On April 6th 2013, trainer Sue Smith had the incredible experience of standing on the sidelines at Aintree Racecourse watching her horse, Auroras Encore romp home as the 66/1 Grand National winner.
She very kindly took some time out recently to answer our questions about that memorable day and her hopes for the 2014 Crabbies Grand National.
Question: Prior to the 2013 Grand National did you believe that Auroras Encore could win it and particularly with such ease?
Sue Smith: Auroras went to Aintree very fit and with all the conditions in his favour, we thought that we would be very close, especially off such a low weight. We did not imagine that he would win it in that way but we just happened to have that bit of luck on the day.
Question: What were your initial thoughts when you saw Ryan Mania and Auroras Encore move up the ranks from three out to take the lead from Teaforthree?
Sue Smith: VERY EXCITED!!!
Question: When it’s getting down to the wire and you’re 30 seconds from winning the Grand National what goes through your mind?
Sue Smith: I was just so excited and jumping up and down I can't really remember thinking anything.
Question: Can you describe the feeling of seeing Auroras Encore and Ryan Mania cross the winning post?
Sue Smith: It was just so over whelming, it took quite a while to sink in. It really was a dream come true.
Question: He’s a superb horse so his earlier-than-planned retirement must have come as a real blow to the yard – how’s he doing now?
Sue Smith: Yes it was a blow because we felt that he could have gone back to Aintree again this year to have possible repeat performance. He is recovering well from surgery to pin his right fore leg back together. All is going well at the minute and hopefully he will come back sound and he will be able to enjoy a happy retirement.
Question: Looking forward to this year’s renewal, Mr Moonshine has been given 10-12, which is 7lbs up on last year – what are your thoughts on how he’ll perform under the heavier weight and are you more confident that he’ll get around and challenge more this year?
Sue Smith: We are looking forward to Mr Moonshine running as we know he jumps well round Aintree and he likes the course, hopefully the ground will stay in his favour. I think despite the extra weight he will put in a good performance.
Question: You have another great chance in Vintage Star with 10-07 and after the Coral Welsh National and the Peter Marsh Chase he looks in terrific form. Is he ticking all of the Grand National boxes for you this year?
Sue Smith: Yes, he is a fine big horse who has run very well in his staying chases this season and I am sure he will put up a good show.
Question: From Mr Moonshine and Vintage Star have you got another winner heading to Aintree?
Sue Smith: We haven't done the entries yet and I'm not sure whether we are sending anything else yet.
Question: Have you looked over the entries and weights and aside from your own horses who’s looking good to you right now?
Sue Smith: Yes I have looked but I think we will just have to see who arrives on the day.
We would like to sincerely thank Sue Smith for answering our questions and wish her and her team all the best for the rest of the season.