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Trust me I’m a Doctor: Pineau strikes in Grand National

Former general practitioner Richard Newland enjoyed the biggest day of his training career, with 25/1 shot Pineau De Re taking the Crabbies Grand National under the cool and calm Leighton Aspell.

The 11yo warmed up for a first crack at the Grand National fences by finishing a fine close up third in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham and despite making the odd blunder over today’s monumental fences, put in a brilliant leap at the final fence before staying on stoutly to the line to score by 5 lengths.

Balthazar King, winner of the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham ran a cracker to be second, with the A.P McCoy ridden Double Seven taking third.  The Fergal O’Brien trained Alvarado came from a long way back to finish fourth, with Rocky Creek failing slightly to get home back in fifth.

Aspell, who had given up riding a few years ago, said: “It’s a wonderful day, this is what we do it for.

“I’ve been watching the National since I was a very young boy.

“As much as you enjoy sharing everyone’s success, you crave a bit too.

“To get a chance to ride in the National is a great thing, and to get on one with a chance is even better.”

Aspell went on: “I was very conscious that I didn’t want to be in front too soon over four and a half miles.

“He’s a small horse, so he finds jumping hard enough.

“When I got a bit of daylight I knew I’d be fine because that was my only worry, a lack of daylight.

“Once he was in daylight he really enjoyed that part of the race.”

Trainer Newland, who trains a small string out of Claines in Worcester said: “John (Provan, owner) is one of my oldest racing friends, we’ve been coming her for over 20 years, before I started training – he had horses before me and taught me a lot about it.

“For us to have one running in the National was a dream and to win it is unspeakable really.

“We have one running in a selling handicap at Market Rasen tomorrow!

“Leighton is a top-class jockey, he had a plan and delivered it superbly.

“One of the reasons I put him on the horse was because he’s had a bit of a comeback season, he was second here on Supreme Glory all those years ago and I just thought maybe, with his confidence high, he could go one better.”

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