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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Saturday, 10 April 2010 12:15 UK

Grand National as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times BST)

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By Oliver Brett

1708: OK folks, that's your lot. Thanks for joining me and I hope plenty of you had a profitable day, or at least an enjoyable one.

1704: Just before I go, I should add that Hello Bud was fifth with his schoolboy jockey Sam Twiston-Davies on board while the last horse to cross the line was Preists Leap in 15th place. Everything else was either pulled up, unseated its rider or fell but we are not aware of any fatalities.

1701: Clare Balding reckons £10m has been lost by the country's bookmakers. Quite apart from the serious players who hit late and hard with their big bets on Don't Push It, so many once-a-year players will have made small profits with each-way bets on the placed horses - and all those winnings add up.

You can watch the closing stages of the race if you're in the UK.

1654: Here's some more from that man Tony McCoy: "My trainer put me on the right one if truth be known. I asked him to toss a coin and I think he tossed it a few times until he got Don't Push It. I couldn't have picked it, but Jonjo was very adamant and I didn't argue with him. If you get enough goes at something and you keep going, once you're in there you've always got a chance. "I'm delighted for JP (McManus) as he's the best supporter this game has ever had and ever will have, and I'm very privileged to ride a Grand National winner in his colours."

1648: One newspaper uncharitably wrote off McCoy yesterday, saying he had chosen the weakest of JP McManus's four horses. There was a little bit of surprise that he went with Don't Push It ahead of Can't Buy Time, but the 10-year-old has been very consistent over the years, had only fallen twice in his career and stayed on well in his only previous long-distance race.

1642: If you'd seen the amount of sweat pouring off Don't Push It at the start you wouldn't have given this one much of a chance. What a brilliant ride from McCoy, who gradually pushed his horse into position and just had enough in the tank to see off Black Apalachi, who was only carrying one pound more than the winner. State of Play again shows his liking for these fences, with Big Fella Thanks - who at one point looked a possible winner - staying on for fourth (and I don't think Ruby Walsh would have made much difference.)

Bookie woe
1641: News on BBC1 that the bookies have taken a massive caning with all four of the placed horses well backed, and Chronicle Bookmakers accepting one bet of £5,000 on the winner at 16-1, netting the lucky punter £80,000. That picture is the "bookie woe" graphic.

1638: Owner JP McManus: "Frank Berry found the horse. He's been a difficult horse over the years and a difficult one to keep right, but it was a great effort on behalf of Jonjo and all his team."

1635: Trainer Jonjo O'Neill: "Brilliant, fantastic, I thought it would never happen to me but am delighted it's happened and I'm delighted for [owner] JP McManus, and AP [McCoy] and all the lads. It doesn't get much better."

1632: Tony McCoy tells BBC1: "It's everything to win the Grand National. I have won lots of great races but I am supposed to be a great rider and to not have won it was a big gap in the CV. I am delighted."

John Smith's Grand National
1. Don't Push It (Tony McCoy) 10-1jf
2. Black Apalachi (Denis O'Regan) 14-1
3. State of Play (Paul Moloney) 16-1
4. Big Fella Thanks (Barry Geraghty) 10-1jf

1626: McCoy, the 14-time champion jockey, finally wins the Grand National at the 15th attempt for trainer Jonjo O'Neill who never quite won it as a jockey. McCoy is in tears.

1626: Don't Push It is being chased home by Black Apalachi but MCCOY AND DON'T PUSH IT win.

1626: Black Apalachi is joined by Big Fella Thanks and Don't Push It.

1625: Don't Push It and Tony McCoy are making their bid now - sure to get a place at least one feels.

1624: Black Apalachi is in the lead now with Big Fella Thanks making up ground and Snowy Morning in good shape. Six fences to go.

1623: Conna Castle is still in the lead with Hello Bud travelling well, backstage unseating his rider and Royal Rosa a casualty.

1622: Around 20 are still in the race but The Package has a huge amount of ground to make up, so too Ballyfitz. Flintoff is last.

1622: Irish Raptor falls at the 14th.

1621: Irish Raptor and Ballyholland are in good shape approaching the 13th but Conna Castle is still the leader.

1620: Big Fella Thanks is about fifth with most contenders still in decent shape.

1620: Can't Buy Time is out of the race as Black Apalachi is prominent.

1619: Made in Taipan falls but at Becher's nothing falls.

1619: Conna Castle is prominent with Comply or Die travelling well. My Will is a faller.

1619: Eric's Charm is a faller as Hello Bud leads.

1618: And they're off but King Johns Castle will take no part in the race.

1616: We have a false start. They'll have to have another go.

1614: Timmy Murphy has dismounted from Comply or Die and Tom Scudamore does the same with Madison du Berlais. - just briefly, to take the weight off their horses' back for a minute or two. Don't Push It is "drenched in sweat", according to Rishi Persad on BBC1.

1612: An astonishing gamble has made Don't Push It, Tony McCoy's mount, JOINT FAVOURITE at 10-1 with Big Fella Thanks.

1611: Just four minutes until the starter will lift the tape, and then it's 30 huge fences and four and a half miles between one horse and glory.

1610: Sam Twiston-Davies looks ridiculously young on Hello Bud and just a tiny bit nervous heading down to the start.

1608: Snowy Morning is a fancied horse we haven't mentioned much, but he looks in good form heading down to the start with David Casey on board.

1605: Joe Lively is really impressing Richard Dunwoody, that might explain why this horse is being well backed. Tricky Trickster looks keen, but not too keen - a nice balance - with Richard Johnson picking up that unexpected ride.

Honest Frank
1603: The BBC's Honest Frank on Twitter: "Race handicapper Phil Smith tells me some Grand National contenders are 'well in' after performing well since the weights for the handicap chase were announced in February. He says six horses would carry more if he was looking at the race now. They are: Vic Venturi, Black Apalachi, Big Fella Thanks, Eric's Charm, Arbor Surpreme and The Package."

1600: Andrew Flintoff on the horse he part-owns: "I was gifted half of the horse to us as a wedding present, and the owner's son asked: "Can I name him Flintoff?" That's how the name came about."

1558: Dream Alliance has gone from 40-1 to 20-1, another to be seriously gambled is Joe Lively, 66-1 into 33-1. This really seems to be a National for huge bets on outsiders, although there is some real concern in the ring that no horses are actually drifting. Are the bookies playing fair?

1556: As all 40 jockeys file out for the race, I bring important news for those relying on the BBC 5 Live iPLayer audio link. Please manually refresh your page to get the new link.

1553: Jockey Paul Moloney who rides State of Play: "Same conditions as last year so if we can just get him into a nice rhythm we'll take it from there. You wouldn't be human if you weren't getting a few butterflies. Last year, crossing the Melling Road I genuinely thought I was going to win. Hopefully I will get the same feeling this year."

1549: A number of horses have halved in price as punters look to land a big-priced winner. Flintoff was 80-1 and is now into 40-1, Beat The Boys 80-1 into 40-1 My Will 40-1 into 20-1.

Honest Frank
1543: The BBC's Honest Frank on Twitter: "Big Fella Thanks drifts in #GrandNational betting after jockey drama with money coming for Snowy Morning, who was third in 2008"

1541: Flintoff is still being backed on the course, allegedly because of Peter Kay's tip. We're barely 30 minutes away from the start now.

1539: Quick BBC interview with Richard Johnson: "It's fantastic to get a lovely ride like Tricky Trickster but you have to think about Ruby. He's had a horrific fall and I hope he isn't too badly hurt."

1536: The answer for Chris and Pop is that trainers enter their horses several months before the race, and they have to pay money to do that. They have to keep paying money at subsequent entry stages and then the 40 who actually start the race is finally decided according to the weights given to them by the official handicapper. The ones that make it are the top-rated horses still left in the race. Around 25 horses missed the cut this time, and for many years we have had a maximum field of 40.

1534: There's plenty of things about racing that confuse people, such as Chris and Pop Hansen, who have sent us this e-mail: "Can you tell us how a horse is chosen to run in the Grand National? We can't find the answer anywhere. We are watching the BBC Grand National now so if you could help we would be sooooo grateful."

1533: A late swoop from From Dawn to Dusk, ridden by Richard Johnson, gives him victory in the three-mile John Smith's Handicap Chase after a race in which the fast pace was too much for a number of runners, who were pulled up. Second is Dom D'Orgeval and there's a photo for third.

1529: Here's an e-mail from Stuart Gray: "Absolutely gutted for Ruby, fingers crossed all is well, takes some of the shine off the national him not riding."

1526: They're under way in the John Smith's Handicap Chase.

1525: In the confusion of the last few minutes, we had a technical issue, so please refresh your browser to pick up all the new information.

1522: So that sorts that out. Geraghty on the favourite, Johnson on 16-1 shot Tricky Trickster, who disappointed in the Gold Cup but was at one stage the leading fancy for this race.

1518: Big Fella Thanks' trainer Paul Nicholls: "Ruby's broken his left arm, which is not a good result today. Richard Johnson didn't have a ride today, we had him on standby so Barry Geraghty rides Big Fella Thanks and Richard will be on Tricky Trickster."

1516: Nigel Twiston-Davies reckons he can line up a big challenge with Khyber Kim in next year's Champion Hurdle: "We now have the second best two-mile hurdler in the country and I hope next year we might have the best."

1512: Those of you with Big Fella Thanks betting slips should not panic. His likely substitute, Richard Johnson, is an extremely accomplished rider. Latest news on Walsh is that he has a suspected broken arm.

1510: Even as I finish typing, Ruby Walsh is CONFIRMED TO MISS his ride in the Grand National.

1507: Ruby is being stretchered away from the course at the moment. Nick Scholfield takes the ride on Tatenen in the next and it is looking increasingly likely that Richard Johnson, who came here assuming he would be a spectator for the Grand National, will take the ride on Big Fella Thanks in the big race.

1503: No news yet about Ruby Walsh's condition. The feeling is that Richard Johnson might get the spare ride on Big Fella Thanks if Ruby is not able to take the ride. He's also due to sit on Tatenen in the next race.

606 graphic
1502: Carl on the 606 messageboard: "My Will has been overlooked and here's three more that have been overlooked in the betting, Hello Bud (Scottish National winner), Eric's Charm (2 wins this year), Cerium (last year's 5th)"

1458: Muirhead was second, with the favourite Zaynar third.

1456: Won In The Dark trampled all over Ruby Walsh after he fell off Celestial Halo, and everyone with a betting slip for Big Fella Thanks will be worried now. We'll keep you updated on Ruby's condition.

1454: Khyber Kim capitalises after Celestial Halo falls late on, and the runner-up in the Champion Hurdle wins the Dick Francis Aintree Hurdle under Paddy Brennan's ride for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

1450: Of the more fancied contenders, the horse that came fourth last year (and may have done better with some more luck in running) is State of Play, and he is also being solidly supported at about 14-1. His trainer Evan Williams tells BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'm very nervous, up tight, nauseous, wishing I was at home, anywhere else but here! I'm nervous for the horse and I won't be happy until he comes back in one piece and is safely back in the stable."

1448: My Will and Flintoff, whose part owner Andrew Flintoff is at the course, are among the outsiders attracting some big punts for the National, off at 1615. The sunshine has turned a bit hazy at Aintree but it's still warm. Comic Peter Kay called it "roasting" on air a few minutes ago. He presents one of the trophies later.

1443: Our next race is the Dick Francis Aintree Hurdle, the second most valuable race of the day and some names that will be familiar to Cheltenham fans - Celestial Halo, Khyber Kim, Zaynar. One of those trio will probably win this one, named for the first time in honour of Dick Francis, who died earlier this year aged 90.

606 graphic
1440: Hawick on the 606 messageboard: "I think My Will is the forgotten horse today, 12 lengths third last year having made some jumping mistakes; if you fancy Mon Mome you have to fancy this one."

1432: I wonder if that win for Tataniano has persuaded people to have their National bet on the favourite Big Fella Thanks, also trained by Paul Nicholls who has never won this race. Saying that, when Seagram won in 1991 Nicholls did most of the training although David Barons was credited with the win. The Big Fella is now as short as 8-1 with one bookmaker.

1426: Here's a racecourse update from the BBC's Honest Frank: "Willy Twiston-Davies, 15, whose brother Sam is on Hello Bud in the Grand National, tells me he won twice at Cheltenham racecourse on Thursday - in pony races. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Sam prepared for the big race by donning his jogging gear and running two-and-a-half miles around the Aintree circuit on Saturday. Won't he be tired? "I'm pretty fit, and used to do cross-country at school. It gives you a real feel for what the ground is like," said Sam, who weighs 9st 5lb."

1423: I've already touched on the remarkable story of Dream Alliance, and here's a BBC Radio 5 live interview with Brian Vokes, one of those involved in the syndicate which owns the nine-year-old Grand National hope: "I'm a bit nervous. I've got to stop my knees knocking. I thought it would be an achievement to get this horse on a racetrack, but the Grand National… I suppose the little man has his day sometimes."

1420: Tataniano was pulled out of his race at Cheltenham at the last minute, but gave a commanding performance here to win at 100-30, well clear of the favourite Osana, with Archie Boy third.

1418: Well that's a very easy win for Tataniano, under Ruby Walsh for the Paul Nicholls team in the Maghul Novices' Chase. Graham Lee has taken a heavy fall off Bedlam Boy but I'm sure he'll be OK to take the ride on The Package.

Form pointer
1414: Having another look at the betting markets for the National, and William Hill are apparently offering 11-1 about the favourite Big Fella Thanks, but it's 9s or 10s everywhere else. They are also the only firm offering 14-1 about the next-best horse The Package, which is 12s with the other layers. Elsewhere, State of Play, the Welsh-trained horse which was fourth last year, is attracting quite a lot of cash now and is 14-1 with most bookies.

Cornelius Lysaght
1412: BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght on Twitter: "With Ross County beating Celtic in Scottish Cup, #Grandnational winner may have to go some in Most Romantic Sports Story Of Day Stakes."

1410: Anyone who saw The Package flying home in second place at Cheltenham last month will have to respect Graham Lee's chances on that one (See e-mail below). Only negative is the lack of seven-year-old winners in the past.

1408: I have an e-mail from Angola of all places, from Derek Cunningham, who flies home to Fife on Tuesday: "l've not been able to put a bet on the National but l have taken part in a sweep held at work. lm hoping for a 1-2 with The Package and Royal Rosa."

Twitter
1403: peterjharvey on Twitter: Who "upbraided" the Beeb for saying Aintree is in Liverpool? It IS in Liverpool. No question."

1359: I am quite a fan of the Nigel Twiston-Davies team, but even I think Ballyfitz has an awful lot to do this time (see Jason's text below). Still, what does anyone know with that 100-1 winner last year?

1357: Here is a text message from Jason in a funny place called Costa Birmingham: "I am going with the Midlands all the way this weekend! Ballyfitz for the national, my beloved Villa to beat Chelsea and Lee Westwood for the Masters. By the way Ballyfitz even wears the famous claret and blue."

1355: Our archive team have dug up a whole host of wonderful archive video of past Grand Nationals. One of my favourites is Corbiere winning under Ben de Haan for Jenny Pitman in 1983 in what I expect will be very similar conditions to today. From that video, you can click to Aldaniti, Red Rum, Mon Mome. You decide!

1352: Duke of Lucca came second and Najaf was third. All results can be found on the BBC results service.

1350: That chap who had that big bet on Peddlers Cross has just collected £10,000, a fine winning ride by Jason Maguire for Donald McCain.

1345: They're off in the Mersey Novices' Hurdle.

1343: We're just two minutes from the start of the first race, and news that Peddlers Cross has attracted a £10,000 on-course bet at even money.

1340: If you've got a second before nipping to the bookies have a gander at the BBC Liverpool site for Ladies' Day photos, jockey cam, panoramic racecourse views and so on.

1337: Here's the best odds currently advertised on the internet: 10-1 Big Fella Thanks, 13-1 The Package, 14-1 Snowy Morning, Mon Mome, 16-1 Arbor Supreme, State of Play, Black Apalachi, 18-1 Tricky Trickster, 20-1 bar. Interestingly, none of the newspaper tipsters think Mon Mome is going to follow up his stunning 100-1 success from last year.

1334: There are around 80,000 fans today at the Merseyside racecourse. We were upbraided the other day by saying Aintree is in Liverpool. Anyway - another number for you. David Williams of Ladbrokes said this morning up to £300m will be staked on the big race. I make that almost a fiver for every man, woman and child in the land.

1327: Harry Skelton, who rides Niche Market, on BBC 5 live: "You've got to try to get your horse in as good a position as you can and get every fence jumped. It's my first national ride. I've chatted to a few people and they've told me it's the 39 other horses around you you have to be aware of, so try to get a bit of room, get in your own world and hunt for the first circuit and then start creeping into it on the second if you can."

1323: A lovely little interview with Ginger McCain by BBC1's Richard Pitman: "I miss the craic, they call me Mr Grumpy now, but to see the streams and streams of people all three days... There were so many good-looking girls here yesterday I felt like making a comeback." Ginger, of course, trained the legendary Red Rum and his son Donald sends out Cloudy Lane today.

1321: Don't be frightened to get involved, whether by e-mail, text message or on 606. You can even send me a tweet if you really want.

Honest Frank
1319: The BBC's Honest Frank on Twitter: "A torrent of camera clicks as Coleen Rooney arrives at #Aintree for #GrandNational day. She is wearing a flowing pink dress. Hair tied up."

1316: I gather the top "trending" horse on Twitter is Black Apalachi. But according to John Parrott on BBC1 the horse is drifting a bit from 14-1 to 16-1 with Snowy Morning going the other way, from 14-1 to 12-1. I have my doubts about Black Apalachi - hasn't finished this race in two attempts.

606 graphic
1314: Supreme Arkle on the 606 messageboard: "I have backed the same four as last year... State Of Play, Snowy Morning, Comply Or Die and Black Apalachi with a win bet on the winning horse carrying 11st or more as the weights are more compressed nowadays."

1311: A reminder that the first of five races televised on BBC1 and HD is at 1345 BST, with the Grand National itself off at 1615.

Mick Fitzgerald
Sunny weather
1308: Mick Fitzgerald on BBC1: "It's not too soft, it's not too firm. It's perfect jumping ground and for me today it's The Package." The weather really is stunning by the way. This from the Met Office for the Merseyside area: "A fine dry and sunny day. Winds should be light and it will feel pleasantly warm. Maximum Temperature: 18C (64F)."

1306: On top of Hello Bud is a 17-year-old jockey with half en eye on his A-levels, we will also see the best lady rider for many a year with a genuine chance of winning (on Character Building), and then there's my personal favourite - the horse born on a disused allotment on top of an old slagheap who flirted with death before being saved by pioneering surgery. Dream Alliance returned from all that to win the 2009 Welsh National.

1304: Anyway, that's enough nonsense from me for the time being. It's not as if we are short of potential fairytales this year, by the way.

1302: So, have you checked out the State of Play to find the Dream Alliance of horse and jockey that will land you The Package of cash you need to brighten up your day further? It's not easy to pick a winner in such a Niche Market but it's always a Character Building exercise.

1258: Did I, perhaps, forget something? The 163rd running of the most famous horse race in the world, that's what, and today Aintree is lit up by the sort of spring sunshine that might even rustle a smile from Victor Meldrew.

1255: Don't you love this time of year? In a sporting context alone, we can bask in untold excitement - the start of the cricket season, the climax of the football season and the beauty of Augusta.




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see also
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Grand National runners and riders
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What A Friend wins for Ferguson
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Grand National headline makers?
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Teenager's dream National ride
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BBC racing coverage
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