Dr Richard Newland and John Provan have been friends for 25 years and their longheld dream of training and owning the winner of the Crabbie’s Grand National became reality on Saturday 5th April 2014 when 25/1 shot Pineau De Re landed the big prize in the hands of Leighton Aspell.
Dr Newland, who trains 12 horses in Claines, Worcestershire, said: “Two out or three out we were getting excited. I was jumping up and down with my daughter. Leighton [Aspell, jockey] had a plan and delivered it superbly well. He’s a great guy and a good jockey and I’m thrilled for him.
“When something like this happens you think perhaps I should stop now because it just can’t get better than this. He’s a classy, classy horse Pineau De Re, I’ve always thought that. When I got him he was 10, he’s 11 now but he doesn’t act like an 11-year-old, he’s got loads of ability and he still has all the enthusiasm to do the job. He has the combination of stamina and a touch of speed and it was just a wonderful performance even though he made a few errors.
“This is a hobby for me really and I have no real plans to change anything at the minute. I have great work colleagues at Newbridge and I love working with them too. I’m lucky enough to be able to do this [training] and enjoy it but if you do it as a full-time job there’s a higher level of stress and less fun. I have a big gang of supporters here today and my three daughters so that makes it extra special.
“I feed the horses in the morning, harrow the gallop and leave instructions for the day. I go out with the horses when I can but quite often I have to leave it to the team. Carolyn, who has lead up today, Millie, who does the work at home and has been with me for a long, long time. Chris Ward, Amanda and now Charlie Hammond, who are work riders. Chris has put this horse right and done all of the work on him.
“John Provan and I met 25 years ago and he’s my oldest racing friend and we’ve been coming here to Aintree for 20 years together long before I trained or even owned horses. It was always our dream to have a National runner.”
Owner John Provan added: “We have brought everybody today, we are all sharing in the magic moment in time. It’s fantastic, absolutely fantastic. We love taking on the big guys. We have come against Paul Nicholls and all the jockeys – it’s hard to get a really good jockey when you want one.
“Leighton Aspell did the job absolutely perfect today – we couldn’t have asked anymore from a jockey. I have to say a big thank you to all of Richard’s staff, such lovely staff. They all do their job 100 per cent and it’s just fantastic for them. They will all be in the celebrations tonight.”
Pineau gives Aspell a crackajack ride
Jockey Leighton Aspell realised a lifelong ambition after he partnered 25/1 shot Pineau De Re to victory in the Crabbie’s Grand National 2014.
The 37-year-old had announced his retirement in July, 2007 and went to work for trainer John Dunlop for 18 months but the lure of the saddle proved irresistible and he returned to race-riding in April, 2009.
He is currently enjoying his best season to date and this winner marked his 61st of the campaign.
The jockey had previously finished second in the Crabbie’s Grand National on board Supreme Glory in 2003 and was visibly delighted having gone one better this afternoon.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Aspell.
“The feeling is just of elation when you cross the line. At my age, I won’t have many more chances to win! Every year, you share winning the National with your friends but obviously you want to do it yourself.
“You keep going through a combination of tiredness and adrenalin now. I was trying to save as much as I could but he is such a little terrier he kept swinging back into the bridle. I was very conscious about being out in front – it’s four miles and nearly four furlongs and there’s no other race in the calendar that long.
“He’s a small horse and he is going to try very hard over jumps, which he kept doing. When we got over the third last, Noel (Fehily, on Rocky Creek) tried to increase the pace and I couldn’t quite get a real feel of what I was holding on to.
“I met the last really well and got a bit of daylight – he missed a few on the way round more through lack of daylight but I suppose it’s the same for a lot out there. When I was settled in behind horses, we missed a few fences. From the Canal Turn last time, we had plenty of good daylight and he really enjoyed that part of the race.
“I knew we were in with a chance jumping Valentine’s second time round. You’re never certain of winning, even when you reach the Elbow, but I knew we’d have to tie up badly to be caught at that point. We didn’t have a lot left to be honest but you wouldn’t at the end of this sort of trip.
“It’s a wonderful day. This is what we do it for. I remember watching the National as a very young boy and, as much as you enjoy sharing in everybody’s success, you seek and crave a bit too. It’s great to get a chance.
“Even to get a ride in the National is a great thing but to get one with a live chance is even better.
“My family made the effort to come over yesterday on the train and we had a night out last night. We are all here today to enjoy it too.”
John Baker, Jockey Club Racecourses Regional Director (North West), said: “It was a fantastic winner and a great race. It’s great to report that all the jockeys and horses came back safely which was what we wanted to achieve today from our perspective. We’ve got a fantastic story here.”
GRAND NATIONAL FACTS ABOUT THE WINNER
Pineau De Re is the third consecutive 11-year-old to win the Crabbie’s Grand National, following on from Auroras Encore in 2013 and Neptunes Collonges in 2012.
Pineau De Re is a fortified wine produced in Charente, Western France.
Pineau De Re is the second Scottish-owned winner in succession of the Crabbie’s Grand National, following Auroras Encore who has two Scottish owners among the three-strong partnership who owns him.
Pineau De Re is the ninth horse starting with the letter P to win the Crabbie’s Grand National in 167 runnings.
Leighton Aspell, the winning rider, is the second jockey in succession to have retired from riding and then made a comeback. Ryan Mania, the winner on Auroras Encore in 2013, did the same.
Pineau De Re is the sixth Crabbie’s Grand National winner to be bred in France, following on from Neptune Collonges (2012), Mon Mome (2009), Lutteur II (1909), Reugny (1874) and Alcibiade (1865).