For the first time in three years, crowds were back at the biggest horse racing event of the year as the Grand National took place at Aintree racecourse in what will go down as a historic event.
The biggest race in the sport, featuring 40 runners and riders, started without a hitch at 5:15 pm and it was Noble Yeats, trained by Emmet Mullins and ridden by amateur Sam Waley-Cohen, who managed to cross the finishing line first and claim the big prize.
It was 39-year-old Cohen's final ever race as a jockey and he couldn't have picked a grander way to bow out from the sport.
HIS. LAST. EVER. RIDE. \n\nSam Waley Cohen wins the @RandoxHealth Grand National on NOBLE YEATS! \n\n#RandoxGrandNationalpic.twitter.com/uYAMvjjCnK
His horse Noble Yeats is a seven-year-old trained by Emmet Mullins, and managed to hold off 15-2 favourite Any Second Now to win at 50-1. Delta Work was third and Santini fourth.
Talking to ITV Racing, Waley-Cohen said: “It’s a dream. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve got to say thank you, as it’s my last ever ride, to my dad (Robert Waley-Cohen, owner), for unwavering belief and love.
“Over 23 years and never a cross word, never been anything but a dream. It’s been a love affair. To my wife, long-suffering, they aren’t all good days, there are bad days in this sport.”
Thursday: Sam Waley-Cohen announces he will retire from racing after the Grand National.\n\nSaturday: Wins the Grand National on Noble Yeats.\n\nWHAT. A. STORY.pic.twitter.com/cMjNMroJJh
Given the magnitude and the buzz of the occasion, Twitter was full of memes and jokes, especially due to the amount of betting involved, about the Grand National before and after the race. Here are some of our favourites.
Me betting in the Grand Nationalpic.twitter.com/JYYYoE6yRr