Where are our Grand National heroes now?

Features | 24th March 2019

With the Grand National just around the corner, we caught up with a few of the retired racehorses that have won Aintree’s prestigious race to see how they are getting on.

Photo courtesy of Horse and Hound

Pineau De Re (2014)

The 2014 Grand National winner, who provided jockey Leighton Aspell with the first of his back-to-back wins, is now enjoying his second career as an eventer.

The French-bred 16-year-old made his eventing debut two years ago in an unaffiliated BE90 class at Aston-Le-Walls in Northamptonshire, under Lizzie Doolittle, and has since completed 12 more events.

Neptune Collonges (2012)

He 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.

The 18-year-old is no longer ridden, but he did do dressage competitions for a few years. The popular grey has remained with his owner John Hales in Shropshire with other retired racehorses owned by Hales including Azertyuiop, and Politologue spends his summer holidays there.

On his way to the annual Aintree parade of champions last year, he stopped off to make a popular personal appearance at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Don’t Push It (2010)

He gave record-breaking champion jockey AP McCoy his elusive Grand National win at the 15th attempt and the pair crossing the line created one of the most iconic photos in racing. He was third in the race 12 months later and retired in 2012.

Always a somewhat quirky character who preferred the company of sheep as opposed to racehorses when in training with Jonjo O’Neill.

19-year-old Don’t Push It is now settled in retirement at Martinstown Stud in Ireland. He spends his days out in the field with his pal and Cheltenham Festival winner Master Tern.

Mon Mome (2009)

The 18-year-old is currently retired in the familiar surroundings of his trainer Venetia Williams’ Herefordshire yard.

Only the fifth 100-1 chance in history to win the race, he accompanies a few point-to-point horses, avoiding the gallops because he still gets very excited.

He loves to be kept busy and two years ago entered his first show in Newmarket, where he won the novice thoroughbred-in-hand class. He spends his spare time hanging out with his peacock friend, Sedrick.

Numbersixvalverde (2006)

Named after his owner Bernard Carroll’s holiday home in Portugal, he gave his 20-year-old jockey Niall Madden a thrilling win on his first Grand National ride in 2006.

The 23-year-old Numbersixalverde has taken successfully to other disciplines since his retirement in 2009, including dressage.

He still lives in the same racing yard in County Kildare where he was trained for his Aintree victory and is a great character who likes to show off.

Hedgehunter (2005) and Ballabriggs (2011)

The 23-year-old Hedgehunter and the 18-year-old Ballabriggs are enjoying retirement together at Trevor Hemmings’ stud on the Isle of Man, where they share a paddock as well as riding out together each day.

Ballabriggs (left) and Hedgehunter (right)

Hedgehunter ran in five Grand Nationals and winning in 2005 as the 7/1 favourite in what was a dominant victory. Hedgehunter is still as sharp, intelligent and good looking as ever and makes personal appearances at functions such as Aintree Racecourse’s media lunches.

Ballabriggs enabled trainer Donald McCain to follow in his illustrious father Ginger’s footsteps when winning. Retired in the spring of 2016, the 18-year-old now enjoys life with his best friend Hedgehunter and two more of owner Trevor Hemmings’ heroes, Albertas Run and Cloudy Lane – both of won big races at Aintree.