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Saturday, April 4, 1998 Published at 19:08 GMT 20:08 UK


Llewellyn reaches the summit
image: [ Carl Llewellyn almost fell on the second circuit ]
Carl Llewellyn almost fell on the second circuit

Carl Llewellyn refects on the slowest ever Grand National. (1'42")
The 7-1 favourite Earth Summit ridden by Carl Llewellyn and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies won the Grand National at Aintree.

It was a supreme ride from Llewellyn who judged the pace perfectly. When others in the field were pushing the early pace, Llewellyn was holding back towards the rear of the field.

[ image: Ricky George is part of the Summit Partnership syndicate]
Ricky George is part of the Summit Partnership syndicate
"I thought it went very quick early on - over the first four or five.

"I thought they'd go quicker than they did and I was fairly near the back. But by the time we had gone a circuit, most of them had gone," the jockey said.

Earth Summit seemed to jump better as the race progressed. He was especially good on the second circuit, making just one mistake.

Cornelius Lysaght talks to jockeys and trainers after the race. (5'58")
"One of the ditches he put down on me - the ditch going away from the third the second time around. He was very lucky to get out of that. He was superb," said the exhausted Llewellyn.

It was Llewellyn's second victory in the great race. He won on Party Politics in 1992.

Syndicate joy

Earth Summit is the property of a six-strong syndicate of owners which includes former soccer player Ricky George. Mr George was crying when the favourite crossed the line.

"I never moved a muscle until he jumped the last. Even then, not until he crossed the line did I cheer or jump or shout. Carl Llewellyn has ridden the most fantastic race I've ever seen," he said.

[ image: Nigel Payne collects the trophy from HRH Princess Anne]
Nigel Payne collects the trophy from HRH Princess Anne
Nigel Payne, another with a share in the syndicate, had to watch the race on the TV in the winner's enclosure as he works as a press officer at Aintree. All of a sudden, the press wanted to interview him.

"Standing here in this position is just not possible, frankly. I can't believe it. I have got to try to remember that I have a job to do here," Mr Payne said.

Earth Summit was bought by the syndicate six years ago for a bargain £5,800. After a crushing fall in a Grand National trial at Haydock in 1996 when the horse damaged a ligament, the owners were told he might survive but would never race again.

However the trainer, Gloucestershire farmer Nigel Twiston-Davies, nursed him back to health to win the Scottish and Welsh Nationals. The trainer, who does not give many interviews, paid tribute to Earth Summit: "He needs extreme distances and that's what he had today, and he was brilliant."

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