Many Clouds Grand National Wins
- 2015 - ridden by Leighton Aspell trained by Oliver Sherwood
The story of Many Clouds is one that racing fans will not forget in a hurry. A hugely popular winner of the 2015 Grand National, and a horse who gave his all on the track, one that gained many followers and love along the way. He went out wearing his heart on his sleeve, collapsing after the line after winning the Cotswald Chase at Cheltenham, beating Thistlecrack, a horse that many believed to be unbeatable at the time.
A tragedy for the racing world, but one that showed why this horse was loved by so many, because he simply put everything into his races, and emptied the tank each time, in order to try and win his races.
Foaled on April 21 2007, he won the Grand National as a seven-year-old, so had plenty left to give to the sport. He was unable to retain his crown in 2016, finishing 16th down the field behind Rule The World. The plan was to head back to Aintree in 2017 before tragedy hit.
|2016||16||-||11-10||Leighton Aspell||Oliver Sherwood|
|2015||1||£561,300||11-9||Leighton Aspell||Oliver Sherwood|
A Brave Horse Who Died after Battle
The way in which the career of Many Clouds came to an end was just as big and important in the racing world than his Grand National success. Turning over favourite Thistlecrack, who was seen as unbeatable at the time and Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite was a big deal.
Just yards after the line though, after he’d given everything, he had to fend off his rival, Many Clouds sadly collapsed and died on the course. From joyous scenes and warmth from the crowd to silence, shock and sadness in just a few seconds for all those who were on course that day. I was one of them, and it is one I will never forget, never have I witnessed silence like that on a racecourse in the past, or since.
The plan before that run at Cheltenham was to go to Aintree and try to win the 2017 Grand National. He was going to have to carry a lot of weight, but was in great form, at the top of his game and still only nine, despite it being two years after winning the big one.
He was primed for another tilt at the race, but unfortunately, racing fans never got to see that happen.
Many Clouds’ Early Years
Many Clouds was bred in Ireland by Aidan Aherne in County Cork. He went through the sales ring just once as a foal colt early in his life, where he was bought for just €6,000 by Highflyer Bloodstock. For his entire racing career, he was trained by Oliver Sherwood. Something pretty rare in racing nowadays was the fact that he was ridden by jockey Leighton Aspell in every single race that he ran in.
The racing career of Many Clouds began in 2012 and started with a bang. He won by 12 lengths at Wetherby, a victory that booked his place in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, where he finished 9th.
He won one of three national hunt flat races and two out of six hurdle starts. However, it was over fences where he really came to life. He won an impressive nine races from 18 starts, which is made even more impressive when you consider the type of races he was running in, which were high quality.
Many Clouds’ Big Race Wins
The 2015 Grand National victory of Many Clouds was certainly his biggest day. He won the race by one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Saint Are who finished second. Trainer Oliver Sherwood didn’t want to run him in the race initially and wanted to wait a year, but jockey Leighton Aspell and owner Trevor Hemmings both forced him to change his mind, a great plan in the end.
Winning the race at just seven gave him high hopes for the future, but he could only finish 16th when he returned a year later to defend his crown, and sadly was unable to return to the race in 2017.
In 2014, five months before his Grand National success, Many Clouds won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, a huge field handicap and a race full of prestige. He won by more than three lengths that day, cementing his place as a top-quality chaser.
In January 2015, he followed up with his first Cotswold Chase victory at Cheltenham. That put him firmly in the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture, while also cementing the fact he would have to carry a lot of weight around Aintree in the Grand National.
The last of his big race wins was back at Cheltenham in the Cotswold Chase, this time the 2017 edition. He beat Thistlecrack by a head in a thrilling race, perhaps the best Cotswold Chase of all time, with heartbreaking scenes after the winning line.