A handy reminder of the positions of the 2021 Randox Grand National. Where did your selection place?

Finishing positions

1 Minella Times 11-1
2 Balko Des Flos 100-1
3 Any Second Now 15-2
4 Burrows Saint 9-1
5 Farclas 16-1
6 Blaklion 50-1
7 Discorama 16-1
8 Jett 80-1
9 Cabaret Queen 80-1
10 Shattered Love 33-1
11 Alpha Des Obeaux 80-1
12 Hogan’s Height 100-1
13 Acapella Bourgeois 20-1
14 Sub Lieutenant 50-1
15 Class Conti 66-1

 

In the history of steeplechasing, just two horse have won both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National. The legendary Golden Miller did so, in the same season, in 1934, but it is less well remembered that L’Escargot won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice, in 1970 and 1971, before winning the Grand National in 1975.

Trained by Dan Moore and ridden, throughout his career, by Tommy Carberry, L’Escargot actuakky ran in the Grand National four times in all. On his first attempt, in 1972, he parted company with Tommy Carberry at the third fence but, in 1973, he completed the course, finishing a creditable, if remote, third behind Red Rum, who was receiving 23lb. In 1974, even a 24lb pull wasn’t enough for him to reverse the form with Red Rum and he finished second, beaten 7 lengths.

In 1975, all eyes were, understandably, on Red Rum, as he attempted an unprecedented hat-trick but, on his favoured soft going, and a further 10lb better off at the weights, L’Escargot proved more than a match for his old rival. Red Rum jumped the third-last fence just in front, but approaching the second-last L’Escargot eased ahead, with Carberry, not for the first time, glancing over his shoulder for non-existent dangers. The pair continued to match strides until the final fence, but on the run-in it was ‘one-way traffic’, with L’Escargot drawing further and further clear to win, comfortably, by 15 lengths.

Immediately afterwards, owner Raymond Guest made a gift of L’Escargot to Joan Moore, wife of his trainer, who said that the 12-year-old would ‘never race again’. However, L’Escargot did run once more, in the Kerry National at Listowel the following September, much to the annoyance of Guest, who took him back and shipped him to the United States, where he died nine years later.

Rule The World Although the horses still travelled the same distance as the previous year, the 2016 Grand National was the first to be run over an advertised distance of 4 miles, 2 furlongs and 74 yards, after every National Hunt racecourse in the country was professionally surveyed and re-measured. The race also featured an etraordinary winner, in the form of Rule The World, who was a maiden after 13 starts over fences, dating back to November, 2014 and, hence still a novice. The aptly-named nine-year-old thus became the first maiden to win the National since Voluptuary in 1884 and the first novice since Mr. What in 1958.

Rule The World was the first Grand National winner for Gigginstown House Stud, but his victory was made all the more remarkable by the fact that he twice recovered from a cracked pelvis earlier in his career. Winning trainer Michael ‘Mouse’ Morris hailed him as ‘a horse of iron’, while winning owner Michael O’Leary was no less generous in his praise, saying that he ‘could have been Gold Cup standard’ but for his previous injuries.

Ridden by 19-year-old David Mullins, having his first ride in the National, Rule The World was sent off at 33/1, but travelled well, just behind the leaders, before making a shuddering error at the final open ditch. Nevertheless, he made headway into a close third at the final fence and, switched to the outside, challenged passing the famous ‘Elbow’, halfway up the run-in. In a thrilling finish, he came home strongest of all, to win by 6 lengths from The Last Samurai, with Vics Canvas 8 lengths further behind in third place. Rule The World ran just once more, finishing a respectable sixth in the Grade One Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown just over a fortnight later, but his retirement was confirmed the following month.