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2000 Grand National

The 2000 Grand National (known as the Martell Cognac Grand National Chase Showcase Handicap (Class A) Grade 3 for sponsorship reasons) was the 153rd official renewal of a horse race that took place at the Aintree Racecourse on 8 April 2000 and was won in a time of 9 minutes 9.7 seconds and by one and a quarter lengths by 10/1 shot, Papillon, ridden by Ruby Walsh. The winner was trained by Ted Walsh at his base in Kill, County Kildare, Ireland and ran in American, Betty Moran's colours of green with ice blue piping. The field was limited for safety reasons to a maximum of forty competitors of which seventeen completed the course without mishap. None of the horses who failed to complete the course were injured.[1]

Contents

Leading contenders

Dark Stranger was sent off as the 9/1 favourite, largely due to his being the mount of champion jockey Tony McCoy. The pairing had won The Lord Mildmay of Flete chase at the recent Cheltenham meeting but had yet to win a race over three miles.[2] Favourite backer's hopes were dashed early in the race when McCoy took a heavy fall at the third fence.

Star Traveller was a regular winner of good three mile chases prior to finishing third in a three mile chase at the Cheltenham festival. The mount of Richard Johnson was sent off at 10/1 and led for much of the race before being pulled up after going lame when hitting the twenty-fifth fence.[3]

Papillon was the subject of a huge public gamble from 33/1 to 10/1 on the day of the race. The Irish trained runner had undergone an unusual preparation of hurdles but had previously been second in the Irish Grand National and Irish Hennessey Cognac Gold Cup. Ruby Walsh kept his mount in the leading group throughout before taking the lead four fences from home, going on to win by a length and a quarter.

Bobbyjo was naturally popular with the public having won the previous years renewal and was sent off at 12/1. he was again partnered by Paul Carberry and figured prominently in the early stages of the race until making a bad mistake at the seventh fence. The pair were always struggling to stay in touch after that and finished eleventh.

Earthmover was a top hunter chaser who had run steadily in three mile chases, including the Welsh Grand National where he finished third, leading many to view him as an ideal Aintree type.[4] He was sent off at 14/1 and ridden by Joe Tizzard but the pair parted company at the fourth fence.

Micko's Dream was considered the form horse going into the race after winning two three mile chases in January and February but was sent off at 14/1 due to concerns that the ground was not soft enough for him. His partnership with Jason Titley ended at in a first fence fall.

The Last Fling was also sent off at 14/1 after a string of encouraging performances over three miles during the season, although he was largely outpaced in the recent Cheltenham Gold Cup. Ridden by Seamus Durack, The Last Fling was always working hard to stay on the tail of the leading half dozen before finishing seventh.

Young Kenny was regarded as a perfect Grand National horse after winning The Midlands Grand National, Scottish Grand National and Singer & Friedlander Grand National trial but was also faced with the task of trying to be the first horse to carry the 12 stone top weight to victory for over twenty years. He started at 14/1 with Brendan Powell in the saddle but the pair came to grief at the tenth fence.

Finishing order

Position Name Rider Age Weight Starting price Distance or fate
Winner Papillon Ruby Walsh 9 10-12 10/1 1 1/4 lengths
Second Mely Moss Norman Williamson 9 10-01 25/1 12 lengths
Third Niki Dee Robbie Supple 10 10-13 25/1 7 lengths
Fourth Brave Highlander Philip Hide 12 10-05 50/1 a neck
Fifth Addington Boy Adrian Maguire 12 11-02 33/1 3 lengths
Sixth Call It A Day Barry Geraghty 10 10-11 50/1 4 lengths
Seventh The Last Fling Seamus Durack 10 11-05 14/1 9 lengths
Eighth Lucky Town David Casey 9 10-05 20/1 2 lengths
Ninth Djeddah Thiery Doumen 9 11-08 16/1 27 lengths
Tenth Hollybank Buck Peter Niven 10 10-04 33/1 7 lengths
Eleventh Bobbyjo Paul Carberry 10 11-06 12/1 4 lengths
Twelfth Kendal Cavalier Barry Fenton 10 10-06 33/1 1 1/2 lengths
Thirteenth Suny Bay Chris Maude 11 11-12 66/1 11 lengths
Fourteenth Feels Like Gold Brian Harding 12 10-07 28/1 3/4 length
Fifteenth Camelot Knight Ollie McPhail 14 10-06 150/1 17 lengths
Sixteenth Kingdom Of Shades Tom Jenks 10 10-04 50/1 22 lengths
Seventeenth Celtic Giant Bruce Gibson 10 10-07 100/1 last to finish
Non finishers
Plain fence (30) Escartefigue Jimmy McCarthy 8 11-09 50/1 unseated rider
Open ditch (27) Star Traveller Richard Johnson 9 10-11 10/1 pulled up lame before fence
Canal turn (24) Buck Rogers Ken Whelan 11 11-00 50/1 fell when in 6th
Becher's Brook (22) Esprit De Cotte Mick Fitzgerald 8 10-08 50/1 fell
Becher's Brook (22) Stormy Passage Andrew Thornton 10 11-03 50/1 fell
Plain fence (20) Flaked Oats Timmy Murphy 11 10-03 50/1 fell
Plain fence (20) Village King Jim Culloty 7 10-11 50/1 fell
Plain fence (17) Listen Timmy Tony Dobbin 11 11-05 50/1 pulled up before fence
Plain fence (14) Merry People Garret Cotter 12 10-05 40/1 unseated rider
Plain fence (13) The Gopher Warren Marston 11 10-03 66/1 fell
Plain fence (13) Torduff Express Robert Thornton 9 10-03 50/1 fell when lying second
Open ditch (12) Druid's Brook Rupert Wakley 11 10-05 66/1 unseated rider
Plain fence (10) Young Kenny Brendan Powell 9 12-00 14/1 fell
Becher's Brook (6) Red Marauder Richard Guest 10 11-02 18/1 fell
Plain fence (4) Choisty Robert Widger 10 10-00 50/1 fell
Plain fence (4) Earthmover Joe Tizzard 9 10-05 14/1 fell
Westhead open ditch (3) Dark Stranger Tony McCoy 9 10-01 9/1 favourite unseated rider
Plain fence (2) Sparky Gayle Brian Storey 10 10-08 33/1 unseated rider
Plain fence (1) Micko's Dream Jason Titley 8 10-10 14/1 fell
Plain fence (1) Trinitro Robert Bellamy 9 10-03 100/1 fell
Plain fence (1) Royal Predica Glenn Tormey 6 10-04 50/1 fell
Plain fence (1) Senor El Betrutti Carl Llewellyn 11 10-12 100/1 fell
Plain fence (1) Art Prince Dean Gallagher 10 10-04 100/1 fell

[5][6][7]

Coverage

BBC Television retained the rights to broadcast the race live for forty-first consecutive year and was shown as a Grandstand Grand National special. Sue Barker made her debut as the anchor presenter, making her the fifth person, and first woman to host the BBC broadcast. Barker presented the programme from the unsaddling enclosure, which was situated outside where the weighing room bar is today with interviews with celebrity racegoers, connections of the competitors, former Aintree heroes and the winning connections after the race.[8]

The rest of the BBC presentation team comprised Clare Balding as a roving reporter on the course and in the saddling boxes. Balding had also been the anchor presenter on BBC's coverage of the previous two days of the Aintree meeting. Angus Loughran brought betting news from the betting ring and Richard Dunwoody interviewed the riders in the weighing room. The racing commentary team for the third consecutive year was Jim McGrath who called the start as the field ran away from the stands towards the first fence before handing over to John Hanmer who called the field as they approached the first fence and made their way out into the country. He handed over to Tony O'Hehir at the fifth fence who then called the runners to the far end of the course and back along the canal side over the ninth fence where Hanmer again took over until reaching the Anchor Bridge crossing where he passed back to McGrath to call the runners over the fences in front of the stands and back out onto the second circuit. McGrath also called the runners over the final half mile of the race, this being the third time he had called the winner home in the National.[9] "Coming towards the last in the National. Papillon led over it but here's Mely Moss on the near side. Then five or six lengths to Niki Dee, followed next in the field by Addington Boy. They're racing towards the elbow and it's the plunge horse, Papillon whose found a bit extra. He's sprinted two lengths in front for Ruby Walsh. Battling on in second is Mely Moss, switched to the inside. They straighten up for home. A hundred yards left to go. Papillon on the near side, Mely Moss the far side trying hard to wear him down. It's Papillon holding on with fifty yards left to go. And Papillon wins the Martell Grand National for Ruby Walsh and Ted Walsh."

A post race rerun, using slow motion and additional camera angles, including cameras inside fences was presented by Richard Pitman.

The BBC television pictures were also syndicated globally for international broadcast while independent television cameras were also on course to provide pictures and commentary for SIS, broadcast into UK bookmakers.

BBC radio five also presented a live race commentary for the fifty-ninth time since its first broadcast in 1927

All of the major UK national daily newspapers published pull out sections of their Saturday morning editions ranging from four to sixteen pages with most including full colour guides of the competitors.

References

  1. Full race result BBC website Saturday April 8th 2000
  2. Independent online Wednesday April 5th 2000 'McCoy's National mount is Stranger' [1]
  3. Preview feature on Star Traveller
  4. Full race runner preview
  5. full finishing order BBC website; Saturday April 8th 2000
  6. Japanese television coverage of the race
  7. At The Races television broadcast
  8. Sunday Independent article 'Barker kept on the back foot on Pitman's turf' by Stan Hey Sunday 9th April 2000 [2]
  9. BBC race coverage from Youtube




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