Jump to: navigation, search

2006 Grand National

2006 Grand National
Grand National
Location Aintree
Date 8 April 2006
Winning horse Numbersixvalverde
Winning Jockey Niall Madden
Conditions Good

The 2006 Grand National Steeplechase, sponsored by John Smiths was the one hundred and fifty-ninth official annual running of a Handicap Steeple-chase Horse race which took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool on Saturday 8 April 2006[1] and attracted the maximum allowed field of forty competitors for total prize money of £689,360 including £399,140 to the winner.[2]


The competitors and betting

Clan Royal was the long time ante-post favourite with the public on the back of finishing second in 2004 and being carried out while leading in 2005, as well as being partnered by champion jockey, Tony McCoy but public money on race day came for 2005 winner Hedgehunter who was again to be partnered by Ruby Walsh. This pair were to go off as co favourites while other popular choices among the public were Racing Post Chase winner Innox from France, Garvivonnian, the winner of the Becher Chase over one circuit of the National course five months earlier, 2005 Betfred Gold Cup winner Jack High, 2005 Irish Grand National winner Numbersixvalverde, and the grey Ross Comm, considered to have been underestimated in the handicap by 10 lbs. The most experienced rider in the race was twice winner Carl Llewellyn, taking his fifteenth and final ride in the race on the outsider Baron Windrush.

Starting price Number Name Age Weight in stones and lbs Jockey Trainer Owner Colours
33/1 1 Royal Auclair 9 11-12 Christian Williams 2nd on the same horse in 2004 Paul Nicholls Cive Smith Green with yellow spots, yellow and green halved sleeves, purple cap
5/1 Co Fav 2 Hedgehunter 10 11-12 Ruby Walsh Won with same horse in 2004 and Papillon in 2000 Willie Mullins Ireland Trevor Hemmings Yellow and green quarters, white sleeves, green cap
22/1 3 Cornish Rebel 9 11-9 Joe Tizzard Never placed in eight rides Paul Nicholls Graham Roach Red with white crossbelts, hoops on sleeves and star on cap
50/1 4 Therealbandit 9 11-9 Richard Johnson Second once in nine rides Martin Pipe David Johnson Blue with green sleeves and red cap
50/1 5 It Takes Time 12 11-8 Timmy Murphy Second once in nine rides Martin Pipe David Johnson Blue with green sleeves and white cap with green spots
150/1 6 Le Roi Miguel 8 11-7 Liam Heard Debut Paul Nicholls Green/Rose/Cowell White with black spot, green sleeves with white armband and cap
100/1 7 Native Upmanship 13 11-0 Conor O'Dwyer Third once in ten rides Arthur Moore Ireland Sue Magnier Navy blue
10/1 8 Innox 10 10-13 Robert Thornton Fifth once in ten rides François Doumen France J P McManus Green and orange hoops, green cap with white star
40/1 9 Silver Birch 9 10-12 Sam Thomas Debut Paul Nicholls Paul Barber & Des Nichols Dark green with V, lime green sleeves, dark green and white checked cap
100/1 10 Whispered Secret 7 10-12 Rodi Greene unplaced once in four rides Martin Pipe David Manasseh & Dan Levine Blue with yellow piping and chevrons on sleeves
100/1 11 Rince Ri 13 10-12 Andrew McNamara Debut Ted Walsh Ireland Frank Moriarty Claret and white stripes with checked cap
66/1 12 Puntal 10 10-12 Barry Geraghty Winner in 2003 on Monty's Pass Martin Pipe Terry Neill White with red spotted sash and armbands, quartered cap
33/1 13 Lord Of Illusion 9 10-11 Jason Maguire Unplaced thrice in four runs Tom George Patrick Kennedy Green with white inverted chevrons, white sleeves with green stars, white and pink quartered cap
50/1 14 Ebony Light 10 10-10 Stephen Craine Debut Donald McCain Roger Bellamy White with blue cross of lorraine, striped sleeves and white cap
100/1 15 First Gold 13 10-10 Richard McGrath Fifth once in three rides François Doumen France J P McManus Green and orange hoops with purple cap
5/1 co fav 16 Clan Royal 11 10-10 Tony McCoy Third twice in ten rides Jonjo O'Neill J P McManus Green and orange hoops with white cap
33/1 17 Le Duc 7 10-10 Jamie Moore Failed to complete only previous ride Paul Nicholls Green/Rose/Cowell White with black star, green sleeves with white armband, green cap
33/1 18 Sir Oj 9 10-10 Paul Carberry Winner in 1999 on Bobbyjo Noel Meade Ireland Brian Keenan Claret and pink checks
33/1 19 Forest Gunner 12 10-10 Miss Nina Carberry Debut Richard Ford John Gilsenan White with red braces, black sleeves and red cap
20/1 20 Joe's Edge 9 10-10 Davy Russell Unplaced once in three rides Ferdy Murphy Chemipetro Limited Grey with red cross of lorraine, checked sleeves and red cap
25/1 21 Juveigneur 9 10-9 Mick Fitzgerald Won in 1996 on Rough Quest Nicky Henderson Trevor Hemmings Green and yellow quarters with white sleeves and cap
50/1 22 Amberleigh House Winner in 2004 14 10-9 Graham Lee Won on the same horse in 2004 Donald McCain Halewood International Ltd Black with red and white striped sleeves and hooped cap
80/1 23 Ballycassidy 10 10-9 Leighton Aspell Second once from three rides Peter Bowen Roddy Owen & P Fullagar White with red V, red and green striped sleeves, red cap
40/1 24 Inca Trail 10 10-9 Brian Harding Third once in five rides Donald McCain Halewood International Ltd Black with red and white striped sleeves, white cap
11/1 25 Garvivonnian 11 10-8 Garrett Cotter Unplaced once in three rides Ned Mitchell Ireland Angela Long Red and yellow diablo and checked cap
11/1 26 Numbersixvalverde 10 10-8 Niall Madden Debut Martin Brassill Ireland Bernard Carroll Green, black sleeves, white cap
200/1 27 Iznogoud 10 10-8 Tom Scudamore Unplaced twice in five rides Martin Pipe The County stores and Avalon surfacing Yellow with burgundy crossbelts, blue sleeves, yellow and blue quartered cap
9/1 28 Jack High 11 10-7 David Casey Unplaced twice in four rides Ted Walsh Ireland Brenda Ross Pink with blue diamond hoop and diamonds on sleeves, white cap
25/1 29 Haut De Gamme 11 10-7 Keith Mercer Ferdy Murphy The Haut De Gamme Partnership Black with sky stripe and hoops on sleeves, hooped cap
33/1 30 Nil Desperandum 9 10-7 Tommy Treacy Failed to complete in two rides Frances Crowley Ireland Mike Shone Red, white sleeves, red and grey quartered cap
66/1 31 Baron Windrush 8 10-7 Carl Llewellyn Won in 1992 on Party Politics and 1998 on Earth Summit Nigel Twiston-Davies The Double octagon partnership Yellow and orange diamonds, yellow sleeves and cap
66/1 32 Heros Collonges 11 10-7 J P McNamara Unplaced twice in five rides Paul Nicholls Merchant rentals Plc Grey, blue V, sleeves, star on cap
100/1 33 Tyneandthyneagain 11 10-7 Peter Buchanan Unplaced in only previous ride Howard Johnson Howard Johnson Red, blue chevrons, hooped cap
66/1 34 Risk Accessor 11 10-06 Noel Fehily Sixth once in five rides Jonjo O'Neill J P McManus Green and orange hoops, purple cap
25/1 35 Direct Access 11 10-06 Tony Dobbin Won in 1997 on Lord Gyllene Nicky Richards The Direct Access Partnership Orange and blue hoops, orange sleeves with blue armband, orange cap
50/1 36 Colnel Rayburn 10 10-6 John Cullen Fell in only other ride Paul Nolan Ireland Thatch (Ferns) Racing sndicate White and red diablo, white sleeves with black hoops, white and black hooped cap
100/1 37 Iris Royal 10 10-6 Marcus Foley Fell in only other ride Nicky Henderson Sir Robert Ogden Pink and violet quarters, white sleeves, pink and violet quartered cap
16/1 38 Ross Comm Grey 10 10-5 Dominic Elsworth Sue Smith Kevin Treanor Red, grey V, diablo sleeves and quartered cap
33/1 39 Shotgun Willy 12 10-5 Andrew Tinkler Sixth in only previous ride Richard Guest Paul Beck Blue and yellow diablo, purple and orange diablo sleeves, blue and yellow quartered cap
50/1 40 Just In Debt 10 10-4 Alan Dempsey Martin Todhunter Bill Hazeldean Red, blue stars and sleeves with red stars, white cap

The Race

There was one false start when Ross Comm tried to bite the tape as it went to rise. The runners were recalled and got away second time despite the calls from Conor O'Dwyer that his mount Native Upmanship wasn't ready, being left twenty lengths adrift at the start as Shotgun Willy led over the first fence which claimed Juveigneur, Whispered Secret, Tyneandthyneagain, last year's runner up Royal Auclair and the highly fancied Innox, while the run down to Becher's Brook for the first time also ended the hopes of Baron Windrush, at the third, Ross Comm at the fourth and Ebony Light at the fifth with Just In Debt failing to negotiate the famous brook.

Shotgun Willy was headed at the Canal Turn by the tighter jump of Ballycassidy but it was Puntal who moved to the front at Valentine's Brook and led the field back to the racecourse minus Le Duc who had unshipped his rider back at the Canal Turn.

Thirty of the original forty starters continued onto the racecourse to the Chair fence in front of the stands where Jack High, Silver Birch and Heros Collonges all came to grief. Garvivonnian also made the latest of several blunders there and was pulled up before taking the water jump, which marked the half way point of the race.

Ballycassidy and Puntal had enjoyed a lead of about six lengths on the racecourse but the former began to draw away from the latter, and the rest of the field on the run to Becher's for the second time while behind him Lord Of Illusion, Iris Royal,Shotgun Willy,Cornish Rebel,Le Roi Miguel,Direct AccessandAmberleigh Houseall pulled up withHaut De Gammefalling at the twentieth fence.

Becher's Brook itself claimed tail ender Sir Oj and Foinavon's saw the tiring First Gold unseat his rider to leave sixteen runners still in the contest as the field tuned at the Canal for the final time.

Ballycassidy still led by four lengths at this point from Hedgehunter, Therealbandit, Clan Royal, Numbersixvalverde, Inca Trail, Risk Accessor, Joe's Edge, Forest Gunner, Colnel Rayburn, Nil Desperandum, Puntal, It Takes Time and Native Upmanship with only the struggling Rince Ri and Iznogoud too far behind to challenge.

Ballycassidy hesitated at Valentine's Brook however and took a horrible looking fall to leave Hedgehunter leading the still tightly packed survivors back towards the finish while behind him the fourth last fence was far enough for Native Upmanship and Rince Ri who both refused after seeing Therealbandit, Iznogoud and Colnel Rayburn all pulled up and It Takes Time also called it a day after taking the third last flight to leave nine runners coming back onto the race course for the final time.

The race still lay between eight of the nine survivors at this stage as Hedgehunter led Clan Royal, Inca Trail, Numbersixvalverde, Forest Gunner, Risk Accessor, Nil Desperandum and Joe's Edge with only Puntal detached from the group.

The long run towards the second last fence paid for Joe's Edge and Forest Gunner while Hedgehunter, Clan Royal and Numbersixvalverde jumped abreast with their three rivals still tucked in behind. Inca Trail and Risk Accessor were both beaten by the last jump which Numbersixvalverde jumped just ahead of Hedgehunter and Clan Royal with Nil Desperandum still in touch in fourth.

Numbersixvalverde was now pushed out to take the run in and reached the rail a length and a half up on Hedgehunter with equal distances to Nil Desperandum and Clan Royal and from there on he increased his advantage over the other three to win by six lengths.[3][4]

Finishing order

Position Name Starting price Distance
Winner Numbersixvalverde 11/1 6 lengths
Second Hedgehunter 5/1 Co Fav 1 1/4 lengths
Third Clan Royal 5/1 Co Fav Short head
Fourth Nil Desperandum 33/1 A distance {more than 30 lengths}
5th Risk Accessor 66/1 16 lengths
6th Puntal 66/1 2 1/2 lengths
7th Joe's Edge 20/1 22 lengths
8th Inca Trail 40/1 3 1/2 lengths
9th Forest Gunner 33/1


Fence Name Fate
First (1) Royal Auclair Fell
First (1) Innox Fell
First (1) Whispered Secret Unseated
First (1) Juveigneur Fell
First (1) Tyneandthyneagain Fell
Westhead (3) Baron Windrush Unseated
Plain fence (4) Ross Comm Fell
Plain fence (5) Ebony Light Fell
Becher's Brook (6) Just In Debt Fell
Canal Turn (8) Le Duc Unseated
The Chair (15) Silver Birch Fell
The Chair (15) Jack High Unseated
The Chair (15) Heros Collonges Unseated
Water (16) Garvivonnian Pulled up
First (17) Lord Of Illusion Pulled up
First (17) Iris Royal Pulled up
Fan (18) Shotgun Willy Pulled up
Westhead (19) Cornish Rebel Pulled up
Westhead (19) Le Roi Miguel Pulled up
Westhead (19) Direct Access Pulled up
Plain fence (20) Haut De Gamme Fell
Plain fence (21) Amberleigh House Pulled up
Becher's Brook (22) Sir Oj Fell
Foinavon (23) First Gold Unseated
Valentine's (25) Ballycassidy Fell - while leading
Open Ditch (27) Therealbandit Pulled up
Open Ditch (27) Native Upmanship Refused
Open Ditch (27) Rince Ri Refused
Open Ditch (27) Iznogoud Pulled up
Open Ditch (27) Colnel Rayburn Pulled up
Second Last (29) It Takes Time Pulled up


Winning jockey Niall Madden said that he had been given a dream ride all the way but wasn't actually sure he had won until he crossed the line, despite believing that he would win a long way from home. The second, Ruby Walsh, third, Tony McCoy and fourth, Tom Treacy, riders all agreed that the rain the previous day had gone against their runners, despite all believing that they would win crossing the Melling Road to turn for the second last flight. Fifth placed Noel Fehily also believed he was going to win on Risk Accessor crossing the Melling Road but confessed that his mount didn't get the trip. Barry Geraghty felt that Puntal's chance went when hitting the twentieth fence very hard, which winded him slightly before rallying to pick up stragglers late on. The other three riders to complete the course were all naturally delighted to get the full race while each stated that their mounts were well beaten by two fences out.

Of those that didn't complete the course only one rider, Tony Dobbin pulled up because the horse, Direct Access wasn't enjoying it while Jason Maguire was forced to pull up Lord Of Illusion when the horse bled. JP McNamara felt he was unlucky to be unseated from Heros Collonges at the Chair because his horse was baulked while Andrew McNamara confessed that Rince Ri was stopped by a loose horse falling into the ditch in front of him rather than actually refusing. Leighton Aspell was the only rider to exit the race while lying in the first half dozen when long time leader Ballycassidy fell but he stopped short of saying that he felt they would win, merely feeling that they deserved to get round after their front running performance.

Tyneandthyneagain continued riderless after falling at the first fence until he fell into the open ditch along the canal side. Upon being returned to the stables he was found to have a serious spinal injury and had to be humanely destroyed. He was the seventy-seventh horse to die during, or as a result of taking part in the Grand National.

Former winner Amberleigh House was retired after the race after returning tired but fresh and having enjoyed one last spin around Aintree.

Stephen Craine was taken to hospital with a broken collar bone after his fall from Ebony Light while Paul Carberry suffered a sprained ankle after his fall from Sir Oj.[5]


The race was broadcast live on BBC television and radio. The television coverage was as a Grandstand special and was the forty-seventh time the race had been televised live as part of the programme. The televising of the race included cameras inside the first fence and three 'jockey' cams, cameras inside jockey's caps, Christian Williams on Royal Auclair, Leighton Aspell on Ballycassidy and Sam Thomas on Silver Birch. The programme was presented by Sue Barker and Clare Balding with summary from Richard Pitman, Peter Scudamore and Norman Williamson. John Parrott and Rishi Persad interviewed spectators and celebrity racegoers on course with Angus Loughran reviewing the betting market. The race commentary team was Ian Bartlett, Tony O'Hehir, Darren Owen and lead commentator Jim McGrath who called the runners home.

"And on the far side Hedgehunter comes towards it but he was outjumped by Numbersixvalverde. The Irish National winner has taken the lead now as they charge towards the elbow. It's Numbersixvalverde in front of hedgehunter who's battling on. In behind them is Nil Desperandum, Clan Royal is starting to weaken. They're on the elbow now as they turn for home as Numbersixvalverde in front here. he's two length, two or three lengths in front for 'Slippers' Madden, having his first ride in the Grand National. As they come up towards the line it's Numbersixvalverde who's out jumped and out stayed them for 'Slippers' Madden. Twenty year old 'Slippers' Madden wins it in his first ride."

This was also the seventy-fourth live radio broadcast of Grand National day, being broadcast on radio five live with commentators John Hunt, Dougie Fraser, Gary O'Brien and Matthew Hill.[6]

Prior to the race nineteen leading racing correspondents were asked to pick their top four. Only one, BBC website's 'Honest Frank' correctly predicted the winner.[7]


Official BBC coverage of the 2006 Grand National


Premier Equine Classifieds


Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...

The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...

Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...

That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...