COUNTY jockey Richard Johnson said he ‘couldn’t be happier’ after finishing runner-up in the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree.
Johnson was second, aboard 14-1 shot Balthazar King, losing out to Pineau De Re by just five lengths in Saturday’s showpiece.
“He gave me 200 per cent,” said Johnson, who also achieved a first and third place at the festival.
“I was struggling a long way out and he is a fantastic horse. I thought we had a good chance going to the Elbow and he gave his all.” It would have been great to win but I couldn't be happier.”
Michael Scudamore’s much-fancied Monbeg Dude, with Paul Carberry on board, finished in seventh place.
Dude, part-owned by England rugby union World Cup winner Mike Tindall and schooled by wife Zara Phillips, ran out of steam.
Jockey Carberry, said: "I thought going to the last he'd nearly win, but he perhaps ran a bit free early on.\”
And Michael Scuadmore’s brother, Tom Scudamore, was 12th on The Package.
"It was the best ride I have ever had around those fences - the thrill of a lifetime,” he said.
“He jumped fantastic and looked after me. Going over the third last, I thought we would win but he hasn't got home. It was super ride and I loved every second of it."
Tom Scudamore enjoyed a successful Grand National festival, also recording a first and second place and four third-placed finishes.
Mountainous, trained by Richard Lee in Presteigne, came a cropper at the ninth fence of the National.
Trainer Venetia Williams achieved a second place at the festival, with Ludlow’s Henry Daly recording a third.
Owner Mark Blandford enjoyed an afternoon with Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish as his charge, Next Sensation, was fifth in the Grade One Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase.
“Kenny’s daughter is married to Next Sensation’s part-owner Nicky Robinson,” explained Blanford.
“Kenny told me he realised how hard it was for clubs in the lower leagues,” said Blandford, a Hereford United fan.
He added: “With the benefit of hindsight, we felt the race came too quickly after Cheltenham for Next Sensation.”
Blandford now is targeting a two-mile handicap chase for his charge at a Paddy Power two-mile handicap chase in October at Cheltenham.