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.”

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
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

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