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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 April 2006, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Madden hailed after National win
Niall Madden celebrates his Grand National win on Numbersixvalverde
Madden was in good form in his first time over the National fences
Jockey Niall 'Slippers' Madden had a Grand National debut to remember with victory on Numbersixvalverde in the 159th running at Aintree on Saturday.

The 20-year-old had a patient ride, bringing his mount to the front at the last fence and holding off last year's winner Hedgehunter by six lengths.

"I had a dream run all the way around," said Madden.

"He jumped brilliantly and travelled amazing, better than he has ever travelled, in fact."

Madden is named because of the nickname of 'Boots' given to his father - also called Niall - during his riding career.

"I walked the course with dad before racing and he told me to just hunt around on the first circuit and not to be in a rush," he said.

"When I got up to the leaders, I knew that if I carried on going well I would have a real chance because my mount is so tough."

Numbersixvalverde is named after the Algarve holiday home belonging to the horse's owner, civil engineer Bernard Carroll.

Trainer Martin Brassil was also full of praise for the jockey, who was celebrating his first win on British soil in his first time over the National fences.

"Niall gave him a great ride and never panicked - it is all hard to believe really," he said. "If you had written the script it could not have been better.

"It is great for Niall as he is a fabulous young jockey and he has got such a great relationship with that horse.

"You would never have thought this was his first ride over the fences. He has ridden the perfect race. He just hunted him round for the first circuit and then got him into the race on the second.

"The rain on Friday night would have been a help as it would have deadened the ground a little bit and on better ground the others might have been able to quicken up better than he did."

Willie Mullins, trainer of Hedgehunter, was far from downcast with the effort of his 10-year-old, who was bidding to become the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to land back-to-back Nationals.

"I was absolutely delighted with him, I thought for a long way we were going to do it," he said.

"I didn't think we were beaten until they got to the Elbow and as they straightened up after the Elbow though I knew the game was up, I was just praying we held on to second place then.

"In the end giving 18lb away on that ground just proved too much and it shows what a special horse Red Rum was to win the race three times.

It has given me the bug and I cannot wait for some more
Nina Carberry

"It's great for Martin Brassil to win it though and my congratulations go to him."

Siblings Paul and Nina Carberry, on Sir OJ and Forest Gunner, made history as the first ever brother and sister to ride in the National.

Nina had the better of the family's fortunes with ninth place on her National debut while Paul, who won the race in 1999 on Bobbyjo, was out of luck on Sir OJ who fell.

Nina said: "That was absolutely brilliant. I loved every minute of it. It has given me the bug and I cannot wait for some more.

"He got a bit tired in the ground but that was normal for him and he is 12 now. It was great fun to get round."


SEE ALSO
Numbersixvalverde wins National
08 Apr 06 |  Horse Racing
Grand National lowdown
08 Apr 06 |  Horse Racing
Grand National photos
08 Apr 06 |  Photo Galleries


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