Many Clouds - Grand National legend

Many Clouds: The Grand National Legend

Dubbed as the “people’s horse” Grand National champion Many Clouds certainly had an impact on the nation. His success, story and legacy will long be treasured in the world of horse racing.

But why was he given such a title? Let’s uncover the story of the great horse a little further and explore all that went into his successes.

Early life and Racing Background

Many Clouds was a traditionally brown gelding that was bred in County Cork, Ireland by Aidan Aherne. The great horse was trained throughout his racing career by Oliver Sherwood, one of the finest trainers in the UK. Sherwood began his training career in 1984 after being encouraged by the legendary Fred Winter.

In the 2011-12 season, Many Clouds began his racing career with National Hunt Flat Races. He certainly made an impression with a winning debut at Wetherby Racecourse, but that was just the start of what was to come. The seasons to come saw Many Clouds progress and progress. He quickly became the horse to watch.

Successful wins over the seasons came from all of the UK’s greatest racecourses. He ended the 2013/14 season a chaser and was readily prepared for the big races to come. Throughout wins at Newbury Racecourse and in Carlisle Sherwood spoke even more admirably about the great horse’s achievements, stating he is “A live Gold Cup horse”.

However, his first Cheltenham Gold Cup appearance wasn’t as successful as the team had hoped. A sixth place finished left many questioning what the rest of the season would hold for the Irish bred runner.

Grand National 2015

If the decision on the 2015 Grand National race was solely down to Oliver Sherwood Many Clouds never would have run. However, owner Trevor Hemmings and jockey Leighton Aspell believed the great horse was ready. A month later following a loss at Cheltenham, Many Clouds was back and ready for the world’s most prestigious steeplechase.

He was placed at a weight of 11 stone 9 which was just under the top weight held by Lord Windermere and at odds of 25/1. He ran closely behind the leading front for the majority of the race. However, an opportunity came when Druid’s Nephew fell and Many Clouds certainly took it. He stormed forward to a five fence lead, with the other’s struggling to catch up. He finished three lengths ahead of second place Saint Are.

An extraordinary win for so many reasons. At a winning time of 8 minutes and 56.8 seconds, he secured the second quickest time in the history of the Grand National. He also won with the highest weight carried since 1974 when Red Rum won his second Grand National. Finally, it is a season to certainly be proud of. No horse had ever won both the Hennessy Gold Cup and Grand National in the same season. Following the race Aspell exclaimed that “it was the best ride of my life over these fences”.

The popularity of the horse skyrocketed following the win and he quickly became the “people’s champion”. In 2015 he was named horse of the year as a result of such a successful season.

Cheltenham 2017

In 2017 Many Clouds returned to Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day for the Cotswold Chase. He started at odds 8/1 and his biggest competition was favourite Thistlecrack who started at odds of 4/9. Many Clouds ran well throughout the race and finished in a photo-finish win closely followed by Thistlecrack. However, the glory of the win was short lived.

The horse collapsed after the winning post and was shortly pronounced dead. The whole racecourse was stunned into silence. Sadness was felt throughout the course that day and it will never be forgotten. Oliver Sherwood spoke of how he was a “horse of a lifetime and died doing what he loves most. Also stating that from his 32 years of horse training horses as talented as Many Clouds do not come around often.

A nation of people were no doubt devastated by the loss of their champion horse. His legacy will long be celebrated throughout the horse racing world.

Cheltenham Remember Many Clouds

In January 2018 many flocked to Prestbury Park for a day dedicated to the life of Many Clouds a year after he sadly passed away. Oliver Sherwood was the main focus of the day and took part in a question and answers sessions. Two screenings of the short film Many Clouds The People’s Champion was also played.

Sherwood spoke of how it was an honour that people were still talking about and remembering the life of Many Clouds. He continued to encourage the notion that Many Clouds life should be celebrated and it is not wise to look back. Although it has been hard he stated it was mission to find another like Many Clouds one day.

The story of Many Clouds impacted many throughout the world. It is a story riddled with extraordinary victories but one that brings so much sadness too. However, there’s no doubt that Many Clouds will be remembered for so many great things. He was an exceptionally talented horse that made a huge difference in such a short period of time. He will long be the people’s champion.

The greatest part of this story is Many Clouds impressive Grand National win. Many would have not seen such talent in their lifetime. The magic of Aintree will long be felt. So much joy can be felt throughout the grounds at Aintree and it is most certainly a must go event.

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