The 2001 renewal of the Grand National was memorable for several reasons. Run with foot-and-mouth precautions in place, in atrocious conditions, the race descended into a gruelling war of attrition, with just four finishers – two of whom were remounted – and a winner who was described by his jockey, Richard Guest, as ‘the worst jumper ever to win a Grand National.’
The winner was, of course, Red Marauder, an unheralded 33/1 chance at the ‘off’, who survived numerous mistakes to come home in splendid isolation, a distance ahead of Smarty. On a wet, windy afternoon, 15 of the 40 starters had already exited the race by the time the field approached the Canal Turn on the first circuit. At that stage, the riderless Paddy’s Return, who had parted company with jockey Adrian Maguire at the third fence, ran down the fence and put to the chances of eight more runners.
Heading out onto the second circuit, just eight runners remained and that number was reduced to three after a further incident at the nineteenth fence and the departure of the well-fancied Beau a fence later. Thereafter, the National effectively became a match between Red Marauder and Smarty; although headed, after another mistake, at the fourth-last fence, Red Marauder took a clear lead
turning for home and was driven out to beat his toiling rival, who stopped to a walk on the run-in. Blowing Wind and Papillon were eventually remounted to finish third and fourth, the proverbial ‘country mile’ behind the first pair.