Where Are Our Grand National Heroes Now?

The Randox Health Grand National was due to take place this Saturday (4th April) at Aintree Racecourse but has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In light of this, we caught up with some of the previous winners of the race to find out what they are up to now.

2014 winner Pineau de Re provided jockey Leighton Aspell with the first of his back-to-back wins in the race and is now enjoying his second career in eventing.

The 17-year-old has completed 18 One Day Events, including three at British Equestrian Novice level, while also achieving a personal best in the dressage arena last year.

And Lizzie Dolittle, who retrained Pineau de Re for his second career and rides him on a daily basis, believes he is as fit as ever and hopes to campaign the gelding at an international event next year.

“’Pineau’ is an absolute pleasure to have around and he’s a yard favourite – all the locals know him. It’s coming into his fourth year with me at the yard and he’s feeling younger every year I have him. He never seems to age and he’s full of life. He’s 17 now but it genuinely feels like I’m riding a six-year-old,” Dolittle said.

“He’s so full of personality and enthusiasm, and always up for anything you want to do. He’s so clever and ahead of the game, when I take him eventing, he sees where he’s got to go before I’ve even figured out where we’re going.

“He had a personal best score in his dressage last season and was meant to be out eventing this season but he’s currently not because of the coronavirus situation. He is ready and fit to go, he has had the winter off and he’s enjoying life at home. He’s super fit and feeling better than ever, the ambition is that he will compete in an international FEI One- or Two-Star event next year.”

Neptunes Collonges became only the third grey horse to win the Grand National when he got his head in front by just a nose to deny Sunnyhillboy in 2012.

The 19-year-old is no longer ridden, but he competed in dressage competitions for a several years following his retirement from racing. The popular grey has remained with his owner John Hales in Shropshire, with other retired racehorses owned by Hales including Azertyuiop who won the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2004. The winner of this year’s renewal, and another grey, Politologue, also spends his summer holidays there.

Neptunes Collonges was paraded at the Grand National weights event at St George’s Hall in Liverpool in February

Don’t Push It gave record-breaking champion jockey AP McCoy his elusive first Grand National win at the 15th attempt in 2010, and the pair crossing the line created some of the most iconic photos in racing (as seen below). Don’t Push It was third in the race in 2011 and retired the following year.

Always a somewhat quirky character, Don’t Push It is known to have preferred the company of sheep as opposed to racehorses when in training with Jonjo O’Neill.

20-year-old Don’t Push It is now settled in retirement at owner JP McManus’ Martinstown Stud in Ireland. He spends his days with former Cheltenham Festival winner Master Tern.

The 2009 winner Mon Mome was only the fifth 100-1 chance in history to win, handing jockey Liam Treadwell victory at his first attempt. Mon Mome now resides at his former groom Sarah McQueen’s yard in Herefordshire, not far from his former trainer Venetia Williams. He lives alongside a few point-to-point horses, avoiding the gallops because he still gets very excited.

He loves to be kept busy and has attended the parade of champions at Aintree every year but one since he retired in 2013, while he also paraded at the RoR Horse of the Year show in October last year (image below).

McQueen and Mon Mome have been side-to-side since the former’s first day at Venetia William’s and she insists the 19-year-old is as sprightly as ever.

“Mon Mome is 20 this year, not that he knows it, he’s still like a five-year-old. He’s nearly upset as me that the Grand National isn’t on, he absolutely loves to go every year,” McQueen said.

“He lives at my yard and I’m his guardian. I was the person who looked after him from the minute I started at Venetia’s – I worked there for 10 years. He was a five-year-old when I first began working there and I looked after him from when he started chasing, all the way through to the end of his career. He’s never been anywhere without me.

“We’re not far from Venetia and we’re still in regular contact with Venetia and the owner Vida (Bingham), they’re always asking after him.”


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