'You dare not...' - Grand National winning jockey explains what he was thinking during historic race

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The 2014 winner spoke about his victory 10 years on ahead of this year’s major sporting event.

A former Grand National-winning jockey has revealed what he was thinking during his historic victory, on the eve of the 2024 races.

This year marks ten years since Pineau De Re won the 2014 Grand National for trainer Dr Richard Newland and jockey Leighton Aspell. The horse would have made punters plenty of profit given he was registered at odds of around 25/1 on the day. It gave Newland a winner at his first attempt as the horse battled through the pack to power clear after the 16th fence. His victory made history by making it two years in a row that the famous Aintree race was won by a rider back from retirement.

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Speaking in an exclusive interview with Genting Casino, the premium online casino of course, the National-winning jockey and trainer recalled their feelings from that day as Aspell explained what he was thinking as he competed in the famous 34-horse Steeplechase race. “From Valentines, I had a lovely position,” he began.

He continued: “I was able to tag onto the horse at the front going back up the Melling Road and I thought ‘I have a real chance of being placed in this National, you dare not think about winning it’ Once we got over the second last I wanted as straight a line as possible to The Elbow and I got two really good jumps from Pineau and he really quickened away from the last. You’re running at a wall of sound with the noise, and you’re just hoping that something doesn’t come in late and fast to mug you. Everybody was just on cloud nine, screaming and shouting. It was a frenzy.”

Despite what was a thrilling and brilliant victory on the day, Aspell and Newland were close to pulling out of the race due to a concern over whether Pineau could run, as Newland explained: “We had the fright of our lives because on the morning of the race, all of the Grand National horses had trotted up and Caroline, our senior groom and travelling head lass, had brought the horse to Aintree and just as I was arriving at the track, my phone rings and Caroline says, ‘don’t panic Richard, but come quickly because Pineau has failed the trot up and there’s a concern whether he can run or not’.

“Everything was set up for our big day and it wasn’t going to happen. One of the vets was undecided whether he’d put in a lame stride, I was very keen that he had ran. There was a committee of six vets looking at him by the time I got there and we trotted him up again, he trotted three good strides and I said, ‘that’s great, put him in his box’, there was nothing wrong with him and sometimes an older horse puts in a slightly lame stride.”

Pineau De Re became the sixth French-bred horse to win the renowned race, and Newland added: “It’s a good thing we weren’t stopped from running.”

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