Horse racing-Outsider Noble Yeats secures fairytale Grand National win

LIVERPOOL, England, April 9 (Reuters) — Noble Yeats beat overwhelming odds to win the Grand National on Saturday as amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen ended his career with what he described as a «fairytale» victory.

Noble Yeats, an outsider at odds of 50-1, finished ahead of pre-race favourite Any Second Now with Delta Work third and Santini fourth.

Two of the favourites failed to finish with last year’s winner Minella Times, ridden by Rachael Blackmore, falling at the Valentine’s Brook fence and Snow Leopardess pulled up before the second circuit.

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Any Second Now led the race towards the end and looked set for victory before Noble Yeats surged ahead on the inside to secure a stunning victory, a few days shy of Waley-Cohen’s 40th birthday.

«I can’t say anything, it’s a dream, I couldn’t believe it,» Waley-Cohen told ITV.

«I’ve got to say thank you — because it’s my last ever ride — to dad. Unwavering belief and love, over 23 years and never a cross word. It’s been a love affair.

«To my wife, long-suffering. They aren’t all good days. There are bad days in this sport. She’s always here to support me… It’s a fairytale, it’s a fantasy. Just full of love and happiness and gratefulness.»

Waley-Cohen said his late brother Thomas, who died of cancer, was with him in spirit.

«I do think Thomas is sitting on my back. I ride with his name on my saddle,» he added. «Today is a family day. Honestly, you couldn’t make it up, could you?»

His father and the horse’s owner Robert hailed Sam’s victory, saying it was a «dream come true».

«I can’t speak, I was shouting too much,» he said. «Just fabulous.»

Noble Yeats’ trainer Emmet Mullins said he could not believe the result after the red-hot favourite Any Second Now was beaten by more than a length.

«For Sam to go out on a win like that, you could not write it,» Mullins said. «I was probably more confident a month ago than I was today. It is the stuff of dreams.

«It’s nice when a plan comes together… That last circuit everything seemed to fall into place. I don’t know when this will register.»

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Reporting by Rohith Nair and Alan Baldwin; editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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