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Top 10 Grand National Winners This Century – Do You Agree or Disagree?

Many Clouds

The Grand National’s rich history means debate over which winners supersede others is only natural. At GG, we have ranked our top 10 winners of the race since 2000 below, with a surprise name perhaps coming out on top.

1. Many Clouds

Tiger Roll may have been the history maker, but we never got the opportunity to see if he possessed the class of Many Clouds outside of the National. Even in the big race itself, Oliver Sherwood’s dour, heart-of-a-lion stayer defied a higher mark than the two-time winner, fending off Saint Are to give jockey Leighton Aspell back-to-back wins in the race.

As well as his National success off 11st 9lb, he claimed the Hennessy Gold Cup the same season, as well as the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase. That was, of course, the race he went out on his sword on, defeating the hitherto unbeaten Thistlecrack in a race charged with emotion. Those levels were just as high at Aintree, when demonstrating enormous courage to hold on off his big weight.

2. Tiger Roll

He is a modern National hero who so many took to their hearts for being diminutive and determined. Unlike virtually any other horse in history he made both Cheltenham and Aintree his home, winning four times at the Festival and, of course, twice in the Grand National. By the last fence in 2019, almost everyone watching wanted him to win.

My problem with ranking him as the number one is that the handicapper seemingly wanted him to win it as well. He received just a 9lb rise between victories, and though his second win carved a place into National folklore, it was possibly done without having been duly rated for his first success, regardless of what Michael or Eddie O’Leary might say.

3. Hedgehunter

Hedgehunter roared home in the 2005 Grand National, giving Ruby Walsh a second victory in the race, and Willie Mullins a first.

It is soon to be the 20th anniversary of his victory, but even if Willie Mullins records a second win in the race this year, it is unlikely his winner will do so in quite the same fashion as Hedgehunter. So good was his victory, that the handicapper put him up 16lb for it, although he soon justified that by proving borderline Grade 1 class.

The following season he was runner-up in two top level races including being beaten just 2½ lengths at 16/1 in the 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup. He was second in the National three weeks later when defending his crown off a mark 12lb higher (in the days Irish runners actually got pounds back from the handicapper) and ranks a genuine Grand National great. Few have won the race more comfortably.

4. Neptune Collonges

Given he was rated 174 at his best and won two Punchestown Gold Cups and an Irish Gold Cup, as well as finishing just a short head behind Kauto Star in the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup, it may feel harsh having Neptune Collonges at four only. However, by the time he won the National, he was rated 157 and was nearing the end of a glorious career, going out with a bang when passing Sunnyhillboy quite literally in the shadow of the post.

5. Don’t Push It

Don’t Push It will forever be the horse who ended AP McCoy’s Grand National hoodoo and effectively crown him Sports Personality Of The Year in the process. But he was a top horse in his own right, winning the 2010 edition off a mark of 153 with a decent amount in hand. Whisper it quietly, but it’s likely most jockeys would have won on him that day, with the greatest of respect to the best jump jockey of all time.

6. Comply Or Die

Comply Or Die landed the spoils in 2008 before finishing second in the 2009 Grand National.

One of multiple horses to follow up his victory by filling the places, Comply Or Die was also a Grade 2 winning novice chaser before finding his niche in staying handicaps. Going off joint favourite, he decisively defeated the grey King John’s Castle and found just 100/1 shot Mon Mome scooting into the distance ahead of him the following season off 15lb higher.

7. Noble Yeats

It may be early days given he is only a nine-year-old having another crack at the race this year, but it seems fair to rank Noble Yeats in the top ten of Grand National heroes this century already. Regardless of your thoughts on the difficulty of the modern National, winning it on just his eights chase start was some going and fourth last year just four weeks after filling the same place in the Gold Cup highlights there is quality to go with his tenacity.

8. Amberleigh House

Though there may be a few classier horses who miss out in the top ten at the expense of Amberleigh House, it would be remiss not to include a horse who successfully jumped 245 of the famous fences across 11 outings over them in five Grand Nationals, five Becher Chases and a Topham Chase. Only twice did he fail to complete, while he got his nose in front at the third time of asking in the big one aged 12, giving Ginger McCain a fourth win after Red Rum’s ‘70s hat-trick.

9. Mon Mome

100/1 shot Mon Mome emerged from a packed field to rout his opposition in the 2009 renewal.

It is easily forgotten in the Mon Mome story that after he secured his 100/1 upset in 2009, he went on to place in the following season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup at 50/1. Always talented, though not always consistent, he fell four out in the 2010 Grand National when still in with a chance of doubling up, and he deserves credit as a better National winner than often remembered.

10. One For Arthur

A come-from-behind winner in 2017, One For Arthur’s later career story is one of what might have been. He endured 609 days off the track after his National success, preventing him the chance to go back-to-back, but still managed sixth when past his best two years later. His success paved the way for Corach Rambler to double the hauls of both Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox.