2016 Grand National Festival in pictures: Annie Power, Douvan, Rule The World
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | April 9, 2016
As the dust settles on another Grand National Festival, Coral look back on the prestigious meeting and tell the story of three days of top-class horse racing through images.
Thursday: Opening day
Three fancied favourites all delivered on the first day of compelling action at Aintree…
Cheltenham champs flop in Manifesto and Anniversary Grade 1s
Sizing John and Ivanovich Gorbatov came into the Grand National meeting off the back of Cheltenham Festival victories, but there would be no repeat with as Arzal for Harry Whittington and Apple’s Jade (above) from the Willie Mullins stable took the Manfiesto Novices’ Chase and Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle. That latter victory came by an incredible 41 lengths!
Cue Card gains compensation and Bowls over rivals
Popular Colin Tizzard gelding Cue Card fell in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but bounced back with a classy nine-length success in the Betfred Bowl.
Annie’s got the Power for Aintree Hurdle
Dawn Run did the Champion and Aintree Hurdle double way back in 1984, and fellow mare Annie Power emulated her this season with a facile 18-length romp for British National Hunt Trainers’ Championship leader and top Irish handler Mullins.
On The Fringe follows up in Fox Hunters’
Speaking of Cheltenham and Aintree doubles, the best hunter chaser in training, On The Fringe, took another Fox Hunter’s Chase in his stride over the Grand National fences.
Friday: Ladies’ day
Although the bookies took a bashing on opening Thursday, fancied horses largely failed to produce on Ladies’ day and that made things interesting…
Native sells rivals down the River en route to Mildmay magic
Tizzard triumphed in another top notch race, with his Native River sticking it to fancied duo Blaklion and Un Temps Pour Tout – both Cheltenham Festival winners – in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.
God’s Own gets goods as Vautour falls in Melling match
Another Mullins star, Vautour, looked a dead cert for victory in the JLT Melling Chase, but fell. God’s Own from the Tom George stable picked up the pieces, winning ahead of Dan Skelton’s Al Ferof.
Limini and Bellshill beaten in other Grade 1 Hurdles
More of Mullins’ fancied contingent failed to deliver, with Limini a beaten third to Buveur D’Air (above) in the Top Noices’ Hurdle and Bellshill finishing behind Ballyoptic in the Setfon Novices’ Hurdle in a couple of Grade 1 contests.
Saturday: Grand National day
Rain before the big race changed the going from good to soft to soft to heavy, but not before a hat-trick of favourites took the Grade 1 action:
Restless Yorkhill crosses the Mersey
Two falls on Friday for Ruby Walsh resulted in a fractured wrist, and Paul Townend had to ably deptuise on Mullins-trained horses. Yorkhill gave him a difficult ride, but still scored in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle!
Douvan delivers in Maghull for Mullins
Townend had a far easier ride, however, on impressive Arkle Challenge Trophy winner Douvan, who cruised to victory in the Maghull Novices’ Chase. Classy stuff by 14 lengths.
Thistlecrack shows he’s the best of Stayers
A flawless campaign from Tizzard stable star Thistlecrack continued with jockey Tom Scudamore having another assured performance from the World Hurdle winner in the Liverpool Stayers’ Hurdle.
Mouse Morris and Mullins junior Rule The World with National glory
Trainer Mullins’ nephew David, riding for Mouse Morris, scooped the 2016 Crabbie’s Grand National ahead of starting price joint-favourite The Last Samuri. All 39 horses came off the track fine, with 16 finishers.