There was a strong British connection with the 54-1 winner, however. She was ridden by Jan Faltejsek who, until recently, had been based in the north of England with trainer George Charlton for six years.
Orphee Des Blins, who is trained by the Polish-born Greg Wroblewski, relished the conditions, which were testing – heavy on the plough –
following torrential rain on the eve of the race. She made all the running, jumped exuberantly and won, on the bridle, by 16 lengths from Ronino.
Joseph Vana, 59, finished third on the evens favourite Tiumen, while the Nick Williams-trained Maljimar, given a patient ride by James Reveley, came through late for fourth. The Irish pair, Uncle Junior and Doctor Pat, were sixth and seventh with the Czech-trained Trezor eighth for Liam Treadwell.
“I had a fantastic ride,” said Treadwell, who was attempting to become only the second man to win the Grand National and the Velka. “In that ground though, he just travelled a bit too well and I wasn’t able to get him to relax until halfway. He took me to the fourth last, where he fell last year, but was empty after that and a few stayed on past me.”
Given the conditions the race was remarkably incident free. The infamous Taxis fence was responsible for just one of the race’s three fallers, five horses were pulled up and 15 of the 23 starters completed the course.