Neptune wins Grand National
Neptune Collonges won the 2012 John Smith's Grand National at Aintree in the closest finish ever, with a nose the winning distance.
Paul Nicholls' grey (33-1), owned by John Hales and ridden brilliantly by Daryl Jacob, was one of several horses in with a chance turning for home but the former Gold Cup third stayed on best of all to collar Sunnyhillboy (16-1) right on the line.
Joint-favourite Seabass (8-1), ridden by Katie Walsh ran a fine race in third, with Evan Williams' Cappa Bleu (16-1) back in fourth.
Fifth place went to In Compliance (100-1), whilst last-year's hero Ballabriggs ran a gallant race one position further back.
The well-fancied Synchronised unseated Tony McCoy on the way down to the start and unfortunately the Gold Cup winner suffered a fatal fall. According To Pete also died following a fall during the steeplechase.
West End Rocker and Junior departed at the second fence, whilst Viking Blond was the very first runner to go at the first obstacle
A clearly overcome Jacob said: "You can't beat this. I was on a tough horse and I said to Paul that one day I would ride you a National winner.
"That was two years ago and now I've done it."
Nicholls said: "He's probably the best horse we've run in the race. "He's got great form, he's been placed in Gold Cups, he stays, he's genuine and Daryl gave him a fantastic ride when you analyse where he went. It's absolutely brilliant.
"It's blown Nicky Henderson out of the water now (in the trainers' championship).
"Any good race would do, but this is the race we wanted."
It was later revealed that Synchronised had suffered a fatal injury. Owner JP McManus said: "He's been killed, so I believe. I'm sure they'll make an announcement shortly."
Katie Walsh is the highest-placed woman rider in the race after finishing third on Seabass.
She said: "I had an unbelievable spin. It was a fantastic experience. It was great to get round.
"I can't believe it's all over and I can't wait to do it again.
"At the third-last I was going OK but after the second-last I didn't think I was going to win."
Winning owner John Hales had mixed emotions as One Man, probably the best horse he ever owned, was killed in a fall at this meeting in 1998.
"When he crossed the line I thought he might have got it. My first thought was if he has got it Paul has won the trainers' championship. And then I thought thank you Aintree - you know why - many years ago.
"It split the family coming here. My wife was 50-50, my daughter couldn't face it. She has gone show jumping and is overcome with emotion.
"We've nothing against Aintree. We love coming here and this year we've come up trumps."
He said Neptune Collonges, the first grey to win the National since Nicolaus Silver in 1961, would be retired immediately: "He'll never race again, that's it."
Evan Williams said of fourth home Cappa Bleu: "I like the National, I've not got a bad record in it, have I?
"But I want to be there though (pointed at the winner's podium).
"Inexperience found him out really. He ran into every faller and every bit of trouble. It was a good run, though.
"State Of Play just wanted a pick of grass, he made a little mistake and got rid of his jockey.
"Deep Purple pulled up, he didn't enjoy it."