Scots owner of National winner trots off with £½m

SCOTS businessman John Provan, who watched his horse Pineau De Re win the Grand National at the weekend, said he has been celebrating ever since.
Grand National winner John Provan has been on cloud nine since his horses victory. Picture: John GrossickGrand National winner John Provan has been on cloud nine since his horses victory. Picture: John Grossick
Grand National winner John Provan has been on cloud nine since his horses victory. Picture: John Grossick

Glasgow-born Mr Provan, who won £561,300 with his horse’s victory, admitted he had been downing Champagne and was on “cloud nine”.

The owner, who now runs a successful print and packaging business called Printcut Boxfast, also had a double celebration when his only other horse in training, Dalmo, won the Racing UK Lady Riders Selling Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen yesterday.

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The prize money for that victory was just over £2,000, but Provan said it was “sweet”.

Trainer Dr Richard Newland and Mr Provan had been showing off Pineau De Re at their Worcestershire stables yesterday morning and had to hire the helicopter to get them to Lincolnshire in time for the 1:45pm start.

On Saturday after their National victory, Mr Provan exclaimed that he and his great friend Newland loved to “take on the big boys” from their small yard.

Yesterday, after Dalmo’s win, Mr Provan confessed that he had not exactly been sober when watching the race.

“They are all sweet,” said Provan. “I’ve been drinking Champagne on a regular basis since straight after the National, we were even drinking it in the chopper. You could say we were on cloud nine.”

Mr Provan is a former amateur jockey who rode on the Flat against Princess Anne on a couple of occasions. He worked in various racing yards and lives in Derbyshire.

Pineau De Re, who won the National at odds of 25-1, was bought by Mr Provan and Newland specifically to run at Aintree after it won the Ulster Grand National last year.

It was the Glaswegian’s first-ever runner in the world’s most famous steeplechase, and for the second year running, a Scottish owner lifted the National trophy, Mr Provan following in the footsteps of Jim Beaumont and Douglas Pryde, owners of last year’s winner Aurora’s Encore – their entry in this year’s race, Mr Moonshine, ran well under last year’s winning jockey, Ryan Mania of Galashiels, before fading to finish 15th.

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Meanwhile, all 39 jockeys who took part in the Grand National could face disciplinary action following their refusal to attend the second part of a stewards inquiry into the false start.

The implications of the jockeys’ mutiny are staggering for National Hunt racing – the 39 were led by 18-times champion jockey Tony McCoy and include the cream of jumps riders who joined him in refusing to go before the stewards after racing on Saturday.

They could all face lengthy bans and fines, but the jockeys were not backing down yesterday and they could go on strike if they are disciplined in any way – almost certainly stopping National Hunt racing in its tracks if they do.

Assistant starter Simon McNeill was knocked over but unhurt during the melee after the false start, and that is believed to be the reason why the stewards insisted that jockeys attend the two-part hearing at Aintree, with some jockeys going along to the first part.

Only Brendan Powell, rider of Battle Group which refused to race, will be exempt from the hearing that has been adjourned to the headquarters of the British Racing Authority in London after the Aintree stewards were unable to persuade a single jockey to attend the second past of their own inquiry.

“They felt very strongly that matters were not being conducted correctly,” said Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association.