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Irish Bred’s Dominate Aintree Grand National

08 April 2013

Following a surprise winner of the Irish Grand National, Saturdays showpiece event the Aintree Grand National produced an even more surprising winner as AURORA’S ENCORE (IRE) lead home an Irish bred 1-2-3-4-5. Trained in Yorkshire by Sue & Harvey Smith and ridden by Ryan Mania, the 66/1 shot drew clear up the famous long run in to beat last year’s fourth CAPPA BLEU (IRE) with TEAFORTHREE (IRE) running a game race in third. OSCAR TIME (IRE) and RARE BOB (IRE) fared best of the Irish trained runners coming fourth and fifth. After the race an ecstatic Sue Smith commented about her brave 11yo;

"I would have been happy to be in the first four or five and here we are we´ve won it. The horse ran a fantastic race, Ryan gave him a fantastic ride and always had the horse where he wanted to be. Because he ran so well in the Scottish National we knew he would get the trip."

AURORA’S ENCORE (IRE) is by former Coolmore stallion SECOND EMPIRE (IRE) who is also the sire of Grade 1 winning chaser Somersby and he was bred in Ireland by Noel O’Callaghan’s Mountarmstrong Stud. Like many of this year’s high profile jumps winners AURORAS ENCORE (IRE) is a graduate of Tattersalls Ireland but he was sold at their September Flat Yearling Sale for €7,000 to Frank Barry. He has a predominantly flat pedigree and his winning siblings won over seven furlongs and a mile and a quarter.

Thoroughbred breeding is a fascinating business and when you consider AURORAS ENCORE (IRE) is by a miler, out of a mare who was placed over seven furlongs as a 2yo and comes from a family of milers and he comes along and stays four and a half miles better than thirty nine others who are mostly bred to do so. Racing and breeding is a beautifully unpredictable game and while one can give careful consideration to matings and matching up mares with stallions, nature will often take over and produce horses that defy conventional logic.

Evan Williams, trainer of runner up CAPPA BLEU (IRE) certainly deserves to train a Grand National winner. For the fifth year in a row he has trained a horse to be placed in the great race which is a great achievement and hopefully he will get his moment of glory.

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