Vanillier Grand National Wins
Vanillier has never won the Grand National.
Their best finish to date was in 2023 where they came 2nd. They were ridden by Sean Flanagan and trained by Gavin Cromwell.
A graded winner over both hurdles and fences, Vanillier has shown a great deal of quality throughout his career. He’s often shown himself to be a staying horse, leading him to the 2023 Grand National, where he would confirm that with an excellent second-place finish.
Foaled in 2015, this French-bred runner began life in the Irish point-to-point field and was then sent to Irish handler Gavin Cromwell, who would take him to the biggest stages in racing. They included a win at the Cheltenham Festival, at Grade One level, in the first year of his career under rules, and for that reason, he’s been a horse that many have had their eye on.
Second In Grand National Debut In 2023
Vanillier made a big impression on his first run in the Grand National, finishing second in the 2023 renewal of the race, which was won by Corach Rambler. He was two and a quarter lengths behind the winner that day, staying on strongly up the run in to show that staying races are what he needs to be targeting in the future.
At just eight years old, the horse has a few years of racing left, is right at his peak, and looks to be the ideal type to come back and try to win this race again in the future.
Throughout the early part of the race, he was towards the rear but in a good rhythm and jumping well. As the runners went out on the final circuit, he began to cut through the field, catching the eye, and was 121 lengths behind the winner as he jumped the last. Staying strongly up the run in, he was able to cut that back but was not able to catch Corach Rambler, so he had to settle for second place.
Vanillier’s Early Years
We first saw Vanillier on the track in an Irish point-to-point race, but he was pulled up on debut. On his second point start, he improved and was able to win that race, which would be the final team he would run on the amateur circuit, rules racing would come next.
His debut under rules for Gavin Cromwell would come in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown in October 2020, the horse ran very well and would finish second. He went one better next time out, winning his first rules race before stepping up in class.
He was second in a Grade Two at Limerick before finishing down the field in a Grade One, then going to the Cheltenham Festival. It was here where he would land his first graded win, taking the three-mile Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle, a Grade One contest. This was his first try at three miles, and he didn’t just win the race, he swiftly came away from the field to win by 11 lengths, it was a very impressive performance.
A run at the Punchestown Festival would wrap up his novice hurdling campaign, where he finished fourth, and after a summer break, it would be time for a novice chase season. He returned in October 2021 and finished third on his chase debut before winning his second start, which was a Grade Two contest at Punchestown. He would go on to follow that up with third in a Grade One at Leopardstown, then finishing the same position in a Naas Grade Three and a Grade Two at the Cheltenham Festival.
Vanillier’s Big Race Wins
Vanillier has won two big contests so far in his career, both in novice company, one over hurdles and one over fences.
His hurdles victory came at the Cheltenham Festival in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle, a Grade One staying contest over three miles where he relished the longer trip and hill finish. This was a real glimpse into the future, showing him to be a strong stayer.
During his novice chase season, he won his second start, which came in the Grade Two Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown. This was an excellent win by 26 lengths, but part of the reasoning behind the size of the winning margin was a faller at the last, who was close to him, so the distance flattered his performance a little.