2001 Grand National  Taking place on 7th April 2001, the 2001 Grand National marked the 154th annual Grand National race at Aintree, near Liverpool in the UK. The race was won by the 33/1 shot Red Marauder who was ridden by Richard Guest. Although legally owned by Norman Mason, Guest was both the registered trainer and jockey, quite a rarity in racing.

The unstoppable Red Marauder, trounced other seemingly determined participants in the ferociously contested 40-racer event. Of all those taking part only two horses emerged free of injury, a staggering statistic when you consider how many took part (eight fell at the Canal Turn alone). With the winner recording a time of over 11 minutes, the 2001 Grand National proved somewhat unique in his regard. Two horses were remounted to complete the race and claim 3rd and 4th spots.

Among those taking part was Edmond, the titleholder of the Welsh National held in 1999. However, the highly supported 10/1 shot favorite fizzled out at The Chair – where he fell into the ditch extinguishing his chances of victory.

Moral Support was also held in high regard, but unfortunately succumbed at the Canal Turn, tossing over the fence jockey Richard Johnson. This was a sad end to a leading favorite who had thrilled thousands of fans at the Welsh National event about four months previous.

Other noteworthy participants at the misfortune-laden, yet glamorous tournament included the outgoing champion Papillion and Mely Moss.

2000 Grand National  Also known as the Martel Grand National in recognition of the race sponsors the 2000 Grand National marked the 153rd Grand National steeple-chasing race.  It took place on the 8th April 2000, at Aintree Racecourse.

The race was won by Papillon – ridden by respected jockey Ruby Walsh. In the latest stages of the the race Papillon pulled further ahead of the hotly pursuing clutter of challengers.  Winning in a record time of 9 minutes and 9.7 seconds , the 10/1 shot Papillon had been trained by the victors father – Ted Walsh, so was something of a family affair.

Ruby Walsh’s triumph drew applause from both fans and media, as Papillon trounced all the 17 of the 40 competitors who successfully crossed the finishing line. Fortunately, no injuries or fatalities were reported this year, which is always good to know, considering Becher’s Brook and The Chair have proved fatal for some horses in years gone by.

During the Grand National, the notable favorite – Dark Stranger – was all out of luck when rider Tony McCoy took a fall at the 3rd fence. Star traveler took a  nosedive, too, when Richard Johnson hit the 25th fence. Promising prospect, Earthmower, who won the welsh National and was 14-1 disappointed too.

The globally watched event was aired in the UK on BBC.  Jim McGrath’s unmistakable voice thundered the typical  commentator’s theatrics and vocal overtures from start to end of this entertaining race!