I Am Maximus ran out a classy winner of the Grand National on Saturday.

Winner of the Irish Grand National a year ago, the Willie Mullins-trained gelding was sent off the 7/1 joint-favourite for the famous race and showed his class by surging clear of the field in the closing stages.

In what was a thrilling edition of the race, over a dozen runners still had a chance with two fences remaining.

Kitty's Light led at that fence but was headed by Rachael Blackmore's mount Minella Indo jumping the final obstacle. At the elbow, Minella Indo still held the lead but Paul Townend managed to find some room on I Am Maximus and quickened past in the closing stages to win comfortably.

Delta Work finished second, followed by Minella Indo and Galvin, to give Irish-trained horses the 1-2-3-4.

Paul Townend said: "An unbelievable race, an unbelievable horse. I ended being first at the first fence but then he started backing off his fences and I got pushed back. He was a bit careful on the second circuit and I was conserving as much as I could. I didn't get a clear run from the second last to the last, but I had the leaders in my sights and when we got clear air I was hoping he would respond like I thought he would.

"Gold Cups are Gold Cups, and Grade 1s are hard to win, but the Grand National is just a bit different. You need so much luck. I can't believe it."

This was a second win in the race for trainer Willie Mullins, who is now favourite to be champion trainer in Britain this season as well as in Ireland.

"I am just buzzing", Mullins said. "Paul was super on him. The horse was not giving him a lot of of help on the way around. We saw that last year in the Irish Grand National. But Paul has supreme confidence in the horse and, when he was cut off between the second last and the last, you could see him coming around to make his challenge."

Incredibly, 21 of the 32 starters completed the course. The Jockey Club reported that all horses and riders were uninjured, with just one horse (Mac Tottie) being attended to by veterinary surgeons but able to walk into the horsebox ambulance.


1. I Am Maximus 7/1 jt fav

2. Delta Work 28/1

3. Minella Indo 28/1

4. Galvin 40/1

5. Kitty's Light 12/1

6. Aint That A Shame 40/1

7. Meetingofthewaters 11/1

8. Galia Des Liteaux 28/1

9. Roi Mage 66/1

10. Limerick Lace 7/1jt fav

11. Coko Beach 28/1

12. Latenightpass 50/1

13. The Goffer 50/1

14: Vanillier 14/1

15: Eklat De Rire 100/1

16: Capodanno 28/1

17: Panda Boy 11/1

18: Nassalam 50/1

19: Noble Yeats 12/1

20: Eldorado Allen 66/1

21: Adamantly Chosen 33/1

Winning jockey Paul Townend said: "It was an unbelievable race and he's an unbelievable horse. Its a bit surreal to be honest. I ended up actually being first down to the first to give him a look but when I got to the Melling Road he started backing off it so it was not a great start.

“The volume of horses just pushed me down over the first three and he got a little careful on the second circuit, but I was trying to conserve as much as I could as well.

"We didn't get the clearest run from the second last to the last, but it kind of helped me and I felt that when I got him out he was going to start motoring when he got into clear air, which he did. The ones in front of me, I'm sure they weren't looking for me, but I had them well in my sights and I was hoping he'd respond as I thought he would. The Gold Cup is the Gold Cup and Grade 1s are hard to win, but Grand Nationals are a bit different and you need so much luck. I can't believe it. I'm a lucky boy.

“It’s what every young boy with a pony wants to do.”

Winning trainer Willie Mullins said: “I could see all the time that Paul was happy with where he was, just looking for room, looking for daylight, and he eventually got it and set him alight. He made little of his mark, and that means he's going to be a Gold Cup horse.

“It's extraordinary how we came to have him. Nicky Henderson had him after Henrietta Knight bought him for Mike Grech. When Mike moved his horses to Ireland Nicky said make sure you get that horse, and so thanks to Nicky and thanks to Henrietta, who organised all of that. That's why we are here today.

“At home he's just another horse. He never shows me on the gallop that he's a champion. Rachael rides him and he's an easy enough horse to ride. He's nearly a stable pet. If you sae him out in the field you wouldn't pass any remark, but he's obviously got an engine.

“When you win a Bobbyjo like that, that's obviously one of the best trials for the National and he just ran away with it, which was just extraordinary. That's when I started to really think we had a real live chance.

“Paul is just riding so well at the moment. He's just riding with such confidence, and like any sportsman with such confidence, things just happen for you. The ball bounces the right way and Paul is just seeing things that other jockeys aren't seeing at the moment.

It's right up there. It puts us right u there with a chance of an English title and it's another National for JP. What more could you ask for.

“The first National we won I was on cloud nine for the whole year until they passed the post the following year, and so hopefully it will be like that again this year. Winning the National is just special. It's the first race we all see on TV and Aintree, with the spectacle and the atmosphere, just makes it a special race to win."

Mullins went on to say: “That was an excellent ride. “As I said before the race, we don’t know how good this horse is. Today he showed us that he’s better than he has been, anyway. I think he was still just a little bit ahead of the handicapper after what he did in the Bobbyjo Chase and he proved it today. Paul gave him an excellent ride, just coddled him round the inside, got chopped off once or twice, probably didn’t jump as clean as you’d hope, but you could see Paul just looking for the gaps between the last two fences, just looking for some clear air. He eventually got it and set him alight. Tremendous horse.

“He’s quirky, he’s immature, but he’s learning all the time. Nicky Henderson had him before me - he said to me to make sure I got him because Mike Grech was taking all his horses to Ireland, and he said that’s the horse I need to have. I put my hand up for him with Henrietta Knight. Nicky could see the talent the horse had, he knew he was quirky, and we just had to nurture that talent. An Irish National, an English National - what more do you want?

“He doesn’t do it on the gallops at home, he does his own thing. He’s quirky, but he has huge ability, and until other horses just get that out of him, we won’t know how good he is, but I think he could be a Gold Cup horse.

“We’re there with a chance now for the British trainers’ title, so we’ll have to give it a good go now, and we might see you at Sandown, Perth, Ayr - where else?!

“At home he’s just another horse. He never shows me on the gallops he’s a champion. Rachel rides him - he’s an easy enough horse to ride, he’s nearly the stable pet for Rachel. He’s unremarkable - if you saw him in the field you wouldn’t pass any remark, but he’s obviously got an engine.

“When you can win a Bobbyjo Chase like that - and that’s probably one of the best trials for the National - that’s when I started to really think we had a real-life chance.

“Paul is riding so well at the moment. He’s just riding with such confidence, and it’s like any sportsperson, when you’ve got that confidence things just happen for you. You make them happen, too, but the ball just bounces right next to you and bounces the right way. Paul’s seeing things other jockeys aren’t seeing at the moment - he’s just riding in a different zone.

“This puts us right up for a chance at the British title, another big win, another big one for JP - what more could you ask for? After Hedgehunter won I was on cloud nine for the whole year until after the winning post the following year, so hopefully I’ll be like that this year!

“The National is a special race. It’s the first race we all see on TV, and Aintree is such a spectacle, with all the atmosphere to it. It’s just a special race to win.”

JP McManus, the winning owner said: “I don’t have to say anything about the trainer - it has all been said already, and if it isn’t said, people know it. He’s patient - he’s everything you could ask for in a trainer. He delivers.

“I love everything about the race. I love Liverpool, the excitement of coming here, the build-up to the race. It’s just a very special place among very special people.”

Danny Mullins, rider of Meetingofthewaters (7th), said: “I had a great run. He travelled into it well enough but he just flattened out, but I Am Maximus is a very good winner.”

Jack Kennedy, rider of Delta Work (2nd), said: “He ran a cracker and I’m delighted with him. He made a couple of mistakes, but he travelled into it well enough.”

Donagh Meyler, Farouk D’Alene (PU), said: “I got a great spin off him. He jumped and travelled well, but unfortunately he just ran out of a bit of steam late on.”

Rachael Blackmore, rider of Minella Indo (3rd), said: “It was a brilliant run and he run a super race. He was in against younger legs, but it was a brilliant run, and congratulations go to Paul Townend, JP (McManus) and Willie (Mullins).

"I got a nice passage around, and had plenty of space where I wanted it. It was still a massive race to ride in.”

Sam Ewing, rider of Galvin (4th), said: “He ran a blinding race. He jumped, and travelled, and I had a lovely position the whole way around. I was very happy with his run. I was staying, but I was never getting to the first couple.”

Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Minella Indo 3rd) and Ain’t That A Shame (6th), said: “He (Minella Indo) is a warrior isn’t he. He is brilliant, and I am delighted with him. He is amazing. I thought we were going to win it there. She travelled so well, and they were brilliant. They were both brilliant together. To get horses like him is incredible, and we have had so much fun with him.

“We were trying to turn a negative into a positive (with the cross country chase being abandoned), but maybe with how the ground had gone (at Cheltenham) it might have taken the edge off him. We will enjoy today and see (about next year). "He owes us absolutely nothing, and all we want to do is look after him. The way he jumped he around there it looked like he loved every minute of it.

“David (Maxwell) gave him (Ain’t That A Shame) a super ride. He was brilliant the whole way on him. I’m delighted for him as he got such a thrill.”

Jack Tudor – rider Kitty's Light (5th)

"He ran an unbelievable race, he jumped really well. It was great fun, he just wasn't quite good enough to win a Grand National.

"He ran brilliantly. No hard luck stories, he's just not good enough to win the Grand National.

Trainer Christian Williams said: "It was great, it was wonderful to watch him. He finished fifth. We are very proud of him.

"It was a nice clear round, and we hoped he was in the shake up and we were very privileged to watch him there and see him jump around. It's great.

"He took to it early and he enjoyed it then.

"I thought we had a chance. A long way out he was travelling sweet and jumping well.

"I was trying to be calm, but I was getting quite excited.

"He's a wonderful horse - he's great. We're very lucky to have him."

Asked how his daughters Betsy and Tilly felt watching Kitty's Light run in the Grand National:

"They were great. I didn't actually watch it with them, I watched it in the Parade Ring but we all ran over to see him after the race.

"It was great to get to him and have a few pictures. I think he was pleased to see us."

Asked if Kitty's Light could come back to the National next year: "Maybe, he might struggle to get in off ratings.

"It's tricky now, where do we run him in the Scottish Nationals and Bet365s that he's capable of winning, or come back to the Grand National, where he might finish fourth, fifth or sixth."

Mark Walsh - Limerick Lace (10th)

"She ran OK, she didn't jump it well enough. She was a bit too long in the air, and she got waved out. No chance after that."

Keith Donoghue - Capodanno (16th)

"We had a good run, just don't think he could get home."

Harry Cobden - Noble Yeats (19th)

"Very pleased. It never travelled, never helped me out too much, but jumped well. Thought I'd run OK halfway. I had Paul on the favourite in front of me and Vanillier. I just think the ground being tacky stopped him."

Sean O'Keeffe - Adamantly Chosen (21st)

"Ran well, jumped really well, just got a bit tired in all that distance."

Brendan Powell - Eldorado Allen (20th)

"He gave me a good spin for three and three-quarter miles and then got tired."

Darragh O'Keeffe - Eklat De Rire (15th)

"I got a good spin, jumped well. Happy enough."

Danny Gilligan - Chemical Energy (PU)

"I got a great spin off him for a long way. He jumped well for his first run over those fences, and he hadn't run in a long time, so hopefully they'll be some improvement off that, and hopefully back again next year."

James Reveley - Roi Mage (9th)

"Ran well, just didn't quite get home over the excessive trip. Made one little mistake. Ran well, he's a 12 year old."

Sean Bowen - The Goffer (13th)

"It travelled and jumped great and I thought he'd run a big race, and then didn't stay. Big run."

Gavin Brouder - Foxy Jacks (PU)

"Ran a brilliant race. If the ground was nice, good ground I would've been able to let him roll away and he would've got farther. When the pace started increasing on that ground he lost confidence and he was done."

Derek Fox- Corach Rambler (UR)

“I hit the first and he unseated me. That is the long and the short of it.”