Ted Walsh paid a fulsome tribute to Sam and Robert Waley-Cohen, despite admitting it was a “sickener” to see Any Second Now place for a second successive year in the Randox Grand National at Aintree.
The Emmet Mullins-trained Noble Yeats proved too strong for Walsh’s 15-2 favourite on what was amateur Sam Waley-Cohen’s final ride before retiring from the saddle, sporting his father’s brown and orange silks to victory.
Walsh lauded the father-and-son team and felt Any Second Now – who was an eight-length third last year – had just failed to see out the trip quite as well as the winner this time around, beaten two and a quarter lengths.
He said: “To get that close it’s a sickener, but equally it’s a great out for the Waley-Cohen family, and seeing the father going down the track to meet his son in tears.
“Mark (Walsh, jockey) said he missed the break, but that he jumped and travelled well. I thought jumping the last he might get there, but the other horse has outstayed us from the elbow. I’ve seen a lot happen from the elbow, including Crisp getting caught by Red Rum.
“Unfortunately for us the post is another 100 yards away, and that’s where you get paid.”
Delta Work, who beat dual National winner Tiger Roll in his Cheltenham Festival swansong last month, was a 20-length third for Gordon Elliott on his first try at the Aintree fences.
The trainer said: “I thought he was a bit novicey, but then he crept into it. We were close enough if good enough and I was very happy with his third finish.”
Santini was a further length and a quarter back in fourth, a performance that delighted his handler Polly Gundry, who also hailed the victorious connections.
“This was such an amazing thrill with a beautiful old fashioned horse and I’m so pleased to see him come back.
“To show the courage to avoid the carnage, I feel honoured to train him. He got better and better as the race developed.
“But we are also thrilled for the Waley-Cohens who come from the point-to-point world like us. It’s just a fairytale ending.”
Colin Tizzard’s final National saw him field two runners, with Fiddlerontheroof fifth and Lostintranslation last of the 15 finishers.
He said: “Lostintranslation enjoyed himself and ran well for well over a circuit and Fiddler also took to the fences. He stayed on and has just got tired. I’m delighted with both of them.”