Grand National 2014: Pineau De Re draws clear for victory at 25-1PICTURE: Getty Images
Pineau De Re triumphs in 2014 Grand National
Report: Aintree, Saturday
Crabbie's Grand National (Grade 3) 7yo+, 4m3 1/2f
PINEAU DE RE landed a Grand National shock for jockey Leighton Aspell and trainer Dr Richard Newland, coming home clear of Balthazar King, Double Seven and Alvarado before a sell-out crowd at Aintree.
A total of 18 finished the race, but despite a chaotic opening circuit replete with falls galore all 40 runners and all 40 riders returned safe and sound after an all-action running of the famously demanding race.
Pineau De Re finished full of running despite the marathon trip, staying on relentlessly to the line for Aspell after jumping the last of 30 fences with a narrow lead over a small pursuing pack.
It was a remarkable victory for both trainer and jockey. Aspell, 37, actually retired from the saddle in July 2007 and spent time working as an assistant to the former trainer John Dunlop before making a surprise comeback in April 2009.
At the time he said he feared he would regret his decision to quit in the future, but it is unlikely he had in mind a victory in the world's most famous steeplechase, not to mention his share of the £561,300 first-place prize-money.
Ryan Mania, who partnered Auroras Encore to victory last year, had also returned from a spell in retirement.
"It's a wonderful day, this is what we do it for," said Aspell. "I've been watching the National since I was a very young boy. As much as you enjoy sharing everyone's success, you crave a bit too. To get a chance to ride in the National is a great thing, and to get on one with a chance is even better."
National hero: Leighton Aspell salutes the crowd after victoryPICTURE: Getty Images
Dr Richard Newland, a qualified GP and entrepreneur, has just 12 horses in training and runs his racing operation alongside large medical businesses. Yet he has established himself as one of the game's most erudite and shrewd operators, mixing it with the sport's biggest names despite his limited firepower.
Many trainers and owners spent a lifetime attempting to win the Grand National. Incredibly, however, this was Newland and owner John Provan's first runner in the race.
"For us to have a National runner was a dream but to have a National winner is unreal," said Newland. "Leighton felt that the horse needed to be held up, he had a plan and delivered it well. He had a fine second on Supreme Glory here all those years ago and as he is having a renaissance and with his confidence so high I thought maybe he could go one better."
Provan added: "We have brought everybody today and we were all cheering. It is fantastic, absolutely fantastic. We love taking on the big guys. It is hard to get a good jockey when you want one and today Leighton has done brilliantly."
Trainer Dr Richard Newland celebrates Pineau De Re's victoryPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Many changes have been made to the National in recent years and although the fences still sport their famous names - Valentine's, Becher's Brook, the Chair among them - they have been made significantly less dangerous to horse and rider.
Nevertheless, after a brief delay for the seemingly obligatory false start, the field was thinned down considerably over the first few fences as sloppy jumping was punished. Twirling Magnet fell at the first, Burton Port was out at the second and Big Shu was gone by the third.
Over the first circuit many more riders parted company. Of the fancied runners, Long Run fell at Valentine's, Teaforthree was out at the Chair and Tidal Bay unseated at the Canal Turn.
At the halfway stage the remaining field was led by Across The Bay, representing Donald McCain, son of legendary Red Rum trainer Ginger McCain, but his chance was about to evaporate in a freakishly unfortunate manner.
Pineau De Re (centre, white silks) tracks the leaders in the Grand NationalPICTURE: Getty Images
Passing the rammed grandstands he crossed paths with a loose horse and was almost brought to a complete halt, losing about 40 lengths in the process.
That left the likes of Rocky Creek, Double Seven, Chance Du Roy and Mr Moonshine among a rapidly depleting group of runners with a say in the outcome.
And it was Pineau De Re, who had never raced over a trip longer than 3m4f before - almost a mile shorter than the National - who came galloping up under an ice-cool ride by Aspell.
He took the last with a narrow lead and pulled away on the run-in, heading past the Elbow with a widening lead over his pursuers, and came home in splendid isolation to spark wild celebrations among his connections and supporters.