Auroras Encore pulled away from the field to win the Grand National, giving jockey Ryan Mania a victory in his debut at the U.K. steeplechase horse race.
“There are no words to describe it,” Mania, 23, said in an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 television. “I got a dream ride and can’t believe my luck. He just finished so well.”
Cappa Blue, at 12-1 odds, was second, followed by 10-1 Teaforthree and 66-1 Oscar Time.
Across the Bay, Teaforthree and Balthazar King set the pace for most of the race before the latter started to fade with about 10 of the 30 fences remaining.
Auroras Encore joined Across the Bay, Teaforthree and Oscar Time at the head of the field at the 27th fence and the four stayed there until Across the Bay started to lag two fences later.
Teaforthree took the lead after the final fence but was passed by Auroras Encore, who then ran away to the easy win.
“He’s a grand little horse, and you can ride him anywhere, anyhow,” Smith told Channel 4. “He’s given him an absolutely wonderful ride.”
Jenny Pitman was the first female trainer to win the National, with Corbiere in 1983, and added a second victory with Royal Athlete 12 years later. Venetia Williams then won with 100-1 shot Mon Mome four years ago.
All 40 horses in the field came home safe a year after two horses were fatally injured, Aintree said in a statement. The British Horseracing Authority made a number of safety changes to the course in September, including moving the starting line forward to shorten the length of the race from 4 1/2 miles.
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