independent

Saturday 16 December 2017

GRAND DAY FOR DARYL!

Victory in the world's greatest race

AFTER Daryl Jacob and Neptune Collognes had won the closest ever Grand National, the rural parish of Davidstown was in celebratory mood.

Daryl realised his goal as he urged the silver Neptune Collognes to make an incredible last-second surge to win the race by less than a nostril from Sunnyhill Boy, also beating Katie Walsh on Seabass, the heavily fancied joint favourite, into third spot.

It looked for a long way as if the fairytale Walsh family repeat was on the cards as Seabass travelled very strongly for Katie until beyond the last, only to tire close to home. It took Neptune Collognes every inch of the four and half miles to get his nose in front for the first time literally on the post, and he can now celebrate his success in retirement, which was the owners intention win or lose.

Yet, for all the excitement of the closest finish the Aintree race has known, victory by a nose, there was also despair. Two horses died, including last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised, despite major safety changes to key fences in an attempt to make the challenge less daunting. While Daryl Jacob spoke of the superb race of Neptune Collognes being ideally placed as they crossed The Chair on the second circuit, he still had lots to do after clearing the last. However the grey kept eating out the inches edging past a tiring Seabass before taking Sunnyhillboy on the line. It was a triumph of perseverance for champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who privately despaired of ever winning this famous old steeplechase after a catalogue of disappointments stretching back to 1992, with this been his 53rd runner.

The people of the parish of Davidstown are really proud of the achievement of Daryl in what was an emotional evening.

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