Numbersixvalverde (named after the owners villa in Portugal) won the Grand National at his first attempt in 2006, Numersixvalverde also won the Irish Grand National in 2005 when still a novice.
The 2006 Grand National is widely regarded as one of the best field of runners seen in a National in recent years, the excellent Hedgehunter, Royal Auclair, Clan Royal and Nil Desperandum headed up a field of quality chasers.
Numbersixvalverde was well fancied in the betting (11/1) but it was Hedgehunter and Clan Royal who went off as joint favourites at 5/1. After a shaky start to his career Numbersixvalverde had developed into a steady jumper with bags of stamina, just the attributes needed to win the National.
There is no doubt that the going on the day of the race suited Numbersixvalverde more than most runners, overnight rain at Aintree went against the likes of Hedgehunter. It’s also worth noting that trainer Brassil employed the favoured Irish trick of running Numbersixvalverde over hurdles before the handicapper dished out the weights for the big race.
Jockey Niall Madden was booked to ride Numbersixvalverde, the race would be Maddens first in the Grand National in only his first season as a professional jockey. Madden held his ride at the back of the field during the first circuit of the Aintree course, as was planned by the trainer.
Rider and horse enjoyed good fortune over the fences, notably when ‘It Takes Time’ fell in front of them at the first Becher’s. They narrowly avoided the fallen horse and started to make progress from fence 17 onwards. Coming to the final fence jockey Madden made his move, ploughing along in the rain soaked grass Numbersixvalverde made the most of his 18lb advantage over Hedgehunter to finish six lengths ahead of the pre race joint favourite.