Neptune Collonges

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Neptune Collonges
Neptune Collonges after winning the 2006 Rehearsal Chase on Fighting Fifth Hurdle Day.
Sire Dom Alco
Grandsire Dom Pasquini
Dam Castille Collonges
Damsire El Badr
Sex Gelding
Foaled 25 April 2001
Country France
Colour Grey
Breeder Gaec Delorme Freres
Owner John Hales
Trainer Paul Nicholls
Record 36:16-4-3
Earnings £1,313,675
Major wins
Prix Fleuret (2005)
Winter Novices' Hurdle (2005)
River Don Novices' Hurdle (2006)
Prestige Novices' Hurdle (2006)
Punchestown Gold Cup (2007, 2008)
Hennessy Gold Cup (2009)
Cotswold Chase (2011)
Grand National (2012)

Neptune Collonges (foaled on 25 April 2001) is a retired Thoroughbred racehorse. He was bred in France and trained in Great Britain. His most noted success came when winning the Grand National on 14 April 2012.[1]


Neptune Collonges was sired by Dom Alco out of the mare Castille Collonges.[2] He is owned by John Hales and was trained by Paul Nicholls. Throughout his time as a racehorse, his usual jockey was Ruby Walsh.[3] At the 2012 Grand National Handicap he was ridden by Irish jockey Daryl Jacob. Neptune Collonges is called Nipper by the Hales.[4]

Racing career[edit]

Neptune Collonges started racing as a three-year-old in December 2004 when he was entered into the Prix Raymond de Bouglon, finishing in first place out of 16 runners.[3] His first notable win came in December 2005 when he won the Winter Novices' Hurdle, a Grade 2 National Hunt race held at Sandown Park Racecourse in Esher, Surrey.[5] His first win in a Grade 1 race came in March 2007 when he won the Punchestown Gold Cup at Punchestown Racecourse near Naas in County Kildare, Ireland. In that race, he bested a field of 10 horses, holding off Kingscliff by 3½ lengths.[6]

Neptune Collonges went on to win two more Grade 1 races in his career. He defended his 2007 win in the Punchestown Gold Cup by following it with another in 2008[7] when he defeated Snowy Morning by seven lengths.[8] He then flew to Leopardstown to take part in the Lexus Chase at Christmas. He was sent off the 5/4f in a field of 9. However, he fell when leading the field and having every chance at the second last. His other Grade 1 victory was in the 2009 Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown Racecourse in Leopardstown, County Dublin, where he outraced a field of six.[9]

At the 2009 Cheltenham Festival, Neptune Collonges was believed to have been injured while racing in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The injury was serious enough to put him out for the remainder of the 2008–09 season and the entire 2009–10 season. Owner John Hales said of his prize horse's injury: "We believe it happened in the race, but it didn't show up until a few days after."[10]

Neptune Collognes at a dressage event in 2013.

At the time of his injury, Neptune Collonges had amassed a career record of 14 wins, two second and three third places while accumulating £685,279 in lifetime earnings. His 14 wins came in 26 races.[3] He returned to racing in November 2010 and in January 2011 he won the Argento Chase at the Cheltenham Festival trials.[11]

2012 Grand National[edit]

He won the 2012 Grand National on 14 April 2012, beating second-place Sunnyhillboy by a nose in the closest-ever finish to the race. He is the first grey to win the National since Nicolaus Silver in 1961, and only the third grey to win the race (in addition to Nicolaus Silver, The Lamb won the race in 1868 and 1871).[12] He was described as the highest-rated modern Grand National winner, and one of the few winners of the race capable of winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup.[13] His owner announced after the race that Neptune Collonges would be immediately retired, saying: "He'll never race again, that's it."[14]


After his retirement from racing in April 2012, Neptune Collonges was retrained for dressage and currently competes for John Hale's daughter. The horse also makes several public appearances each year for charities, including visits to children's hospitals.[4]


  1. ^ BBC Sport
  2. ^ Neptune Collonges,, accessed 30 April 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Neptune Collonges,, accessed 30 April 2010
  4. ^ a b Staff (5 April 2013). "Neptune Collonges trots into Alder Hey Children’s Hospital". Horse and Hound. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Racing: Lacdoudal books tilt at big prize,, 3 December 2005, accessed 1 May 2005.
  6. ^ Neptune Triumphs at Punchestown,, 25 April 2007, accessed 1 May 2010.
  7. ^ Punchestown Preview – Day 2,, 20 April 2010, accessed 1 May 2010.
  8. ^ Neptune retains Gold Cup feature,, 23 April 2008, accessed 1 May 2010.
  9. ^ Paul Nicholls strikes gold with Neptune Collonges,, 15 February 2009, accessed 1 May 2010.
  10. ^ Horse racing: Injured Neptune Collonges out for year,, 20 March 2009, accessed 1 May 2010.
  11. ^ "Neptune Collonges wins Argento Chase at Cheltenham". BBC Sport. 29 January 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2001. 
  12. ^ "The Lamb", Accessed 16 April 2012.
  13. ^ "TIMEFORM: NEPTUNE COULD'VE WON GOLD". Sporting Life. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Neptune Collonges wins John Smiths 2012 Grand National". BBC Sport. 14 April 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2001.