The 154th official renewal of the Grand National (sponsored by Martell this year) took place at Aintree racecourse, Liverpool on Saturday 7th April 2001. The famous steeplechase was won by Red Marauder at odds of 33/1, the winner trained and ridden by Richard Guest and owned by Normal Mason.
Of the forty runners which started the 2001 Grand National, only two managed to complete the course without mishap with two others remounting and subsequently finishing. The going was heavy and many believed that the conditions were too muddy and wet, this criticism seemingly justified when eight fell at Canal Turn. Supporters of the Grand National correctly pointed out that the heavy going resulted in a slower pace with no injuries sustained to riders or horses.
An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease led to the cancellation of the 2001 Cheltenham Festival and other major events, however while the Grand national looked initially to be under threat, it was given the go-ahead and it took place in extremely adverse weather with heavy rain at times and gusty winds throughout the day.
The dreadful conditions undoubtedly contributed to the many fallers with eight horses having fallen by the third fence. One loose runner – Paddy’s Return – continued as a loose horse and caused huge problems at Canal Turn where he contributed to many more fallers. In the end, just four runners completed the course – the fewest for many years – and Red Marauder crossed the line in a slower time than any other winner for over 100 years.
1: Red Marauder
3: Blowing Wind
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