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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 April 2005, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
Hedgehunter wins Grand National
Ruby Walsh celebrates victory on board Hedgehunte
1 Hedgehunter
(R Walsh) 7-1f
2 Royal Auclair
(Christian Williams) 40-1
3 Simply Gifted
(B Harding) 66-1
4 It Takes Time
(TJ Murphy) 14-1
Pre-race favourite Hedgehunter, ridden by Ruby Walsh, won the 158th running of the Grand National at Aintree.

Hedgehunter took the lead after Tony McCoy's ride Clan Royal was taken out by a loose horse, and went on to win the race by 14 lengths.

Second place went to Royal Auclair, with Simply Gifted taking third ahead of It Takes Time.

People's favourite Forest Gunner, ridden by female jockey Carrie Ford, finished in fifth place.

Walsh, who won on Papillon in 2000, was ecstatic after his second National victory.

"Becher's Brook frightened the heart out of me, but it was some thrill," said the Irishman who was given trainer Willie Mullins' ride.

"Whatever happened, I thought 'I'm not going to move until I get to the elbow'. I got the elbow and said 'come on'.

"He's a proper horse. He's brilliant."

It was Mullins' first National triumph and he told the BBC that the lead up to the big day was far from smooth going.

"It's fantastic. I never dreamed this," said the 48-year-old.

"You hope all year you can get him here and last week I had an awful scare - he had a bit of snot in his nose.

"But I didn't say anything to anyone and we took our chance. We didn't work him all week, the last three mornings here are the first canters he's had since last Sunday.

"We were praying all week that it wouldn't get worse, but it got better. It's just fantastic, I couldn't believe it.

"I thought we might have to withdraw him on Thursday or Friday but even though he picked up it was still a worry at the back of my mind.

"I was holding my breath over the last hoping that nothing would come out of the clouds to get him, but I knew that Ruby was going to try and keep something up his sleeve for the run-in.

I loved it - it was the thrill of a lifetime
Forest Gunner rider Carrie Ford

"I've been watching this race since I was about five or six. It's the race that every jockey, owner or trainer wants to win."

Owner Trevor Hemmings, who also counts the Blackpool Tower in his 730m fortune, was relieved after finally landing the big race.

"It's been a long wait," he admitted. "But this race means so much to me and it is a dream come true.

"After I broke my Cheltenham duck with Trabolgan in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase last month, John Hales, JP McManus and David Johnson all told me that this could be my year, and they were right.

"I'm not a big punter, but I did have a little on a long time ago at 40-1.

"When he fell last year in the race I did wonder whether I was ever going to win it."

Replay: Watch the 2005 Grand National in full

Interviews: Ruby Walsh, Willie Mullins and Trevor Hemmings

Analysis: How did your horse fare in the National?

Highlights: The 2005 Grand National

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