Often referred to as John Smith’s Grand National due its sponsor, the 2005 Grand National steeplechase took place, once again, at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool on 9th April 2005. The total prize money this time around was an eye spinning £700,000 – with the winner pegged to collect a whopping £406,000.
With 40 horses taking part, the 7/1 favorite nine-year-old Hedgehunter ably ridden by Ruby Walsh, emerged triumphant, winning by a very impressive 14 lengths. He finished the race in a fast time too, 9 minutes 21 seconds. Hedgehunter had been capably trained by Willie Mullins.
The little-known Royal Auclair at 40/1 surprised many to give Christian Williams a seemingly unlikely 2nd place. Following hot on Auclair’s heels was yet another surprise; Brian Harding atop Simply Gifted, who was 66-1 to win. A great place bet for some no doubt.
Interesting tidbits, the race was delays by almost half an hour due to the marriage of Prince Charles to Camila Bowles. More than half of the fielded runners finished the course, which isn’t bad going. The 2005 Grand National Aintree attendance of over 70,000 was ranked as the biggest since the National of 1997.