Tony McCoy was denied a fairytale victory in the Crabbie’s Grand National on Shutthefrontdoor as Leighton Aspell grabbed the limelight for the second year in succession on Many Clouds.
Aspell, victorious on Pineau De Re 12 months ago, clinched glory for trainer Oliver Sherwood on a glorious day at Aintree.
The jubilant jockey was never too far off the pace and Many Clouds, winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury earlier in the season and sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, jumped with aplomb throughout.
For a long way it appeared Shutthefrontdoor could provide McCoy with a dream second National triumph before his retirement, but he eventually weakened into fifth place.
Many Clouds tired from the elbow, but had enough in the tank to hold off Saint Are, with Monbeg Dude third and Alvarado fourth.
McCoy said: “I was very happy all the way, but just between the fourth and the third-last I was following Many Clouds and I knew he was a dour stayer.
“I was behind him in the Hennessy and thought I might get past him, but he stuck at it well there. I thought from the third-last I was struggling.
“I got a great ride off him and Jonjo (O’Neill) had him in great shape. He jumped fantastic and I wouldn’t mind riding him next year!
“I’m going to miss riding horses like that and in races like that. I got a great buzz out of it and I thought for a long way he could win.
“It’s my last National, but it was a very enjoyable one.
“I just want to say well done to Leighton Aspell and Oliver Sherwood and Trevor Hemmings. It’s great for them.”
O’Neill said of Shutthefrontdoor: “He ran a blinder. He did everything right, he was following the right horses but unfortunately he wasn’t good enough on the day and maybe he didn’t get the trip.
“It’s good news, at least I’ve got AP (McCoy) for a couple more weeks (before retirement).”
Winning jockey Aspell said: “It was wonderful and we will certainly celebrate tonight. I asked some big questions, but he dug deep.
“We really refreshed and recharged his battery, and I tried to conserve energy. He is all heart - all season he has had hard races.
“Win lose or draw, that’s the best ride I have had in the National. I just hoped his battery life lasted out and it did.”
The win was a third in the National for owner Trevor Hemmings after Hedgehunter (2005) and Ballabriggs (2011).
Sherwood said: “I can’t believe it, it was some spin. All I wanted was the horse to come back in one piece.
“He was foot-perfect and didn’t make a mistake. I thought it was a year too soon, but he was fit and healthy and it was Trevor’s decision - he must get all the credit.
“The horse has been unbelievable all season, he has blossomed all year - he just got out of bed the wrong way in the Gold Cup.”