2012 Grand National
No horserace evokes as much emotion as the Grand National and the 2012 renewal emphasised the excitement and the passion of this most famous of all races.
In 2010 we had scenes of relief and joy as AP McCoy finally won the one big race that had eluded him and in 2011 Ballabriggs’ victory for the McCain yard reminded everyone of the Grand National’s greatest exponent: Red Rum.
How could this great race follow that in 2012 Amazingly, the latest running of the Grand National could claim to be the most dramatic of all with a titanic battle on the run-in with one horse crossing the line the smallest of distances in front of his main opponent. Neptune Collonges and Sunnyhillboy had the race between them from the elbow and it was the Paul Nicholls trained grey that just prevailed in the end by a nose.
The gallant Seabass and Katie Walsh had led over the last fence but Sunnyhillboy powered past them shortly after the jump and looked to be heading for another Grand National victory for Jonjo O’Neill.
With one hundred yards to go Sunnyhillboy still looked as if he would win but then his jockey Ritchie McLernon started to show signals that the horse was tiring and Daryl Jacob managed to conjure a last gasp drive on Neptune Collonges.
Both horses seemed to hit the line as one and for a moment it looked as though for the first time ever the Grand National might have ended in a dead-heat. It seemed impossible to imagine that after four and a half miles there could be a photo-finish that was this close.
After an agonising wait for connections, it was finally announced that Neptune Collonges had won by the minimum distance possible. Chaotic scenes followed in the winner’s enclosure with Neptune’s owner John Hales in tears of joy.
Katie Walsh became the lady rider who has come closest to winning the Grand National in finishing third on Seabass, whilst in fourth place was Cappa Bleu who provided the fourth consecutive placing for owners Mr and Mrs William Rucker whose State Of Play had been placed for the last three years.
Neptune Collonges’ owner John Hales announced immediately after the race that the horse would now be retired. He has been a fantastic servant for his owner and trainer running a total of thirty-six times and winning sixteen of those starts.
The gallant grey was the first horse of his colour to win since Nickolaus Silver in 1961.
Neptune Collonges’£547K first prize took his career earnings to an amazing £1,313,675.
The other highlights of Neptune Collonges career include winning two Punchestown Gold Cups and an Irish Hennessy.
Neptune Collonges has been one of the stars of National Hunt racing in recent years and can now look forward to a happy retirement.
Winning owner John Hales said: “This is so emotional for me and he retires today. I just wanted to get him round safely but I never dreamed he would win. I thought the handicapper had given him 6lb too much.”
“The family were split whether to run Neptune Collonges. My daughter is showjumping down in south Wales - she has probably jumped off the horse if she is in the middle of a round!”
“He will never race again - that’s it.”
“Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! I wasn’t sure we had got there,” said Nicholls. “He was running away when the other horse was stopping and I thought the verdict could have gone either way. He got there at the right time and that’s what counts. This has been a race we haven’t had the best of luck in but it’s great to win. It’s a race everyone knows and everyone watches. What a brilliant ride. I am so chuffed for Daryl (Jacob)”
Neptune Collonges victory snatched a seventh trainer’s title for Paul Nicholls after it looked destined to go to his great rival, Nicky Henderson.
“I had given up on the trainers’ championship - I told Nicky that it was all over.” said Nicholls.
“I just kept my head down and the horse kept grinding out the whole way to the line. I wasn’t sure where the winning line was but I knew that, inch by inch, I was starting to grind him down. Luckily enough, the line came and we held on just enough to get there,” said Daryl Jacob.
“Nipper (Neptune Collonges) was very, very good - he got me out of trouble the whole way. I was going as fast as I was going from the start of the race to the finish of the race. He knew exactly what pace he was going and I just had trust him on it. I don’t think he missed a beat the whole way round and he loved it.
This means the whole world to me; it’s the race every jockey wants to win.”
Full List of Runners
|1||Neptune Collonges||11||11-6||Paul Nicholls||Daryl Jacob||33/1|
|2||Sunnyhillboy||9||10-5||Jonjo O’Neill||Richie McLernon||16/1|
|3||Seabass||9||10-12||Ted Walsh||Katie Walsh||8/1JF|
|4||Cappa Bleu||10||10-10||Evan Williams||Paul Moloney||16/1|
|5||In Compliance||12||10-0||Dessie Hughes||Niall Madden||100/1|
|6||Ballabriggs||11||11-9||Donald McCain||Jason Maguire||12/1|
|7||Hello Bud||14||10-0||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Sam Twiston-Davies||33/1|
|8||Tharawaat||7||10-4||Gordon Elliott||Brian O’Connell||125/1|
|9||Shakalakaboomboom||8||10-12||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty||8/1JF|
|10||Swing Bill||11||10-3||David Pipe||Conor O’Farrell||100/1|
|11||The Midnight Club||11||10-8||W P Mullins||Andrew Tinkler||40/1|
|12||Planet Of Sound||10||11-5||Philip Hobbs||Richard Johnson||33/1|
|13||Neptune Equester||9||10-0||Brian Ellison||Felix De Giles||100/1|
|14||Calgary Bay||9||11-6||Henrietta Knight||Dominic Elsworth||33/1|
|15||Midnight Haze||10||10-0||Kim Bailey||Sean Quinlan||80/1|
|Did Not Complete:|
|Fell 1st||Viking Blond||7||10-0||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Brian Hughes||80/1|
|Fell 2nd||West End Rocker||10||10-12||Alan King||Wayne Hutchinson||16/1|
|Fell 2nd||Junior||9||11-2||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore||16/1|
|UR 5th||State Of Play||12||10-3||Evan Williams||Noel Fehily||40/1|
|BD 5th||Chicago Grey||9||10-13||Gordon Elliott||Paul Carberry||20/1|
|BD 5th||Rare Bob||10||10-9||Dessie Hughes||Bryan Cooper||40/1|
|Fell 6th (Bechers)||Synchronised||9||11-10||Jonjo O'Neill||AP McCoy||10/1|
|Fell 7th||Alfa Beat||8||11-5||John Joseph Hanlon||Davy Russell||50/1|
|Fell 8th||Black Apalachi||13||11-3||Dessie Hughes||Denis O'Regan||25/1|
|Fell 8th||Becauseicouldntsee||9||10-3||Noel Glynn||Davy Condon||25/1|
|UR 8th||Killyglen||10||10-4||S R Crawford||Robbie Power||14/1|
|UR 8th||Tatenen||8||10-13||Richard Rowe||Andrew Thornton||100/1|
|UR 8th||Organised Confusion||7||10-8||Arthur Moore||Nina Carberry||20/1|
|Fell 10th||Treacle||11||10-8||Tom Taaffe||Andrew Lynch||22/1|
|UR 10th||Arbor Supreme||10||10-7||Jonjo O'Neill||Mark Walsh||100/1|
|PU before 11th||Giles Cross||10||10-1||Victor Dartnall||Paddy Brennan||20/1|
|UR 15th (The Chair)||Always Right||10||10-10||John Wade||James Reveley||25/1|
|Fell 17th||Quiscover Fontaine||8||10-4||Willie Mullins||David Casey||50/1|
|PU before 19th||Deep Purple||11||11-3||Evan Williams||Jamie Moore||25/1|
|Refused 19th||Vic Venturi||12||10-0||Dessie Hughes||Harry Skelton||80/1|
|PU before 22nd (Bechers)||Postmaster||10||10-2||Tim Vaughan||Dougie Costello||100/1|
|PU before 22nd (Bechers)||Mon Mome||12||10-8||Venetia Williams||Aidan Coleman||50/1|
|UR 22nd (Bechers)||On His Own||8||10-11||Willie Mullins||Paul Townend||14/1|
|BD 22nd (Bechers)||According To Pete||11||10-12||Malcolm Jefferson||Harry Haynes||28/1|
|Fell 27th||Weird Al||9||11-8||Donald McCain||Timmy Murphy||28/1|