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Grand National Saturday, 8 April, 2000, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Papillon wins National thriller
Ruby Walsh celebrates as Papillon takes the win
Jockey Ruby Walsh rode to a famous victory on Irish chaser Papillon to win the Grand National at his first attempt.

After a barren 25-year patch for Irish mounts, Papillon becomes the second consecutive horse from Ireland to win, following the success of Bobbyjo last year.

I'm proud of the horse, I'm proud of the whole family and I'm proud of him [Ruby]. It's a great day to be alive

Ted Walsh, Papillon's trainer

It is also the second straight win for a father-and-son team as Rudy and trainer Ted Walsh emulated the achievements of Paul and Tommy Carberry in 1999.

The 20-year-old jockey was barely able to speak for grinning as he was cheered into the winner's enclosure.

"My fella just kept picking up and picking up and once I reached the last I never thought anything was going to get past me," said Walsh.

Papillon held off the challenge of 25-1 shot Mely Moss in a ding-dong battle over the 494-yard run-in to be first past the post.

Niki Dee, another horse at 25-1, brought up third place, with outsider Brave Highlander, at an even longer 50-1, in fourth. Fifth place was taken by veteran jumper Addington Boy.

Speaking after the win, Ted Walsh said: "It's a wonderful feeling. We had all the luck today.
Mely Moss and Papillon
Mely Moss (left) pushed to the finish

"I'm proud of the horse, I'm proud of the whole family and I'm proud of him [Ruby]. It's a great day to be alive."

The organisers will have breathed a sigh of relief as the race finished with no horse fatalities. Concerns over the safety of the course had been raised following the deaths of five mounts in the first two days of the Aintree meeting.

Papillon started the day as a 33-1 outsider, but was backed down on the day, with Dark Stranger the eventual favourite on 9-1.

Heavily backed Star Traveller led for the majority of the race, with the unfancied Esprit de Cotte, Lucky Town, Hollybank Buck and The Last Fling all appearing in the leading pack.
Micko's Dream
Five horses fell at the first

Papillon also raced prominently and took the lead three out. The nine-year-old looked to be clear as they crossed the Melling Road, but Norman Williamson produced a spurt from Mely Moss to threaten.

But Papillon had the better of the last two fences and hung on grimly to win by one and a quarter of lengths and claim the 290,000 winner's purse.

The favourite, Dark Stranger, gave champion jockey Tony McCoy a heavy fall at the third to disappoint, while last year's winner Bobbyjo showed well on the first circuit, but faded badly to finish well down the field after being interfered with at Becher's second time round..

Of the maximum starting field of 40, 17 horses finished the course and of the other 23 no injuries were reported.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Cornelius Lysaght
"Great day for the Irish mount"
Rudy and Ted Walsh
tell Ian Payne about the race
Aintree managing director Charles Barnett
"We are very pleased that all the horses came back uninjured"
See also:

08 Apr 00 | Grand National
08 Apr 00 | Grand National
08 Apr 00 | Grand National
04 Apr 00 | Grand National
04 Apr 00 | Grand National
07 Apr 00 | Sport
06 Apr 00 | Business
06 Apr 00 | Grand National
10 Apr 99 | Sport
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