2007 Grand National

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2007 Grand National
Grand National
Owner Mr Brian Walsh (Co Kildare).svg
Location Aintree Racecourse
Date 14 April 2007
Winning horse Silver Birch
SP 33/1
Jockey Robbie Power
Trainer Gordon Elliott
Owner Brian Walsh
Conditions Good
2006
2008

The 2007 Grand National (known as the John Smith's Grand National for sponsorship reasons) was the 160th official annual running of the world-famous Grand National steeplechase which took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 14 April 2007[1] and attracted the maximum permitted field of forty competitors for a total prize money of £700,000 including £399,140 to the winner.[2]

33-1 shot Silver Birch, ridden by Robbie Power, edged out McKelvey to win the race by three-quarters of a length. Joint-favourite Point Barrow, at odds of 8-1, fell at the first fence. The meeting was attended by around 70,000 spectators at Aintree, and an estimated 16 million adults placed bets on the race.[3]

Runners and betting[edit]

2005 Scottish Grand National winner Joe's Edge was the long-time ante-post favourite but public money on race day came for 2006 Irish Grand National winner Point Barrow after being tipped by several morning newspaper tipsters but the big plunge bets went on the heavyweight Monkerhostin who had recently run well in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Not surprisingly the two former winners in the race, Hedgehunter, under the 11 stone 12 lb top weight and Numbersixvalverde were both heavily supported, along with Longshanks who had twice been placed in the Topham Trophy over one circuit of the course, and the 2006 Summer National winner McKelvey.

Starting price Number Name Age Weight (st, lb) Jockey Trainer Owner Colours
8/1 JF 39 Joe's Edge 10 10-2 Graham Lee Ferdy Murphy Chemipetro Ltd. Grey with red cross of lorraine, checked sleeves and red cap
8/1 JF 4 Monkerhostin 10 11-6 Richard Johnson Philip Hobbs M. G. St. Quinton Yellow and pink diamonds, yellow sleeves and cap
8/1 JF 13 Point Barrow 9 10-12 Philip Carberry Philip Hughes (Ireland) P. Clune Hughes Violet with purple trim and quartered cap
9/1 1 Hedgehunter 11 11-12 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins (Ireland) Trevor Hemmings Green/yellow quarters with white sleeves and green cap
12/1 35 McKelvey 8 10-4 Tom O'Brien Peter Bowen N. Elliott Green with red V, checked cap
14/1 25 Longshanks 10 10-7 Tony Dobbin Kim Bailey Alan Halsall Blue with dark green sleeves and cap
14/1 7 Numbersixvalverde 11 11-3 Niall Madden Martin Brassill (Ireland) Bernard Carroll Green with black sleeves and white cap
16/1 6 Billyvoddan 8 11-4 Leighton Aspell Henry Daly Trevor Hemmings Green and yellow quarters, white sleeves and cap
16/1 2 Eurotrek 11 11-8 Liam Heard Paul Nicholls[4] Paul Green Blue with dark blue diamond on body and cap
16/1[5] 3 L'ami 8 11-8 Tony McCoy François Doumen (France) J. P. McManus Green and orange hoops, white cap
20/1 26 Bothar Na 10 10-7 David Casey Willie Mullins (Ireland) Mrs. Michael O'Dwyer Green with red sash, sleeves and cap
20/1 20 Dun Doire 8 10-18 Paul Carberry Tony Martin (Ireland) Dunderry racing syndicate Green and black hoops, black sleeves, black and white quartered cap
20/1 8 Idle Talk 8 11-2 Jason Maguire Donald McCain, Jr. Trevor Hemmings Yellow and green quarters, white sleeves, red cap
20/1 15 Simon 8 10-11 Andrew Thornton John Spearing Mercy Rimell Claret with sky blue spots on body, reversed cap
22/1 24 Bewley's Berry 9 10-7 Paddy Brennan Howard Johnson Andrea & Graham Wylie Chocolate and brown halves, chocolate sleeves with brown hoops, chocolate cap
33/1 16 Ballycassidy 11 10-9 Denis O'Regan Peter Bowen Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar White, red V, red and green striped sleeves, red cap
33/1 17 Clan Royal 12 10-9 John P. McNamara Jonjo O'Neill J. P. McManus Green and orange hoops, green cap with white star
33/1 18 Gallant Approach 8 10-9 Jimmy McCarthy Charlie Egerton Byrne Bros. (Formwork) Ltd. Blue with white hollow square and lower sleeves, blue cap
33/1 28 Homer Wells 9 10-6 David Condon Willie Mullins (Ireland) Margaret McMahon Purple, yellow V and cap
33/1 37 Jack High 12 10-3 Richard McGrath Ted Walsh (Ireland) Ms. B. Ross, M. McShane, D. Montgomery & W. Moo Pink with blue diamond hoop and diamonds on sleeves, white cap
33/1 12 Kelami 9 10-12 Mick Fitzgerald François Doumen (France) Halewood International Ltd. Black, red and white striped sleeves and hooped cap
33/1 9 Royal Auclair 10 11-1 Joe Tizzard Paul Nicholls Clive Smith Green with yellow spots and lower sleeves, purple cap
33/1 30 Silver Birch 10 10-6 Robbie Power Gordon Elliott (Ireland) Brian Walsh Black with sky blue star and sleeves with black stars, sky blue cap
33/1 22 Slim Pickings 8 10-8 Barry Geraghty Tom Taaffe Doubtful Five syndicate White with blue checks, sleeves and cap
40/1 29 Liberthine (mare) 8 10-6 Mr. Sam Waley-Cohen Nicky Henderson Robert Waley-Cohen Brown with orange sleeves, quartered cap
50/1 14 Celtic Son 8 10-11 Timmy Murphy David Pipe David Johnson Blue, green sleeves, white cap with green spots
50/1 5 Thisthatandtother 11 11-5 Jamie Moore Paul Nicholls Graham Roache Red with white crossbelts, hoops on sleeves and star on cap
66/1 40 Le Duc 8 10-2 Dominic Elsworth Paul Nicholls Stewart Family Black and white halves, red sleeves and cap
66/1 23 Zabenz 10 10-8 Barry Fenton Philip Hobbs Michael Watt Khaki with green cap
80/1[6] 32 Puntal 10 10-6 Tom Scudamore David Pipe Terry Neill White with red spotted sash, armbands and quartered cap
100/1 10 Cloudy Bays 10 11-0 Andrew McNamara Charles Byrne (Ireland) Cloudy Bay syndicate Black and white stripes with quartered cap
100/1 27 Graphic Approach 10 10-7 Paul Moloney Charlie Egerton Mr. & Mrs. Peter Orton Green with pink and white striped sleeves, pink cap
100/1 21 Kandjar D'allier 9 10-8 Robert Thornton Alan King Let's Live Racing Sky with black centre pin stripe and armbands
100/1 11 Knowhere 9 10-13 Tom Doyle Nigel Twiston-Davies Raymond Mould Green with white stars
100/1 19 Livingstone Bramble 11 10-9 Davy Russell Willie Mullins (Ireland) Favourites Racing Blue with white star, red sleeves with white stars red cap with white star
100/1 31 Philson Run 10 10-6 Daryl Jacob Nick Williams Gale Force One Yellow with orange races, grey lower sleeves and orange spots on cap
125/1 36 Naunton Brook 8 10-4 Noel Fehily Nigel Twiston-Davies David Langdon Green and blue stripes, green sleeves, red cap with blue star
125/1 34 Tikram 9 10-5 Wayne Hutchinson Alan King Mike Charlton & Roger Sargent Green with range sleeves and cap
125/1 33 The Outlier 10 10-6 Paul O'Neill Venetia Williams P. J. Murphy Pink with brown crossbelts and spots on cap
150/1 38 Sonevafushi 9 10-3 Tom Greenall Venetia Williams Mr. B. C. Dice Green and black hoops, green upper, black lower sleeves, green cap

The race[edit]

Cloudy Bays broke the tape when the runners were sent off for the first time, resulting in a false start. The long delay in getting the runners set again had many on their toes and they set off at a very fast pace second time. By then Cloudy Bays had little interest in taking part and was left by thirty lengths at the start.

Joint-favourite Point Barrow caused a huge groan from the stands and for millions watching on television by falling at the first fence, ending debutant rider Philip Carberry's National within a minute of it starting. Another debut rider, Wayne Hutchinson was left hanging on to his mount Tikram until finally being unseated as the horse went to jump the second fence.

The Outlier was the first to emerge as the leader and was tracked by Bewley's Berry, Naunton Brook and Ballycassidy as the field successfully negotiated the fences down to the sixth, Becher's Brook.

At the famous brook, Dominic Elsworth found himself falling off his mount Le Duc when he shouted to nearby rival Mick Fiztgerald on board Kelami for help. Fitzgerald pushed Elsworth only for the rider to remain unbalanced and fall off the other side instead.[7] At the same fence Jack High crumpled on landing and fell, while Davy Russell was also thrown from Livingstone Bramble, requiring a trip to hospital for precautionary X-rays on his back.

As the field continued towards the seventh fence (Foinavon) Zabenz was pulled up, a stirrup leather having broken. Monkerhostin's rider Richard Johnson was also having to contend with a broken stirrup leather but his horse was not enjoying the experience and dug his heels in at Foinavon and refused.

Naunton Brook was now in the lead as the field took the 90-degree Canal Turn with Bewley's Berry, Ballycassidy and The Outlier next. Only Tom Doyle was caught out by the sharp turn and was ejected from Knowhere out the side, while right behind them Kandjar D'allier was baulked by two loose horses and crashed into the fence, almost bringing down Homer Wells in the process.

Of the thirty-one remaining only Royal Auclair failed to negotiate the four fences along the canal side that took the field back onto the race course for the first time, falling at the first of those, Valentine's brook, badly hampering Eurotrek.

Naunton Brook and Ballycassidy continued to set the pace as the runners came in front of the stands and made their way towards The Chair. Gallant Approach survived a bad mistake here which put him out of centention, while Cloudy Bays refused when tailed off. Dun Doire was also tailed off at this stage as the field of twenty-nine runners took the water jump and began the second circuit.

The front running Naunton Brook began to show signs of fatigue as Ballcycassidy and Bewley's Berry now took the field over the fences down to Becher's. The Outlier unshipped his rider at the 19th fence (open ditch) as well as Idle Talk, who was already beaten when he dropped a foreleg into the ditch and failed to take off. Billyvoddan was the first of the tailenders to pull up before taking the fence, and the last of the disappointing joint-favourites, Joe's Edge, did the same before the 20th when he was found to have gone lame. Both Homer Wells and Eurotrek had been struggling since they were hampered earlier in the race by fallers. Now with their chances gone they were both pulled up before Becher's Brook along with another tail ender, Celtic Son to leave twenty-two runners still racing.

Bewley's Berry was out in front and cantering when he was caught out by the steep drop at Becher's and fell, leaving Simon and Libertine in front while Graphic Approach was losing touch when he fell, while Naunton Brook was pulled up after jumping the brook.

It's Silver Birch who takes the lead as they race towards the elbow... Slim Pickings is raising another effort and McKelvey is running home like a train down the outside. Silver Birch in front with a hundred yards to go in the National. Slim Pickings and down the outside, McKelvey flying hard. It's Silver Birch in front though! And Silver Birch wins the National, from McKelvey in second, and Slim Pickings is third.

Commentator Jim McGrath describes the climax of the race

By the second jump of the Canal Turn, Bothar Na, Sonevafushi and Kelami were losing touch. Puntal, Clan Royal, Gallant Approach and Dun Doire were beaten and tailed off.

Ballycassidy was beginning to slow when he turned too sharply and threw his rider, while at the next fence (Valentine's) Simon came down when in second place. Slim Pickings moved into the lead at the next and by the third-last was at the head of a group of ten runners that still carried chances of winning.

The long run to the second-last flight spread the pack out with Slim Pickings taking the fence just ahead of Silver Birch. At the last, Silver Birch landed just in front and began to get away from Slim Pickings on the long run-in. At the elbow, Silver Birch began to labour and Slim Pickings fought back, with McKelvey finishing best. The finishing post came just in time for Silver Birch to win by three-quarters of a length, with McKelvey second by one-and-a-quarter lengths. Slim Pickings finished third, fifteen lengths in front of fourth placed Philson Run.

Libertine was fifth, Numbersixvalverde sixth, Longshanks seventh, Puntal eighth and Hedgehunter ninth, a distance ahead of L'ami in tenth, Clan Royal in eleventh, and Gallant Approach the last of twelve to complete. Dun Doire pulled up three fences from home, Sonevafushi and Bothar Na bypassed the second-last, and Kelami and Thisthatandtother missed out the final flight.

Finishing order[edit]

Position Name Starting price Distance Prize money
1st Silver Birch 33/1 Won by ¾ length £399,140
2nd McKelvey 12/1 1¼ lengths £149,730
3rd Slim Pickings 33/1 15 lengths £74,970
4th Philson Run 100/1 5 lengths £37,380
5th Libertine 40/1 21 lengths £18,760
6th Numbersixvalverde 14/1 1¼ lengths £9,380
7th Longshanks 14/1 13 lengths Nil
8th Puntal 80/1 1½ lengths Nil
9th Hedgehunter 9/1 A distance Nil
10th L'Ami 14/1 14 lengths Nil
11th Clan Royal 33/1 2 lengths Nil
12th Gallant Approach 33/1 Last to complete Nil

Non-finishers[edit]

Fence Name Fate
1st Point Barrow Fell
Tikram Unseated
6th (Becher's Brook) Le Duc Unseated
Livingstone Bramble Unseated
Jack High Fell
7th (Foinavon) Zabenz Pulled up
Monkerhostin Refused
8th (Canal Turn) Knowhere Unseated
Kandjar D'Allier Baulked, fell
9th (Valentine's) Royal Auclair Fell
15th (The Chair) Cloudy Bays Refused
19th Billyvoddan Pulled up
The Outlier Fell
Idle Talk Fell
20th Joe's Edge Pulled up
22nd (Becher's Brook) Celtic Son Pulled up
Homer Wells Pulled up
Eurotrek Pulled up
Bewley's Berry Fell
Graphic Approach Fell
23rd (Foinavon) Naunton Brook Pulled up
24th (Canal Turn) Ballycassidy Unseated
25th (Valentine's) Simon Fell
27th (open ditch) Dun Doire Pulled up
29th Bothar Na Pulled up
Sonevafushi Pulled up
30th Thisthatandtother Pulled up
Kelami Pulled up

Aftermath[edit]

The winning rider-trainer-owner combination were among the youngest and least experienced in the history of the race with just one National between them, being a previous ride for 25-year-old jockey Robbie Power. Trainer Gordon Elliott was the youngest in the race and won with his first National entrant while owner Brian Walsh had bought the horse for 20,000 guineas the previous year as the first horse to carry his colours in the race. With a 33/1 winner and only one horse placed at a shorter price it was also a good day for the bookmakers who retained much of the £250 million gambled in the United Kingdom alone on the race, as none of the three joint-favourites completed the course.[8]

Starter Peter Haines came in for criticism for his handling of the start after the runners had charged the tape at the first attempt. Many race commentators felt that Haines was then too picky in trying to get a good line for the restart as he ordered the runners to turn back from the start five times before finally letting them go at the sixth attempt.

The race after the National had to be abandoned after Graphic Approach collapsed on the hurdles course suffering from concussion and heat stroke. The horse had fallen at Becher's Brook on the second circuit but continued riderless until the last fence when the horse ran towards the crowd and tried to jump the fence into the spectators. In the days after the race the horse looked to be on the road to recovery but eventually had to be euthanised.

McKelvey was also found to have suffered an injury late in the race which would rule him out for almost the entire next season. The injury almost certainly cost him victory.

Winning jockey Robbie Power received a four-day ban from the stewards who found that during the run-in he had used his whip too often and also struck Silver Birch too near the stifle. Third-placed Barry Garaghty was also given a three-day ban for overuse of the whip on Slim Pickings.

Davy Russell required hospital treatment after being thrown from Livingstone Bramble at Becher's Brook on the first circuit for precautionary X-rays on his shoulder and back.[9] 2007 was one of the warmest Nationals on record with temperatures at race time hitting 22 degrees Celsius.

Coverage[edit]

The race was broadcast live on the BBC as a Grandstand special for the 48th consecutive year. However it was to be the last time the race was broadcast as a Grandstand special, as the programme was discontinued before the following year's race. The televising of the race included cameras inside the first fence and two cameras inside jockey's caps (Jamie Moore on Thisthatandtother and Tom Doyle on Knowhere). The programme was presented by Sue Barker and Clare Balding with summary from John Parrott, Richard Pitman and Norman Williamson. The race commentary team was Ian Bartlett, Tony O'Heir, Darren Owen and lead commentator Jim McGrath who called the runners home for the tenth year.[10]

Jockeys[edit]

With the retirement of Carl Llewellyn, Tony McCoy, Mick Fitzgerald and Paul Carberry took over as the most experienced riders in the weighing room, each taking their twelfth ride in the National. Fitzgerald had previously won in 1996 and Carberry in 1999 but McCoy became the eighth rider to have taken twelve rides without being winner or runner-up.

Eight riders made their Grand National debut, with Tom O'Brien finishing second, Daryl Jacob fourth and Sam Waley-Cohen fifth. Wayne Hutchinson and Philip Carberry's debuts both ended at the first fence, while Denis O'Regan, David Condon and Paul O'Neill also failed to complete the course.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Silver Birch wins Grand National BBC Sport, 14 April 2007
  2. ^ Silver Birch wins the 2007 John Smith's Grand National Aintree, 14 April 2007
  3. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/6555033.stm
  4. ^ Grand National runners and riders BBC Sport, 12 April 2007
  5. ^ Grand National 2007 BBC Sport, 14 April 2007
  6. ^ Grand National 2007 Result Grand National World
  7. ^ BBC Grandstand television programme post race interview with Peter Scudamore in the weighing room
  8. ^ Sunday Express, 15 April 2007; page 115
  9. ^ Grand National Shakedown & Jockey Quotes Racing Better
  10. ^ Replay: 2007 Grand National in full BBC Sport Player
Sources
  • Official BBC coverage of the 2007 Grand National