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1- Neptune Collonges (2012)
For neutral fans, nothing is more exciting than a great contest in a racing event. And the spectators at the 2012 Grand National were in for a treat as they witnessed the closest finish in the history of the competition.
Sunnyhillboy’s winning chances looked great when he established two lengths lead with only 100 yards remaining. However, Neptune Collonges had no intention of giving up easily and started closing in. Both horses fought fiercely but Daryl Jacob and Neptune Collonges ultimately triumphed by a nose.
The French horse’s performances were remarkable for Paul Nicholls but they still looked a little less significant compared to the outstanding achievements of stablemates Kauto Star and Denman.
However, Neptune Collonges changed all that in 2012 when he outclassed the best British horses to claim the coveted prize. He retired from racing in April 2012.
2- Devon Loch (1956)
Devon Loch and jockey Dick Francis are regarded as one of the unluckiest losers in the history of sports. They reached the very brink of victory but suffered the most tragic defeat in an absolutely shocking fashion.
Devon Loch, who was owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, had a commanding lead on the final stretch, with many already starting celebrations of a royal victory. Then, with just 40 yards from the winning post, he belly-flopped to the ground and shocked the crowd into silence. That allowed E.S.B to overtake and win the race easily.
Francis was inconsolable after such an unfortunate defeat and later termed it “a disaster of massive proportions.”
Since then, there have been plenty of speculations about the unexpected behavior of Devon Loch that day but the actual cause has remained a mystery.
3- Don’t Push It (2010)
AP McCoy won many prestigious races in Britain during his long and highly successful career as a jockey. But the honour of winning the prestigious Grand National always eluded him, despite putting best efforts several times.
Finally, Don’t Push It landed the coveted prize for the Northern Irishman in 2010. The Jonjo O’Neill trained horse was five lengths ahead of second-placed Black Apalachi by the time he crossed the finishing line. McCoy went on to win the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year after garnering the highest votes.