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3 Apr 2019

Grey horses who have won the Grand National

It’s a rare sight to see a grey horse race home to victory in the Grand National, but there have been several occasions when this has happened. The Aintree Grand National 2019 has recently seen a grey entry pull out of the race, as Bristol De Mai has been removed from the race by trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies. 

Despite Bristol De Mai’s withdrawal, there are still several grey horses left in the race including: Vintage Clouds, Lake View Lad and Baie Des Iles. The first is one of the favourites for the race, having been priced at 12/1, Lake View Lad will race at a price of 14/1, while the latter is a 33/1 shot. Those who follow the Grand National will know that long odds don’t necessarily mean you won’t win. 

We have taken a look at the three grey horses who have raced to victory at the Grand National and the odds that they set off at. 

The Lamb 

It was 29 years after the very first Grand National that a grey horse won the race. The Lamb, ridden by Mr George Ede, raced home to victory in 1868 at a price of 9/1 ahead of Pearl Diver, Alcibiade and Captain Crosstree. 

Not content with one win, The Lamb would claim his second Grand National win three years later, this time ridden by Tommy Pickernell. He was given a price of 5/1 prior to the race and finished two lengths ahead of Despatch in second and five lengths ahead of Scarrington in third. 

With two Grand National victories under his belt, The Lamb set the standard for grey horses, and it would be nearly 100 years before another grey horse would claim the prestigious trophy. 

Nicolaus Silver 

The 1961 Grand National saw Nicolaus Silver take home the spoils after becoming the first grey horse since The Lamb to win the race. His price prior to the race was 28/1, with the favourite, Jonjo, being priced at 7/1, suggesting that it’d take something special for Nicolaus Silver to win. 

The 1960 winner – Merryman II – was priced at 8/1 and managed to keep pace with Nicolaus Silver until the final two fences, where Nicolaus Silver, ridden by Bobby Beasley managed to run clear of the chasing pack and win by a comfortable five lengths. 

This would be the only Grand National win by a grey horse in the 20th century. 

Neptune Collonges 

It took another 51 years for a grey horse to win the Grand National, with Neptune Collonges claiming victory in 2012’s race. This victory should be the most encouraging victory for Baie Des Iles, as Neptune Collonges raced at the same price Baie Des Iles is this time – 33/1.

The trio of Sunnyhillboy, Seabass and Neptune Collonges broke away from the pack down the home straight and with 100 yards to go, Sunnyhillboy was in the lead and one length ahead of Neptune Collonges. The grey gelding, spurred on by jockey Daryl Jacobs, closed the gap and as they crossed the finish line, no one could tell who had won. 

After reviewing the photo finish multiple times, Neptune Collonges was declared the winner by a nose. The 33-1 outsider had done it, although it had taken one-and-a-half minutes for the result to come through and following the victory he was immediately retired.