Grand National 2008

OLBG - Grand National 2008

Race Summary

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.

Winner Comments

Comply Or Die

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.

David Pipe

Starting out on his chosen career David Pipe must have had more pressure than most new trainers. His father Martin was for so long the champion trainer breaking all records before him and was always going to be a tough act to follow. Even if you consider that he was lucky enough to have good owners like David Johnson giving him good horses he still had to go out there and do the job. So it is a remarkable achievement that he has done in his second season what it took his father 20 years to achieve and win The Grand National. David started out as a jockey but soon got the training bug and was a successful Point-to-point trainer sending out over 160 winners. His training credentials under rules are also solid, as he has spent time with Michael Dickinson in the USA and Criquette Head-Mareek in France before taking over from Martin at the yard. Clearly a man with a bright future in training, this success will breed more success for him and even at this early stage we see him merging quickly from the great shadow of Martin.

Timmy Murphy

One of the best jockeys around Timmy Murphy is well liked by the public and has managed to do what so many great jockeys fail to do and has won The Grand National. Second in the 2001 Grand National on Smarty he has gone one better today rounding off what has been a good year for both himself and the man who retains him, David Johnson. Having had problems with his binge drinking in the past he has got over this problem and today is on top of the racing world. Today he gave this horse a dream ride. Staying wide on much of the course, he allowed the horse to have a clear look at the fences and because of his good start to the race was able to give the horse plenty of time at the fences. Riding like the master he is he did not panic when he was in front after the last he just gave the horse enough encouragement to go on and win and should take a lot of the credit for this win today.


King Johns Castle

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 well respected successful Irish trainer he has good horses in his charge. Arthur Moore prepared this horse to be spot on today by following the now traditional method of preparing Grand National runners by running in hurdle races. This was a good result from a trainer who has not had much luck in this race and he will be looking forward to a re-match next year.

P. Carberry

A master jockey from the Carberry dynasty. Paul who won this race in 1999, and who started the trend of Irish winners gave this horse a super ride today. Always having the horse in mid-division he produced the horse at the right time but was unlucky to come up against a good chaser. He said after the race that he thought he was going to “catch the winner on the run” in but today was not going to be his day. There will be other days for this jockey who will always be in demand by the best trainers in Ireland


Snowy Morning

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.

W. P. Mullins

Top Irish trainer who has good horses well prepared to take part in the big races in this country. Having won the race with Hedgehunter, who also ran well today, he is still hungry for another win at this great race, and looks like he has a real good horse to take over where Hedgehunter leaves off.

D. J. Casey

A top class Irish jockey David gave this horse a really intelligent ride today. Being positive on the horse seemed to give the horse more confidence and he got the best from the horse today. Quoted after the race as saying “When Hedgehunter won I'd schooled him round for Ruby the year before and the same might happen again." It would be a shame if that happened, as another jockey might not have got the tune out of the horse that he did today.


Slim Pickings

Third last year he has run a good race again today. Up 7 lbs in the weights, he probably did his connections justice again this year improving on last years performance if not improving his place in the result. He is just 9 years old and now has two great Grand National runs under his belt. He clearly likes the course and will be back next year, and with just a little improvement who knows what could happen.

T. J. Taffe

Past Cheltenham gold cup winning trainer Tom Taffe is well respected in his native Ireland. Sending this horse here to run with credit and he has been able to confirm that last years running was no fluke. Having him well prepared this year I would think he is already setting out the horses perspiration for next year.

B. J. Geraghty

Barry Geraghty is one of the top jockeys. Having won most of the big races here including the Gold Cup, Champion Chase and this race back in 2003 he knows what is needed to get a horse round. Barry gave the horse a great ride today producing him at the right time but the horse was just not good enough today. 

Full List of Finishers

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
1st Fence
All jumped
2nd Fence
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
3rd Fence
F Fundamentalist
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
4th Fence
F Ardaghey (IRE) 9 10-7 D. J. & S. A. Goodman N A Twiston-Davies David England 100/1
5th Fence
All jumped
6th Fence
F No Full (FR) 7 10-12 Mrs P. Doyle Eoin Doyle J R Barry 125/1
7th Fence
All jumped
8th Fence
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
9th Fence
All jumped
10th Fence
All jumped
11th Fence
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
12th Fence
All jumped
13th Fence
All jumped
14th Fence
All jumped
15th Fence
All jumped
16th Fence
PU Point Barrow (IRE) 10 10-13 Mrs P.Clune Hughes, Mrs M.O'Dwyer, J.Foley P Hughes Tony Dobbin 25/1
17th Fence
PU Bob Hall (IRE) 7 10-11 Mr John P. McManus Jonjo O´Neill Noel Fehily 100/1
18th Fence
PU Vodka Bleu (FR) 9 11-2 Mr D. A. Johnson D E Pipe Paul Moloney 20/1
19th Fence
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
20th Fence
UR Mckelvey (IRE) 9 11-0 Mr N. Elliott P Bowen T J O´Brien 25/1
21st Fence
All jumped
22nd Fence
F Butler´s Cabin (FR) 8 11-3 Mr John P. McManus Jonjo O´Neill A P McCoy 10/1
23rd Fence
All jumped
24th Fence
All jumped
25th Fence
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
26th Fence
All jumped
27th Fence
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
28th Fence
All jumped
29th Fence
All jumped
30th Fence
PU Mr Pointment (IRE) 9 11-11 Stockton Heath Racing P F Nicholls Sam Thomas 25/1
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