Connect with us

Betting

Aintree | The course’s top five moments of the 2020-21 season

We look back on five of the best racing moments at Aintree this season

Published

on

Minella Times ridden by Rachael Blackmore clears the water during Grand National Day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday April 10, 2021.
888 Promotion

With the season drawing to its conclusion on Jumps Finals Day at Sandown on the weekend, racing fans are reflecting on another top-class season of National Hunt racing.

From a veteran producing an age-defying performance to one of the most memorable Grand Nationals in modern history, Aintree had its fair share of drama, excitement and achievements this season.

Here are Aintree’s five best moments of the 2020-21 National Hunt season.

5. Vieux Lion Rouge rolls the years back in the Becher Chase

Vieux Lion Rouge proved that age is just a number in the 2020 renewal of the Becher Chase, as David Pipe’s veteran stormed to victory on his five consecutive starts in the race.

WATCH: Vieux Lion Rouge lands success in the 2020 becher chase for david pipe [credit: racing tv]

A winner of the contest back in 2016, the then 11-year-old displayed an impeccable round of jumping and bolting away from Kimberlite Candy in the final stages to win by an incredible 24 lengths.

It was the ninth time that the veteran completed the Grand National circuit, which is a top-class achievement on its own merit.

Vieux Lion Rouge ridden by Conor O'Farrell goes on to win the William Hill Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree Racecourse, Merseyside.
Vieux Lion Rouge showed his class in the 2020 Becher Chase

Vieux Lion Rouge would go on to run in the 2021 Grand National but he suffered his first tumble on the circuit, falling at the 20th fence.

4. Nuts Well wins the 2020 Old Roan Chase

It was an emotional afternoon for 68-year-old trainer Ann Hamilton at the October Meeting when Nuts Well gave the Northumberland-based trainer her biggest success to date in the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase.

WATCH: NUts well wins the old roan handicap chase for ann hamilton [credit: racing tv]

Coming from a small yard of six horses, the then nine-year-old battled alongside the big boys and he looked to be out of contention when making a poor jump at the fifth-last fence.

However, the gelding worked hard to sneak back into the race and produced a powerful stride to get past the leading Clondaw Castle in the home straight.

After a six-month break, Nuts Well returned to take a second in the Melling Chase at the Grand National before finishing sixth in the Celebration Chase on Jumps Finals Day at Sandown.

3. Thyme Hill lands Grade 1 success in the Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle

After the disappointment of missing the Cheltenham Festival in March, Thyme Hill made a prominent return for Philip Hobbs in the Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle.

Thyme Hill
Thyme Hill snatched victory at Aintree in the final strides

A game winner of the Long Walk Hurdle, the seven-year-old was still hunting for a Grade 1 success and he faced his newfound rival in Paisley Park at Aintree.

Emma Lavelle’s staying star failed to live up to expectation, which left the door wide open for Thyme Hill.

WATCH: THYME HILL WINS THE RYANAIR STAYERS’ HURDLE AT AINTREE [CREDIT: RACING TV]

The gelding was looking held by Roksana in the run-in, but Hobbs’ talent found more in the final strides and won by a neck.

2. Lake View Lad causes an upset in the Many Clouds Chase

Many Clouds was a much-loved horse in the National Hunt sphere, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Lake View Lad produced an upset in the Trevor Hemmings silks in the Many Clouds Chase in December.

Lake View Lad
Lake View Lad recorded an emotional victory in the Many Clouds Chase

Priced up as a 16/1 outsider, the then 10-year-old got the better of three Gold Cup prospects in Santini, Native River and Frodon.

Even though Neil Alexander believed his gelding was aided with the three omitted fences in the run-in, it was hard not to be impressed with Lake View Lad’s hard-working ethic as he went on to claim victory by a length.

1. Rachael Blackmore wins the Grand National with Minella Times

A magical season for Rachael Blackmore was rounded off with success in the biggest steeplechase of them all, becoming the first female jockey to win the Grand National.

WATCH: RACHAEL BLACKMORE & MINELLA TIMES WINS THE 2021 GRAND NATIONAL FOR HENRY DE BROMHEAD [CREDIT: RACING TV]

She teamed up with Henry De Bromhead to cause havoc in British racing once again, as she took the saddle on Minella Times.

The eight-year-old produced a faultless performance over the Grand National fences, holding off his stablemate Balko Des Flos as they approached the Elbow.

Jockey Rachael Blackmore celebrates winning the Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase during Grand National Thursday of the 2019 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse.
Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the Grand National

Blackmore kicked her mount on and he responded, clearing away to win by six and a half lengths to record victory and one that will live long in the memory.

Advertisement
Advertisement