‘This is our sport and I love it’

 

In the 175th running of the Grand National, the world’s most popular horserace, it was Corach Rambler who emerged as the victorious champion. Despite initial delays caused by animal rights protesters, who failed to stop the race but managed to delay its start, the race eventually took place, and Corach Rambler, ridden by jockey Derek Fox and trained by Lucinda Russell, triumphed with brilliance and bravery.

Six years after winning the Grand National with One For Arthur, Russell and Fox once again scored a win for Scotland. However, their joy was tempered by the tragic loss of Hill Sixteen, who lost his life following a fall at the first fence. The race had been delayed due to protesters managing to get on the track, and some even attempted to attach themselves to the fences. Despite these challenges, the race eventually commenced, and Corach Rambler emerged as the victor.

Fox, who had been cleared to ride only at lunchtime due to a shoulder injury, rode Corach Rambler to perfection, allowing the horse to trail behind outsider Mister Coffey before making a decisive move at the final fence to take the lead and win the race comfortably. Corach Rambler, one of only 13 British-trained runners in the race, crossed the finish line two and a quarter lengths ahead of Vanillier, with Gaillard Du Mesnil and last year’s winner Noble Yeats taking third and fourth place.

Fox expressed his admiration for Corach Rambler, “I just let him bowl away,” said Fox. “He’s an electric jumper and so intelligent. He was in front for a long time but he won so easily. He’s a marvellous horse.”

Russell, too, was ecstatic about the victory. “That was just amazing,” declared Russell, immediately expressing a desire to comment on the scenes that took place before the race.

“Those guys that went out on the course to protest think it’s about horse welfare,” she said. “That horse loves the sport. He loves everything he does and he is kept in the best conditions. I’m so delighted he can run in a race like that and perform like that. He has now got greatness – and that’s what he deserves.

“In our hearts, Corach Rambler is just the best horse – and now he is in the public’s hearts as well.”

Russell added: “I know how important it is to win the National. I know how it changed my life with Arthur and what reverence Arthur was held in. For Corach to now achieve that is just fantastic.

“It’s all about the horses. For me, it’s not about betting, although I did back him – and quite a lot, actually, ante-post. It’s not about, though. It’s about Corach.

“That horse has been amazing. I’m delighted for myself, delighted for the team, delighted for Scu because he has done all the work with him, delighted for Derek, who has had a hard time and a problem with his shoulder, and I’m delighted for the fantastic owners.

“But you know what? It’s about Corach. He is just amazing. He took to those fences brilliantly, he understand them and he worked it out. He loved it.”

Scudamore, who had done all the work with the horse, emphasised that the safety and well-being of the horse were paramount, and winning was secondary.

“You shouldn’t get so attached to these beautiful creatures but you do,” said Scudamore. “He’ll be looked after for the rest of his life. The fact he is safe and sound means more than winning.”

Cameron Sword, one of the owners of Corach Rambler, at the age of 21, expressed his elation and praised the horse’s performance.

“I’m over the moon,” he said. “What a horse! I’m lost for words.”

Sword then gave his view on those who had tried to stop the race.

“How can you be protesting against horseracing when your protests were making the horses wait out in the sun for longer,” he said. “It makes no sense. They can do one. This is our sport and I love it.”

 

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