Sam Waley-Cohen is set to step into retirement on the back of Grand National success after riding 50-1 shot Noble Yeats to glory at Aintree on Saturday.
Noble Yeats defied his outsider status to help Waley-Cohen become the first amateur jockey to win the Grand National since Marcus Armytage steered Mr Frisk home in 1990.
Waley-Cohen held off the challenge of favourite Any Second Now in a hugely exciting finish, with Delta Work in third and Santini coming in fourth.
“It’s the dream come true, I can’t speak – it’s just fabulous,” he said. “I feel like quoting Shakespeare – my cup runneth over. I’m really emotional.
“I can’t say anything, I can’t believe it.
“I have to say thank yous as it’s my last ever ride to Dad [Robert Waley-Cohen, winning owner] – he’s had unwavering belief and love for 23 years. It’s been a love affair. That’s beyond words, it’s a fairytale and a fantasy. I’m full of love and happiness and gratefulness.”
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Saturday’s seven-race card kicked off with the EFT Construction Handicap Hurdle when Party Business edged out Ilikedwayurthinkin.
Three Stripe Life came good in the 14:25 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, landing his first triumph since November 2021, and trainer Gordon Elliott is excited to send his charge chasing in the future.
“He jumped very well and he’s a chaser for next year. He’s entered at Punchestown but he’s been busy enough and we might just finish it off. He’ll go chasing next year – he’s bred to be a chaser and looks like a chaser,” Elliott said.
Elliott also had plenty to celebrate in the 15:35 when Sire Du Berlais topped the field in the JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle.
Gentleman De Mee (10/1 2023 Queen Mother Champion Chase) delivered for Willie Mullins in the Maghull Novices’ Chase, earning some revenge over Arkle winner Edwardstone (14/1) in the process.
Mullins’ Blue Lord could only seal third when battling with Edwardstone at Cheltenham last month, however, Gentleman De Mee proved his quality.
“He’d been working very well but you don’t think you’re going to come and beat the Arkle winner. We were fresh coming here and we were hoping our freshness might be the right card to play and it looked like that,” Said Mullins.
Jack Quinlan was on board as Lookaway claimed the Weatherbys Standard Open to close out Saturday’s card.
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