Racing: Grand National: Miinnehoma's starring role: Grand National: Dunwoody claims his second Aintree triumph as the gallant grandmother is one of only six finishers

MIINNEHOMA, a 16-1 shot owned by the comedian Freddie Starr, won the Grand National at Aintree yesterday in a contest for horses with big hearts and jockeys with strong nerves. The race gave his rider, Richard Dunwoody, a second victory following West Tip in 1986. To Martin Pipe, his trainer, the 11- year-old bay gelding presented a first Grand National success.

Second, by one and a quarter lengths, came another 11- year-old, Just So, who was stirred into a thrilling late surge by Simon Burrough, who was putting up what might have been a crucial 3lb overweight. Brought up from Taunton by Henry Cole, his owner and trainer, the big black horse revelled in the going, which had been softened to a mush by Friday's rain and hail but suffered no further deterioration on raceday. Just So had taken over the final challenge from Moorcroft Boy, the 5-1 favourite, which Adrian Maguire had kept in the picture throughout the second circuit until they faded after the last.

'I got up this morning and saw the snow,' the 30-year-old Dunwoody said, 'and I thought that was a good omen. The last time there was snow at Aintree on Grand National morning was the year West Tip won. It was very, very testing today. The loose horses were a problem all the way through.'

When Burrough launched Just So's attack at The Elbow, Dunwoody had his worst moment of the race. 'I was worried when the other horse got up to my girth. If he'd gone past quickly, he'd have won. But my horse picked up again, and that was it. He's a class horse.'

The swampy conditions left only six of the 36 starters running at the finish - attrition to match the 1980 race, when a quartet reached the line from a field of 30. It was the second slowest National since the war.

Crossing the line behind the first three came Ebony Jane, whose jockey, Liam Cusack, reported that he had been brought to a standstill by a riderless horse. Fifth was Fiddlers Pike, ridden by his owner-trainer, Rosemary Henderson, the 51- year-old grandmother from Okehampton. Only the second woman to complete the National course, she had backed herself at 8-1 to do just that. 'He's a wonderful jumper, and he went really well,' she said. 'I wasn't too puffed at the end, so I obviously hadn't kicked hard enough.' A distance behind her came Roc De Prince, also trained by Pipe.

The competitors' nerves were not the only ones fluttering. A repeat of last year's tragi- comedy would have jeopardised the sponsorship and probably the entire future of the 155- year-old steeplechase. But the new push-button starting system worked perfectly, while a reputed pounds 1m-worth of security precautions kept the animal- rights activists at bay.

The start was calm, orderly, and a first-timer. The bright line of horses and jockeys wavered and broke, and the race really was, to everyone's relief, off.

Such sentiments were short- lived for three jockeys as Fourth Of July, Henry Mann and Elfast came down at the first, by which time the Czech no-hoper, Quirinus, was already tailed-off.

Up front the leaders were spread across the course; Garrison Savannah on the rails, Double Silk arrowing down the middle and Riverside Boy on the outside. The Fellow, outstandingly the pick of the paddock, had nodded at the first unfamiliar obstacle, but recovered and behind him Dunwoody had settled Miinnehoma into a handy seventh.

While Ron Treloggan's ride on Double Silk lasted, it was magnificent. His clever mount cleared the fences by feet, led over Becher's first time and made yards when he cut across the angle at the Canal Turn. Irish luck ran out at Becher's: three of them, New Mill House, Its A Cracker and Laura's Beau, came down in a heap.

By Valentine's the field was strung out with Double Silk, Young Hustler, Riverside Boy and Garrison Savannah taking them along. The first of those to go was Young Hustler at the 11th, and then two fences later it was unlucky 13 for Treloggan.

Double Silk fell for the first time in his life while 'still cantering' according to his rider; that fence, an innocuous one, also claimed Master Oats, Mr Boston, Topsham Bay and Mighty Falcon.

At The Chair, The Fellow's prodigious leap took him up level with Miinnehoma, as Black Humour crashed behind them, aggravating Graham Bradley's recent shoulder injury. At the water there were only 13 of the 36 starters left.

By Becher's again only the toughest were going, as the heavy ground drained the energy from limbs and added inches to the fences. Ebony Jane was now in front, Moorcroft Boy threatening and Miinnehoma was going easily. The Fellow suddenly looked tired; he was on his nose at Becher's, was hampered at the 23rd, and fell at the Canal Turn, where he took a horrid blow from a following horse, a poor reward for his efforts.

Over the last two it was a duel between the old adversaries Maguire and Dunwoody, as Moorcroft Boy and Miinehoma rose at the fences together. At the last, just behind them, Into The Red unseated last year's 'winning jockey' John White.

On that endless run-in Moorcroft Boy's stamina ran out, but Just So's came into play. He got to Miinnehoma's girth, but no further. 'I thought I'd got it,' Burrough said. 'He just needed to pull out that little bit more.'

After last year's fiasco, yesterday's race was decided as it should be, by the horses. And happily, although Double Silk was badly bruised and Quirinus sprained a tendon, there were no fatalities.

Where they fell, page 2

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect