“Gavin Cromwell will return to Aintree for next year’s Randox Grand National with Vanillier after the grey stayed on to take a superb second place behind Corach Rambler in the 175th running of the world’s most famous race,” Cromwell said, admitting to feeling a mixture of pride and disappointment. He added, “I suppose the way he stayed on at the finish, you have to be a little bit disappointed, but he was good.”
“He was a little bit sticky over the first three or so and got caught a little bit further back than Sean would have liked, but he stayed on really well, albeit from a little bit too far back. You have to be happy. Coming back next year will definitely be the plan, absolutely. He might not be as well weighted, but he will benefit from the experience.”
Flanagan, who rode Vanillier, briefly felt he could have overhauled the winner, saying, “I tucked him in early and probably got caught further back than I wanted to be. He’s a really strong stayer and we probably didn’t go forward early enough, but he stayed on and it was a super run, and he jumped really well. I briefly thought we could catch Corach Rambler, but at the same time I knew I had a lot of ground to make up. I’m very happy with that.”
Willie Mullins, the trainer of Gaillard Du Mesnil, who finished third, also expressed his satisfaction with the performance, saying, “Gaillard Du Mesnil ran a cracker, jumped well and I was very happy. He put up a terrific performance, one that probably says he should be aimed at it next year again, so we will see how things go.”
Last year’s winner Noble Yeats, who finished fourth, was praised by jockey Sean Bowen, who said, “He never touched a twig, he was foot perfect with that weight, 19lb higher – what an effort. To get into the position he did was incredible considering he was off the bridle a long way out. He’s absolutely run his heart out.” Owner Robert Waley-Cohen added, “I thought Sean gave him a fantastic ride. You need the odd break but he made no errors whatsoever, and he finished very strongly. Remember Corach Rambler was 10lb well-in. Our horse has given his all.”
Peter Fahey, trainer of The Big Dog, who finished fifth, was thrilled with the performance and hopeful for the future, saying, “We are thrilled with him. It was an absolutely brilliant run. He ran a cracker and he jumped brilliantly. There are no excuses, he was beaten fair and square. That’s all you’d want. He loved it, he travelled good and strong and did everything right the whole way through. He did himself proud, and the owners, too. He will go home now and get his summer break, then we will come back and make a plan, probably working around the National and trying to come back here again, especially when he took to it so well.”
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