has a winning chance. 

Full List of Finishers

1st AMBERLEIGH HOUSE 12-10-10 (Halewood Intnl Ltd) Ginger McCain Graham Lee 16/1
2nd CLAN ROYAL 9-10-05 (J P McMAnus) Jonjo O'Neill Liam Cooper 10/1 CF
3rd LORD ATTERBURY 8-10-01 (David Johnson) Martin Pipe Mark Bradburne 40/1
4th MONTY'S PASS 11-11-10 (Dee Racing Syndicate) Jimmy Mangan IRE Barry Geraghty 20/1
5th SPOT THE DIFFERENCE 11-10-04 (J P McManus) Enda Bolger IRE Richard McGrath
6th SMARTY 11-10-00 (Tracy Brown) Mark Pitman Andrew Tinkler
7th ARDENT SCOUT 12-10-03 (Alicia & Warren Skene) Sue Smith Warren Marston
8th BEAR ON BOARD 9-10-01 (Jim Brown) Alan King Robert Thornton
9th KINGSMARK 11-11-07 (Sir Robert Ogden) Martin Todhunter Mick Fitzgerald
10th THE BUNNY BOILER 10-10-08 (The Usual Suspects Syndicate) Noel Meade IRE Ross Geraghty
11th DAVIDS LAD 10-11-04 (Eddie Joes Racing Syndicate) Tony Martin IRE Timmy Murphy
1st Fence
FELL LUZCADOU 11-10-00 (Andrew Chappell) Ferdy Murphy Brian Harding
FELL ARTIC JACK 8-11-07 (Trevor Hemmingfs) Sue Smith Dominic Elsworth
BD KELAMI 6-10-07 (Halewood International Ltd) Francois Doumen FR Thierry Doumen
2ND Fence
3RD Fence
UR SHARDAM 7-10-11 (Howard & Alan Parker) Nigel Twiston Davies Tom Scudamore
4TH Fence
FELL JURANCON II 7-10-07 (David Johnson) Martin Pipe Tony McCoy 10/1 CF
5TH Fence
6TH Fence
FELL BOUNCE BACK 8-10-04 (Belinda Harvey) Martin Pipe Andrew Thornton
FELL AKARUS 9-10-04 (John White) Martin Pipe Rodi Greene 10/1 CF
FELL RISK ACCESSOR 9-11-04 (J P McManus) Christy Roche IRE Seamus Durack
FELL MONTREAL 7-10-00 (David Johnson) Martin Pipe Joey Elliott
FELL SKYCAB 12-10-01 (1lb ow) (P H Betts (Holdings) Ltd) Nick Gifford L Aspell
UR BINDAREE 10-11-04 (Raymond Mould) Nigel Twiston Davies Carl Llewellyn 10/1 CF
BD WHAT'S UP BOYS 10-11-09 (Jacky Deithrick) Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson
REF BLOWING WIND 11-10-01 (Peter Deal) Martin Pipe Jimmy McCarthy
REF BRAMBLEHILL DUKE 12-10-00 (Mel Davies) Venetia Williams James Davies
7TH Fence
8TH Fence
9TH Fence
PU EXIT TO WAVE 8-10-05 (Malcolm Pearce & Gerry Mizel II) Paul Nicholls Bobby McNally
10TH Fence
11TH Fence
12TH Fence
13TH Fence
14TH Fence
15TH Fence
UR TAKAGI 9-10-11 (Dermot Cox) Edward O'Grady IRE Davy Russell
16TH Fence
PU MANTLES PRINCE 12-10-01 (Emlyn Hughes Cleobury Golfers) Alan Juckes Ollie McPhail
17TH Fence
18TH Fence
FELL ALEXANDER BANQUET 11-11-08 Miriam O Callaghan Willie Mullins IRE Shay Barry
PU SOUTHERN STAR 9-10-13 (Trevor Hemmings) Henrietta Knight Joe Tizzard
19TH Fence
PU JOSS NAYLOR 9-10-11 (Darren Mercer) Jonjo O'Neill Paul Carberry 10/1 CF
UR PUNTAL 8-10-13 (Terry Neill) Martin Pipe Danny Howard
20TH Fence
PU GUNNER WELBURN 12-10-08 (William Ritson, David Hall, D Ellis) Andrew Balding Tony Dobbin
21ST Fence
22ND Fence
PU LE COUDRAY 10-11-12 (J P McManus) Christy Roche IRE Conor O'Dwyer
23RD Fence
UR JUST IN DEBT 8-10-05 (Bill Hazeldean) Martin Todhunter Jim Culloty
24TH Fence
25TH Fence
PU ALCAPONE 10-11-00 (Ann Daly) Mouse Morris (IRE) Noel Fehily
26TH Fence
27TH Fence
28TH Fence
PU WONDER WEASEL 11-10-06 (6lb ow) (Alan Halsall) Kim Bailey J P McNamara
29TH Fence
PU ROYAL ATALZA 7-10-06 (Terry Ramsden) Conrad Allen Paul Moloney
LAST Fence
FELL HEDGE HUNTER 8-10-12 (Trevor Hemmings) Willie Mullins IRE David Casey
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