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2004 Grand National

2004 Grand National
Grand National
Location Aintree
Date 3 April 2009
Winning horse Amberleigh House Template:Fb
Winning Jockey Graham Lee
Conditions Good

The 2004 Grand National Steeplechase, sponsored by Martell Cognac was the one hundred and fifty-seventh official annual running of a Handicap Steeple-chase Horse race which took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool on Saturday 3 April 2004[1] and attracted the maximum allowed field of forty competitors for total prize money of £600,000 including £348,000 to the winner.[2] The race started at 3.45pm with Thirty-nine of the forty contestants lining up after Tyneandthyneagain was withdrawn and was won by Amberleigh House in a time of 9 minutes and 20 seconds. Eleven of the competitors completed the course without mishap while twenty others either fell, refused, unseated their riders or were pulled up. All of the horses returned unscathed while none of the riders required hospital treatment. The winner was trained by Donald 'Ginger' McCain in Cholmondeley, Cheshire and ran in the colours of Halewood International, black jacket with red and white striped sleeves and hooped cap.


Leading contenders

The British public gambled an estimated £200 million on the outcome of the race [3] but no clear favourite emerged as, for only the second time in the history of the race, four horses shared favouritism at the off.

2002 Grand National winner, Bindaree was one of the 10/1 co favourites after winning the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow in December. He had also run well to finish second over one circuit of the Aintree course in the Becher Chase in November where he had been beaten into second place by another co favourite, Clan Royal. The inexperienced Jurancon II also attracted public attention after being chosen as the ride of champion jockey Tony McCoy, having won the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup in February and Joss Naylor completed the quartet after finishing second in the Henessey Cognac Gold cup in November. Hedgehunter was 11/1 after winning the tystes chase at Gowran Park in January, the 2001 Irish Grand National winner David's Lad was 12/1 and last year's winner Monty's Pass was also among the leading fancies at 20/1.

Finishing order

Position Name Rider Age Weight Starting price Distance or fate
Winner Amberleigh House Graham Lee 12 10-10 16/1
Second Clan Royal Liam Cooper 9 10-5 10/1 co favourite 3 lengths
Third Lord Atterbury Mark Bradbourne 8 10-1 40/1 2 lengths
Fourth Monty's Pass Barry Geraghty 11 11-10 20/1 29 lengths
Fifth Spot Thedifference Richard McGrath 11 10-4 50/1 1 length
Sixth Smarty Andrew Tinkler 11 10-4 100/1 3 & 1/2 lengths
Seventh Ardent Scout Warren Marston 12 10-3 50/1 17 lengths
Eighth Bear On Board Robert Thornton 9 10-1 14/1 8 lengths
Ninth Kingsmark Mick Fitzgerald 11 11-7 66/1 18 lengths
Tenth The Bunny Boiler Ross Geraghty 10 10-8 33/1 A neck
Eleventh and last David's Lad Timmy Murphy 10 11-4 12/1 A distance

Non finishers

Fence Name Rider Age Weight Starting price Fate
1 Plain fence Luzadou Brian Harding 11 10-9 200/1 Fell
1 Plain fence Artic Jack Dominic Elsworth 8 11-7 20/1 Fell
1 Plain fence Kelami Thiery Doumen 6 10-7 66/1 Brought down
3 Open ditch Shardam Tom Scudamore 7 10-11 18/1 Pecked and unseated rider
4 plain fence Jurancon II Tony McCoy 7 10-7 10/1 co favourite Fell
6 Becher's Brook Risk Accessor Seamus Durack 9 11-4 66/1 Hampered and unseated rider
6 Becher's Brook Montreal Joey Elliott 7 10-1 200/1 Fell
6 Becher's Brook Akarus Rodi Greene 9 10-4 33/1 hampered by a loose horse and fell
6 Becher's Brook Bindaree Carl Lewellyn 10 11-4 10/1 co favourite Hampered and unseated rider
6 Becher's Brook Bramblehill Duke James Davies 12 10-13 200/1 Refused and unseated rider
6 Becher's Brook Blowing Wind Jimmy McCarthy 11 10-01 33/1 refused
6 Becher's Brook Bounce Back Andrew Thornton 8 10-4 50/1 Hampered and fell
6 Becher's Brook What's Up Boys Richard Johnson 10 11-9 25/1 Last when brought down
6 Becher's Brook Skycab Leighton Aspell 12 10-11 200/1
9 Valentine's Brook Exit To Wave Bobby McNally 8 10-5 50/1 Buckle broke when hampered at fence 6, pulled up before 9
15 The Chair Takagi Davy Russell 9 10-11 25/1 Unseated rider when lying 10th
16 Water Mantle's Prince Ollie McPhail 10 10-1 250/1 Pulled up when last after poor jump at the Chair
18 Plain fence Southern Star Joe Tizzard 9 10-13 25/1 Pulled up before jump
18 Plain fence Alexander Banquet James Barry 11 11-8 100/1 Unseated rider
19 Open ditch Puntal Danny Howard 8 10-13 150/1 Lying second when fell
19 Open ditch Joss Naylor Paul Carberry 9 10-11 10/1 co favouite Tailed off when pulled up before fence
20 Plain fence Gunner Welburn Tony Dobbin 12 10-8 22/1 pulled up before jump
22 Becher's Brook Le Coudray Conor O'Dwyer 10 11-12 28/1 Fell when lying 7th
23 Foinavon's Just In Debt Jim Culloty 8 10-5 33/1 Hampered by a loose horse and unseated rider
25 Valentine's Brook Alcapone Noel Fehily 10 11-0 80/1 Pulled up before fence when beaten
27 Ditch Wonder Weasel John P. McNamara 11 10-6 200/1 Beaten when pulled up before jump
29 penultimate fence Royal Atalza Paul Moloney 7 10-6 100/1 Tailed off when pulled up after fence 28
30 Final fence Hedgehunter David Casey 8 10-12 11/1 Fell when lying a close third

Media coverage

The race was televised live in the United Kingdom by BBC One for the forty-sixth consecutive year, the event being one of a select group of sporting events classified by the British Government as one that must be broadcast on a mainstream free to air channel. The BBC pictures were also syndicated globally and broadcast on the internet for the first time to UK subscribers on the BBC website.[1] The BBC coverage was presented by Claire Balding and Sue Barker. The race commentators were Ian Bartlett, Tony O'Hehir, Darren Owen and Jim McGrath who called the runners home.

"Clan Royal sta... got over that one. Hedgehunter's a faller at the last. Clan Royal in front by two or three lengths. Trying hard is now Lord Atterbury on the near side. As they race up now onto the run in. They head towards the elbow. It's Clan Royal who's veering off a straight line. He's running all over the place! Now Lord Atterbury and Amberleigh House on the near side! As they're on the run in for home it's Clan Royal who's just in front. Now Amberleigh House is absolutely flying down the outside! It might be another one for Ginger McCain! it's Amberleigh House! Amberleigh House is gonna' give the Red Rum man a win in the National! Amberleigh House wins the National!"

Both Bartlett and Owen were covering their first Grand National on television after the retirement of John Hanmer, Bartlett had previously been part of the BBC radio commentary team. This was also the first time since 1967 that the BBC switched from a three member commentary team to a four member team.

Racing UK provided its own coverage of the race to bookmakers outlets throughout the UK. The BBC also broadcast radio commentary of the race on national radio for the seventy-fourth time as part of its radio five Saturday sports show.

All of the leading daily newspapers in the United Kingdom ran centre spread pull outs of various sizes with colour guides and profiles of all the runners, while office sweepstake kits were printed by the three major dailys during the week prior to the race.

Animal rights campaigners staged a day long protest outside the race course and also outside bookmaker's offices throughout the country in a bid to try and change the public perception that the Grand National is a harmless event in which everyone has a bet, using the slogan "Harmless flutter? Don't bet on it!"

Ginger McCain

Startling similarities occurred between Amberleigh House's victory and the first success of Ginger McCain's other winner Red Rum in 1973. Both horses were so far behind as the leader crossed the Melling Road that they were considered beaten. Jim McGrath opened his commentary of the closing stages of the race by saying "Three major chances in this 157th running....", referring to Clan Royal, Lord Atterbury and Hedgehunter while Amberleigh House was back in fourth. In addition the winner was aided in victory by the eventual second, Clan Royal losing vital lengths by continuing to run straight after jumping the final flight thus heading towards the course taken on the first circuit and not moving towards the elbow that splits the track for the run in on the second circuit just as Crisp had done in 1973. Both Amberleigh House and Red Rum also raced up the final furlong in the middle of the course where the ground may be considered less energy sapping for a tired horse while giving away the advantage of the running rail to the horses they each eventually defeated into second. Unlike Red Rum, who only had a single horse to hunt down, Amberleigh House had two, Hedgehunter having fallen at the final fence to leave Clan Royal and Lord Atterbury in front.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Amberleigh wins National BBC Sport, 3 April 2004
  2. "Results from the 3.45 race at AINTREE - 3 April 2004". Racing Post. Archived from the original on 5 August 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/5ioW4ItkU. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  3. "Horse Racing - Horse Racing - UK - Record Betting On Grand National". Archived from the original on 5 August 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/5ioW527pq. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 


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