Vieux Lion Rouge Grand National Wins
Vieux Lion Rouge has never won the Grand National.
Their best finish to date was in 2017 where they came 6th. They were ridden by Tom Scudamore and trained by David Pipe.
An absolute legend of the Grand National, Vieux Lion Rouge ran a total of five times in the race, his first attempt was in 2016 and last in 2021. That number of five would have been six had the 2020 race not been cancelled.
Foaled in 2009, the horse spent his entire career in the care of David Pipe and ran in many staying handicaps alongside his tilts at the Grand National. He ran a total of 41 times under rules and won 13 of those, so he had an excellent winning record, despite running in high-quality races for a big part of his career.
|Fence 20 - Fell
Five-Time Grand National Runner
Vieux Lion Rouge ran a total of five times in the Grand National, showing incredible durability over the years. That number would have been six had the 2020 race not been cancelled, which would have no doubt cemented his place in the history books if there is any doubt about it.
He completed the course on his first four starts in the race but fell in his final run at the 20th fence. Of those four completions, the first three were the best and were all top 10 finishes in the race, showing what a consistent horse this was on the course.
The best run came in 2017, Vieux Lion Rouge’s second attempt at the race, where he would finish in 6th position. That was one better than his debut a year earlier, where he finished 7th.
Trained by David Pipe for all five attempts at the race, he had three different jockeys on board. James Reveley took the ride in his first Grand National run, Conor O’Farrell rode him on his last attempt, and Tom Scudamore rode the middle three.
Vieux Lion Rouge’s Early Years
Despite eventually becoming a staying chaser, Vieux Lion Rouge had plenty of success as a younger horse in his early days. He began his career with David Pipe, running in national hunt flat races, and he won his first three starts, two of them by a winning distance of 14 lengths. That would take him to the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March 2013, where he would finish in 11th place before going hurdling the following season.
He started well over obstacles, too, winning his first three starts again before a run at the Cheltenham Festival in the Martin Pipe handicap hurdle, named after the father of his trainer, but he finished well down the field.
Good runs in graded handicaps would follow this without success, and then he would go chasing. Just like in national hunt flat races and hurdles, Vieux Lion Rouge would win his first three starts over the big fences, two novice races and a good handicap at Haydock.
From here, the horse was experienced enough and rated highly enough to run in big handicaps for the rest of his career, and more often than not, gave a true running every time he was on the course.
Vieux Lion Rouge’s Big Race Wins
If there is one race that Vieux Lion Rouge will be remembered for, then it is certainly the Becher Chase. This is run at Aintree and uses the big National fences just like the Grand National. Ran over three miles and two furlongs, it’s a mile shorter than the big one, but still a strong stamina test and a race that many Grand National horses often run in on their way to the big one.
In 2016, he ran in the Becher Chase for the first time, and he won it, though only by the smallest of margins, a short head. In 2017, he returned and was 7th, then in 2018, he was a close second in the race. 2019 saw him finish 9th, and then in 2020, he was good enough to win it again, and not only that, but he won it by 24 lengths. In 2021 he would run in the Becher Chase for a sixth and final time but unseated his rider Tom Scudamore at the 12th fence.
Elsewhere, in 2017, Vieux Lion Rouge won the Grand National Trial at Haydock and added a couple of class 2 handicap chase races to his big race record.