Amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen made his last ride a memorable one as he won the world’s greatest steeplechase, the Grand National, on Noble Yeats at Aintree on Saturday.
The 39-year-old had ridden six winners over the National fences prior to Saturday but he reserved his greatest moment until last.
Waley-Cohen jumped the last alongside 15/2 favourite Any Second Now but Noble Yeats found extra in the demanding run-in to record a fairytale ending to the jockey’s career.
Waley-Cohen stood up in his saddle and waved his whip in celebration and paid a handsome tribute to his father Robert, who bought the horse only in February.
Noble Yeats also became the first seven-year-old to win the National since Bogskar in 1940.
“I want to say thank you to Dad. He never wavered, never a cross word,” said Waley-Cohen.
“I also have a long suffering wife!
“It’s a fantasy… I just feel love, happiness and gratefulness for being on the right horses.”
Waley-Cohen, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2011, said it was a great moment for his whole family after the personal tragedy of brother Tom, who died of cancer in 2004.
“Thomas died before his 20s so these days are family days.
“You just could not make it up.”
The defending champion Minella Times was one of many of the fancied runners who failed to get round, Rachael Blackmore’s mount falling at the 10th fence.