Yala Enki Grand National Wins
Yala Enki has never won the Grand National.
They have never finished the race.
Yala Enki will be a name that many racing fans remember, as he really grew into a likeable animal that everyone wanted to succeed. He was unique and actually went to the top of racing, running in some of the best events on the calendar for not one trainer but two, which not too many horses do in their career.
Foaled in 2010, his racing career actually began in France, where he raced a number of times and went to a high level. In the UK, he first started off with Venetia Williams and would go as far as running in the Cheltenham Gold Cup under her care, finishing 7th in the race in 2019, which would be his last start for Williams.
After that, he was sent to Paul Nicholls, with the Grand National as his main target, and he made the race in 2021. He would have run in the 2020 renewal and was primed for it, but that race was postponed. Sadly, his Grand National run didn’t go to plan, unseating rider Bryony Frost at the 20th fence.
|2021||Fence 20 - Unseated Rider||-||11-3||Bryony Frost||Paul Nicholls|
Yala Enki’s Early Years
The horse began his racing career in France, beginning with two runs over hurdles before being switched to fences at a very early age, he was running and winning over the bigger obstacles as a three-year-old. He would run a total of 11 times in France, ending with two wins and also placing twice in listed races, so he had certainly shown some quality.
He landed with Venetia Williams and made his British debut in March 2015, finishing second in a novice hurdle. After a summer break, he won his second start by 15 lengths at Exeter, catching the eye and instantly being moved up in grade. He would win a listed handicap, place in a grade three handicap and then eventually run at the Cheltenham Festival in the Baring Bingham Novice Hurdle, where he was pulled up.
Handicap chases would come next, and on his debut over the big fences, he romped home in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock, a usually competitive handicap which he won by eight lengths. From here, he would find himself running in high-level handicaps and eventually graded races for pretty much the rest of his career.
Yala Enki’s Big Race Wins
Winning the Tommy Whittle at Haydock in such good style on his first start over fences in the UK certainly set the tone for the rest of Yala Enki’s chasing career. He would win other good-quality handicaps along the way too.
In February 2018, we would not only see him win a big handicap but also prove his love for bottomless ground and a real stamina test when he went back to Haydock. He won the Grand National Trial there, recording a winning distance of 54 lengths. Just three of the eight runners managed to get home, and he was miles clear of the rest.
Other smaller wins came while with Venetia Williams, and although he didn’t win it, he did run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup while with her, finishing seventh in the 2019 race.
When moving to Paul Nicholls, his first win was on his third start, the Portman Cup at Taunton, a class two event off level weights. He went back to the Grand National Trial at Haydock following that, but this time could only finish third.
The following season he would win the Portman Cup again at Taunton while placing in some big races, and on his final start before the Grand National, finishing fourth in the Cotswold Chase, a trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
After failing in the 2021 Grand National, he still had another two big race wins in him. The first of those was at the Cheltenham November Meeting when Yala Enki took a Grade Three handicap chase. He would round things off at Taunton by landing his third Portman Cup.
That was the final big race win of his career, having a lot of success at a high level under the training of both Venetia Williams and Paul Nicholls. His Grand National Trial win will probably go down as being the biggest and most impressive success of his career.