‘For a moment I thought this was going to be it’

 

Nicky Henderson expressed his disappointment after coming close to breaking his 44-year Grand National drought with Mister Coffey, who led for much of the race before eventually finishing eighth.

“I have to say for a moment I thought this was going to be it, which makes it all the harder really, but there you go,” said Henderson. “We know what this game is all about and we’ll have to come back and do it again next year. You can’t do much better than that. He deserved to finish in the first four for what he had done. He jumped from fence to fence and, like Nico said, you did sort of think you were going to get there, but not quite.”

Nico de Boinville, who rode Mister Coffey, had mixed emotions about the performance. “He gave me a fantastic spin and I’m absolutely delighted,” he said. “We can be really proud of him and he’s a true National type. Of course, you start to think when you’re crossing the road like that, but hey-ho it wasn’t to be.”

Vanillier, ridden by Sean Flanagan, finished second, two and a quarter lengths behind the winner, Corach Rambler. Flanagan commented on the race, saying, “I jumped a little slow early and I probably got further back than I wanted to be. He’s a really strong stayer and probably didn’t go forward early enough. But he stayed all the way to the line and jumped really well. I was very happy with him.”

Noble Yeats, defending champion and carrying a 19lb higher mark, ran a gallant race to finish in fourth place, just behind Gaillard Du Mesnil, trained by Willie Mullins. Owner Robert Waley-Cohen had no complaints about Noble Yeats’ performance, stating, “He was carrying an enormous amount of weight and I have absolutely no complaints about how he ran. I thought he finished off really strong, but he had 19lb more than last year and second topweight.”

 

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