Dreams really do come true in the annual Grand National, the most famous and cherished race on the British thoroughbred steeplechase calendar, held annually since 1839 at the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool. As one of the most eagerly anticipated National Hunt races of the year, even people with little interest in equestrian events tend to pay attention, especially given this great is known for producing so many memorable moments.
Last year, Rachael Blackmore became the first ever female jockey to ride home a Grand National winner, guiding 11/1 shot Minella Times ahead of the field to victory. This year viewers were treated to a remarkable first and last, as 50/1 outsider Noble Yeats was first past the finishing post, with Sam Waley-Cohen becoming the first amateur jockey in 32 years to claim victory at Aintree, competing in what would also be the last ride of his career.
Furthermore, Waley-Cohen was the only amateur jockey competing in the 174th running of the world’s greatest race, along with becoming the first amateur to complete an astonishing career double, combining his 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup win with triumph at the 2022 Grand National. Indeed, this was an astonishing way to conclude his 20-year-career, which also includes two King George VI Chase wins.
Dream conclusion for a racing family
In the saddle of rank outsider Noble Yeats, the 7-year-old bay gelding trained by Emmet Mullins and owned by his father Robert Waley-Cohen, it’s fair to say that Sam helped produced a memorable day at the 2022 Grand National for his family. This winning combination of jockey and horse clinched victory by just over two lengths, ahead of the pre-race favourite Any Second Now ridden by Mark Walsh.
Some twenty lengths behind in third was 10/1 valued contender Delta Work ridden by Jack Kennedy, while just behind in fourth position, Santini with Nick Scholfield in the saddle at 33/1 pre-race odds. Highlighting the challenging nature of the Grand National, regarded by many as the most difficult National Hunt event in the world, only fifteen of the forty starters were able to complete the race.
Amongst the non-finishers was 2021 Grand National winner Minella Times ridden by Rachael Blackmore, handed 9/1 odds ahead of the race to retain their title, yet unable to repeat that feat after falling at the ninth fence. According to the Grand National 2022 full results and of those unable to finish the race, one was brought down, nine fell, eleven pulled up, and seven horses unseated their jockeys.
As for the Waley-Cohen family, there were inevitably tears of joy in the winning enclosure at Aintree, as the owner father and jockey son celebrated their momentous occasion. Triumphing at the Grand National in his final race will be lifelong memory for Sam, who also recommended the purchase of Noble Yeats to his father, clearly seeing the great potential in this fabulous horse.
Beating the odds
Considering the high stakes and the quality of horses entered, the Grand National is known for being fiercely competitive and highly challenging to win. But one statistic stands out and proves that making predictions is far from easy, whilst also demonstrating that in modern horse racing, anything is possible when it comes to backing winners. This is evidenced by the fact that just once in the last ten races, has the favourite actually won the Grand National.
The element of chance involved in horse racing is what makes the sport so exciting. In their latest guide to the best horse racing betting sites, SBO reviews much more than just where the most competitive odds can be found. They also highlight where live racing streams can be viewed, which sites have the most lucrative offers and promotions, along with praising those who boast the strongest customer service.
Whether you wager once a year on the Grand National or enjoy betting on the horses daily, SBO lists each site by category, making it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. Most importantly, all sites reviewed are fully licensed and have the broadest range of markets available, which is reassuring to know as we seek to enjoy the ‘Sport of Kings’ at its absolute finest.