Pineau De Re wins injury-free Grand National Steeplechase

Pineau De Re and Leighton Aspell at the finish line.
Pineau De Re and Leighton Aspell at the finish line.

French-bred jumper Pineau De Re has won the latest running of the Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree, the 25/1 shot running the four miles in just over nine minutes with Leighton Aspell on board.

Only 18 runners completed the race, but all 40 starters came back safe and sound, officials say.

Pineau De Re heads off Balthazar King and Double Seven.
Pineau De Re heads off Balthazar King and Double Seven.

Pineau De Re (Maresca Sorrento x Elfe du Perche [Abdonski]) is the third 11-year-old to win the race in the past three years. Pineau De Re is also the second Scottish-owned winner in succession, following Auroras Encore last year, and the sixth National winner to be bred in France.

Pineau De Re is not full thoroughbred; his fourth dam Loyola is a Selle Français, a French sport horse breed. His name refers to an aperitif wine produced in the Charente department in western France.

In second place five lengths back was Balthazar King (Richard Johnson), with  Double Seven third (AP McCoy). Mike Tindall’s highly fancied runner, Monbeg Dude, was ridden by Paul Carberry into seventh place.

The long-held dream of training and owning the winner of the Crabbie’s Grand National became reality for trainer Dr Richard Newland and owner John Provan, who have been friends for 25 years.

The pair met 25 years ago and Newland describes Provan as his “oldest racing friend”. “We’ve been coming here to Aintree for 20 years together long before I trained or even owned horses. It was always our dream to have a National runner.”

Newland, who trains 12 horses in Claines, Worcestershire, said: “Two out or three out we were getting excited. I was jumping up and down with my daughter. Leighton [Aspell, jockey] had a plan and delivered it superbly well. He’s a great guy and a good jockey and I’m thrilled for him. 

“When something like this happens you think perhaps I should stop now because it just can’t get better than this. He’s a classy, classy horse Pineau De Re, I’ve always thought that. When I got him he was 10, he’s 11 now but he doesn’t act like an 11-year-old, he’s got loads of ability and he still has all the enthusiasm to do the job.”

Newland, who studied medicine at Cambridge University, describes himself as a hobby trainer, and has 12 horses in work.

“I’m lucky enough to be able to do this and enjoy it but if you do it as a full-time job there’s a higher level of stress and less fun. I have a big gang of supporters here today and my three daughters so that makes it extra special.

“I feed the horses in the morning, harrow the gallop and leave instructions for the day. I go out with the horses when I can but quite often I have to leave it to the team,” he said.

Pineau De Re's name goes up on the winner's board.
Pineau De Re’s name goes up on the winner’s board.

“I’m involved in a number of different businesses but they’ve all got good management teams so I’m able to float with my time. With the racing we have a good hardcore team of five people, two excellent grooms and three really good work riders.”

Newland bought Pineau De Re at the time of the May Sales at Doncaster last year, just after he’d won the Ulster National at Downpatrick. “I had this inkling that this horse had run his career best over three and a half miles and there could be more to come. It was a bit bizarre to be buying a 10-year-old but we took a chance. We certainly didn’t think he’d romp home in the National but he has and that’s racing.

“John and I are very old friends who have been going to Aintree for 20 years and have always dreamed of having a Grand National horse. I tend to buy on spec and look for an owner but I said to someone that I’d guarantee I’d get this one sold in 60 seconds. I said to John that this could be a National horse. He asked how much and he bought the horse.”

Provan, originally from Glasgow, is a former amateur jockey who worked in various racing yards, including those of Tommy Taylor and John Mackie, and rode out most mornings. He now runs a print and packaging business called Printcut Boxfast and lives in Derbyshire.

He currently has three horses in training with Newland and bought Pineau De Re in a private deal with Barry Connell in the summer of 2013 before the horse went through the sales ring.

He said: “I wouldn’t normally buy a 10-year-old, it’s outside the age group I’d normally buy. I’d usually go for a five or six-year-old with a bit of future. I saw this as a window of opportunity. I thought we could maybe win a Midlands National and Scottish National but we could only dream of winning THE Grand National, it’s a dream. We decided to come here and chase the prize put up by Crabbie’s and it’s a fantastic sponsorship.

Pineau De Re's connections at the presentation.
Pineau De Re’s connections at the presentation.

“I’ve been in racing for quite a long time and did ride a bit as an amateur jockey. I’ve a couple of mares at home and bred a few horses. I’ve always been interested in horse racing, so that’s the history.”

It was a return to success for 37-year-old jockey Leighton Aspell, who had announced his retirement in July, 2007 and went to work for trainer John Dunlop for 18 months. But the lure of the saddle proved irresistible and he returned to race-riding in April, 2009.

He is currently enjoying his best season to date and this winner marked his 61st of the campaign.

The jockey had previously finished second in the Crabbie’s Grand National on board Supreme Glory in 2003 and was visibly delighted having gone one better this time.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Aspell.

“I was second on my first ride in 2003 on Supreme Glory for Pat Murphy and I had a few other rides since. I got around again once, then had a few falls and unseats but since 2003 this has been the first time I had a ride with a live chance.

“The feeling is just of elation when you cross the line. At my age, I won’t have many more chances to win! Every year, you share winning the National with your friends but obviously you want to do it yourself.

“I knew we were in with a chance jumping Valentine’s second time round. You’re never certain of winning, even when you reach the Elbow, but I knew we’d have to tie up badly to be caught at that point. We didn’t have a lot left to be honest but you wouldn’t at the end of this sort of trip.

“Even to get a ride in the National is a great thing but to get one with a live chance is even better.

“My family made the effort to come over yesterday on the train and we had a night out last night. We are all here today to enjoy it too.”

• The race was delayed by two false starts, and a stewards’ enquiry held into the start has been adjourned to be held at the British Horseracing Authority headquarters in London.

The matter has been referred to London because it was not able to be concluded as the result of the 39 jockeys involved refusing to return to the stewards’ room to hear the outcome. The jockeys also refused to send a representative.

The reason the enquiry was held was to see if the riders had lined up before they were invited to do so by the starter and whether they subsequently disobeyed the starter’s instructions, which put the safety of one of the starting staff at risk.

When the matter is referred to London, the Disciplinary Panel will consider the incidents at the start in full and whether to take further action against the riders for refusing to cooperate with the enquiry.

Results, Grade 3, £1,000,000. Weights: highest weight 11st 10lb; minimum weight 10st. Penalty value 1st £561,300.00 2nd £211,100.00 3rd £105,500.00 4th £52,700.00 5th £26,500.00 6th £13,200.00

1 PINEAU DE RE (FR) (John Provan) Dr Richard Newland 11-10-06 Leighton Aspell 25/1
2 BALTHAZAR KING (IRE) (The Brushmakers) Philip Hobbs 10-10-13 Richard Johnson 14/1
3 DOUBLE SEVEN (IRE) (J P McManus) Martin Brassil IRE tp8-10-11 A P McCoy 10/1 Jt Fav
4 ALVARADO (IRE) (William & Angela Rucker) Fergal O’Brien 9-10-02 Paul Moloney 33/1
5 ROCKY CREEK (IRE) (The Johnson & Stewart Families) Paul Nicholls 8-11-05 Noel Fehily
6 CHANCE DU ROY (FR) (Daphne Du Pre) Philip Hobbs p10-10-06 Tom O’Brien
7 MONBEG DUDE (IRE) (Oydunow) Michael Scudamore 9-10-09 Paul Carberry
8 RAZ DE MAREE (FR) (James Swan) Dessie Hughes IRE v9-10-03 Davy Condon
9 SWING BILL (FR) (Halewood International Ltd) David Pipe 13-10-01 Conor O’Farrell
10 KRUZHLININ (GER) (Paul & Clare Rooney) Donald McCain 7-10-06 Wilson Renwick
11 BUCKERS BRIDGE (IRE) (Ann & Alan Potts Partnership) Henry De Bromhead IRE 8-10-10 Andrew Lynch
12 THE PACKAGE (The Johnson Family) David Pipe tp11-10-04 Tom Scudamore
13 VESPER BELL (IRE) (Susannah Ricci) Willie Mullins IRE 8-10-05 Miss Katie Walsh
14 ACROSS THE BAY (IRE) (Scotch Piper Syndicate) Donald McCain bt10-10-11 Henry Brooke
15 MR MOONSHINE (IRE) (Douglas Pryde, Jim Beaumont, David van der Hoeven) Sue Smith 10-10-12 Ryan Mania
16 PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE (FR) (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Willie Mullins IRE 11-10-10 Paul Townend
17 HUNT BALL (IRE) (Atlantic Equine) Nicky Henderson 9-11-07 Andrew Tinkler
18 HAWKES POINT (Graham Roach) Paul Nicholls 9-10-06 Ryan Mahon
F1 TWIRLING MAGNET (IRE) (Gay Smith) Jonjo O’Neill tp8-10-5 Richie Mclernon
F3 BIG SHU (IRE) (Hugh Duffy, Richard Robinson & Caroline Woods) Peter Maher IRE t9-10-08 Peter Buchanan
F8 GOLAN WAY (W R B Racing 58) Tim Vaughan 10-10-05 Michael Byrne
F9 LONG RUN (FR) (Robert Waley-Cohen) Nicky Henderson p9-11-09 Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
F9 MOUNTAINOUS (IRE) (Walters Plant Hire & James & Jean Potter) Richard Lee 9-10-07 Jamie Moore
F22 ONE IN A MILAN (IRE) (Paul Langford) Evan Williams v9-10-02 Adam Wedge
F26 ROSE OF THE MOON (IRE) (Middleham Park Racing XXXII & Partners) David O’Meara p9-10-03 Jake Greenall
F28 WAYWARD PRINCE (John & Hilary Parrott) Hilary Parrott t10-10-13 Jack Doyle
PU BEF 29 WALKON (FR) (McNeill Family) Alan King p9-11-00 Wayne Hutchinson
PU BEF 25 COLBERT STATION (IRE) (J P McManus) Ted Walsh IRE t10-11-00 Mark Walsh
PU BEF 27 LION NA BEARNAI (IRE) (The Lock Syndicate) Tom Gibney IRE 12-10-10 Davy Russell
PU BEF 22 TRIOLO D’ALENE (FR) (Caroline & Sandy Orr) Nicky Henderson 7-11-06 Barry Geraghty
PU BEF 26 VINTAGE STAR (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Sue Smith 8-10-07 Brian Hughes
PU BEF 22 QUITO DE LA ROQUE (FR) (Gigginstown House Stud) Colm Murphy IRE p10-11-01 Brian O’Connell
PU BEF 20 SHAKALAKABOOMBOOM (IRE) (Liam Breslin) Nicky Henderson p10-10-03 David Bass
UR 2 BURTON PORT (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Jonjo O’Neill tp10-10-08 Brian Harding
UR 8 TIDAL BAY (IRE) (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Paul Nicholls 13-11-10 Sam Twiston-Davies
UR6 LAST TIME D’ALBAIN (FR) (Fontstown Syndicate) Liam Cusack IRE 10-10-02 Robbie Colgan
UR8 OUR FATHER (IRE) (The Ives & Johnson Families) David Pipe 8-10-08 Denis O’Regan
UR9 THE RAINBOW HUNTER (May We Never Be Found Partnership) Kim Bailey 10-10-07 Aidan Coleman
UR15 TEAFORTHREE (IRE) (Conyers, O’Reilly, Roddis, Zeffman) Rebecca Curtis 10-10-12 Nick Scholfield 10/1 Jt Fav
Refused to race BATTLE GROUP (Jolly Boys Outing) Johnny Farrelly p9-10-10 Brendan Powell

F – fell; UR – unseated rider; PU – pulled up.

Distances: 5, 1¼, 10, 2½, sh, 3, 16, sh, 4½, 2½, 18, 6, 2, 7, 37, 33, 1

Time: 9m 09.90s

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