Grand National 2014 results: Pineau De Re’s beano proves small miracle

Little outsider from obscure yard and trainer team up with veteran jockey who came back from retirement to produce a fairytale finish, writes Sue Montgomery at Aintree

Aintree

If ever a Grand National could be described as routine, perhaps this was the one. The thrills and spills that inevitably go with a 40-runner steeplechase over such unique fences were there, and the required fairytale result.

The 25-1 winner, Pineau De Re, is trained by Richard Newland, who has a string of only a dozen at his Worcestershire stable and who was still a practising GP less than a year ago. In fact, it was all just what the doctor ordered. And the vets, too, for last night all the horses were safely back in their stables.

Pineau De Re led before the last fence and stretched stoutly five lengths clear of 14-1 shot Balthazar King, Double Seven, one of the 10-1 joint favourites, Alvarado at 33-1 and Rocky Creek. And his rider, Leighton Aspell seemed curiously underwhelmed for a man who had just won Britain’s first £1 million jumps race. No punching the air, not even a smile of exultation.

 

Be in no doubt, however, that he was pleased with his afternoon’s work. Aspell, 37, had retired from the saddle seven years ago and gone to work behind the scenes for Flat trainer John Dunlop. But he so missed the camaraderie of the weighing room and the buzz of competition that he returned to the saddle four years ago. He came close to National victory on his first ride in the race, when Supreme Glory beat all bar Monty’s Pass in 2003. Pineau De Re was his sixth ride since then, and yesterday was the first time he had sat on the gelding in public.

“I think when I crossed the line it was a combination of tiredness and adrenaline,” he said, “but inside the feeling was elation. This is what we do it for, and what I came back for.

“At my age, I won’t have many more chances to win. I’ve been watching the National since I was a very young boy. To get a ride in the National – which I did after a bit of jockey-hopping after injuries at Cheltenham – is a great thing, to get on one with a chance is even better. For as much as you enjoy sharing your colleagues’ success, you crave a bit of it too.”

Aspell crowns 'lovely' return with victory on Pineau De Re

Yesterday was Pineau De Re’s second victory in a Grand National, having won the Ulster version, a three-and-a-half-mile contest over regulation fences, at Downpatrick a year ago. That success caught the eye of Newland and the gelding’s owner, John Provan, when they were looking for an Aintree type. Provan, a former amateur jockey and now successful businessman, was instrumental in helping Newland set up his training operation.

The 11-year-old – the third of his age in a row to win – booked his place in the field when he won a veterans’ chase at Exeter in January, and warmed up with a close third over hurdles at last month’s Cheltenham Festival. He did not instantly take to the fences yesterday, with a couple of mistakes in among the pack, but Aspell sat tight and his mount warmed to his task.

“I was very conscious that over nearly four-and-a-half miles I didn’t want to be in front too soon,” said Aspell. “He’s only a small horse, so he has to try very hard with his jumping, and the worry was lack of daylight in among runners. But once we got daylight in the closing stages, from the Canal Turn, he really enjoyed himself. He is small, but he’s a terrier.”

Pineau De Re went past Rocky Creek and Double Seven after the penultimate obstacle and had enough of a lead to fend off the last to challenge from those behind, Balthazar King. “I waited for Noel [Fehily, on Rocky Creek] for a furlong, and then from two out I aimed for the middle of the last, and that was my route home,” Aspell explained. “I met the last really well, but you’re never certain of winning up that run-in, even when you reach The Elbow.”

Grand National results: Where did your horse finish?

Of the fancied runners, last year’s third, Teaforthree, unseated at The Chair, Tidal Bay did the same at the eighth, Long Run fell at the ninth and Monbeg Dude completed in seventh place. Perhaps the unluckiest exit concerned Across The Bay, who was in a clear lead when he was carried off the course after a circuit by a loose rival heading for the stables. Of the 39 who set out – outsider Battle Group planted himself after a false start – 18 finished, with Hawkes Point the lanterne rouge.

Newland combines training – which he does most successfully with his limited resources, having scored at the Cheltenham Festival soon after taking a licence – with his day job running a Birmingham medical practice. “The horses are just a hobby, really,” he said. “I feed them in the morning, harrow the gallop and leave instructions. I go out with the horses when I can, but quite often I have to leave it to the team.

“John [Provan] is my oldest friend in racing and we’ve been coming here together for 20 years, long before I owned or trained horses. It’s always been our dream to have a National runner. And we love taking on the big guys.”

Which they did in style yesterday. It was definitely David’s day.

Jockeys ignore inquiry

All 39 Grand National jockeys who started the race declined to attend a stewards' inquiry into a false start, or to send a representative. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said the inquiry has been adjourned, to be held at their headquarters in London.

The BHA said an assistant starter, Simon McNeill, was knocked down as the riders moved towards the start. He was not thought to be badly hurt. Of the 40 jockeys who originally lined up, only Brendan Powell – the rider of Battle Group – was not involved in the dispute, because his horse planted itself and would not approach the start.

Doctor’s perfect prescription

Dr Newland trains a small stable of horses at Claines in Worcestershire having retired as a GP, but continues to run a medical practice. “We are so lucky to have such a lovely horse. It’s a dream come true,” he told the BBC. “Leighton [Aspell] is a top-class jockey – he had a plan and delivered it superbly. One of the reasons I put him on the horse was because he’s had a bit of a comeback season. I just thought maybe, with his confidence high, he could go one better.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk