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Pineau De Re shines spotlight on the county
Updated 3:49pm Tuesday 8th April 2014 in Sport
IT is not often the glare of the national sporting media is trained on Worcestershire.
Unless it's the trials and tribulations surrounding Worcester Warriors perennial scrap with relegation, the county usually slips under the radar.
That was until Pineau De Re won the Grand National by five lengths from Balthazar King at Aintree and suddenly Worcestershire has been thrust into the spotlight.
The 11-year-old, trained by Dr Richard Newland in Claines, was well fancied at around 25-1 on the back of a strong showing at last month's Cheltenham Festival but I doubt few genuinely expected him to triumph in the world-famous race.
It was the trainer's first ever runner in the showpiece event and seldom do fairytales like that ever come true.
Even Newland must have been pinching himself in the grandstand as he watched Leighton Aspell bring his charge home on Saturday.
In the build-up, he was certainly playing down the prospects of Pineau De Re, saying he would be happy to "trouble the scorers this year."
Well, he did rather better than that and has already switched his attention to repeating the feat in 12 months.
Quite remarkably, it is the first time a Worcestershire trainer has won the main prize since Michael Oliver with West Tip back in 1986.
While other county trainers have had horses place in the 28 years since - namely State Of Play for Himbleton's William and Angela Rucker - that statistic alone puts into perspective the achievement of Newland, Aspell and Pineau De Re.
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