Irish raider claims emphatic National win

Last updated at 16:57 08 April 2006


Irish raider Numbersixvalverde won the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree.

Niall 'Slippers' Madden crept into the race on the second circuit aboard the 11-1 chance and took the advantage over the final fence to beat Hedgehunter, sent off the 5-1 joint-favourite, by six lengths.

Clan Royal, the latter's market rival, was third under Tony McCoy, with Nil Desperandum fourth.

Numbersixvalverde, who is trained in County Kildare by Martin Brassil, was completing a famous double having won last year's Irish Grand National.

The 10-year-old was moving ominously well when arriving on the scene and the winner looked as if it would come from either Brassil's charge, Hedgehunter, Clan Royal or Inca Trail turning for home.

Last year's winner Hedgehunter was still on the bridle after jumping the last but his burden of 11st 12lb told and the Gold Cup runner-up, conceding 18lb to his conqueror, had to settle for a gallant second.

A jubilant Madden told BBC Sport: "It's brilliant. I had a dream run the whole way round and he jumped super. I wasn't sure I'd won until I crossed the line though.

"This means everything to me. It's magic. I've tried to imagine winning this race since I was a boy but I couldn't. It's magic."

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