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Sunday, 2 May 2021

Auroras Encore

 



In the history of the Grand National, several of the longest-priced winners, notably Tipperary Tim in 1928 and Foinavon in 1967, have taken advantage of atrocious weather conditions and/or a mid-race pile-up, which put paid to the chances of many of their rivals, to record unlikely victories. However, the victory of Auroras Encore in 2013, while almost equally unlikely, had little to do with meteorlogy or fortuity.


In fact, during the 2013 renewal of the Grand National, run on good to soft going, in fair weather, just eight horses fell or unseated rider and 17 of the 40 starters completed the course. Indeed, for the first time in 166 runnings of the celebrated steeplechase, the whole field reached The Canal Turn – the eighth fence on the first circuit of the Grand National Course – unscathed and 32 horses were still standing heading out into the country for the second time.


Auroras Encore, an 11-year-old trained by Sue Smith, in High Eldwick, West Yorkshire, had finished second, beaten just a head, in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr the previous April but, after seven subsequent unplaced efforts, was sent off at 66/1 on his first attempt in the Grand National proper. Arguably well handicapped, off a mark 6lb lower than at Ayr, Auroras Encore mainly jumped well for his jockey, Ryan Mania, who was having his first ride in the race. He survived a mistakes at the tenth and twenty-seventh fences and, having jumped the second last in third place, joined the leader, Teaforthree, at the final fence. Thereafter, he never looked like being caught and was driven clear on the run-in to cause a 'huge shock'.

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