The 165th running of the Grand National took place on 14th April 2012 and was won by 33/1 shot Neptune Collonges. The winning horse was partnered by Daryl Jacob and trained by Paul Nicholls, a photo finish separating him from second-placed Sunnyhillboy in what was the closest ever finish in the history of the famous steeplechase. This was only the third time that a grey had triumphed in the Grand National and the first time since 1961. Katie Walsh finished third aboard Seabass, her first appearance in the race and the best ever finish by a female jockey in the history of the race.
The 2012 Grand National was televised live on BBC One for the last time with broadcasting rights being handed to Channel 4 for the following four years.
Many modifications were announced for the Grand National in 2011 and these were in place for the 2012 running of the race. These included rebuilding Fence 4, levelling out the landing on Fence 1, reducing the drop on the landing side of Becher’s Brook and increasing the height of toe boards on bases of all fences. Other new rulings included increasing the minimum age of runners from six to seven years and introducing new post-race wash down and cooling area.
Entries for the 2012 Grand National had to be submitted by January 31st 2012 and on this date a total of 82 horses had been entered for consideration, this list including 2011 winner Ballabriggs. Handicap weights were announced by the BHA on February 14th and the final 40 runners were confirmed on 12th April. No reserves were needed and all 40 horses went forward on the day of the race.
Just one hundred yards or so from the finishing line, Sunnyhillboy enjoyed a one-length lead over second-placed Neptune Collonges, however the 33/1 shot pulled level at the post with nothing separating the two to the naked eye. After much deliberation, Neptune Collonges was announced as the winner a full one and a half minutes after they had crossed the line.
1: Neptune Collonges
4: Cappa Bleu
5: In Compliance
7: Hello Bud
10: Swing Bill