A decade on from his first victory in the Grand National, Ireland鈥檚 champion trainer-elect Gordon Elliott had to settle for a gallant second with Cause Of Causes.

After six winners at the Cheltenham Festival, Elliott was eyeing a second victory in the Randox Health Grand National after Silver Birch鈥檚 win in 2007 with the JP McManus-owned nine-year-old.

Cause Of Causes had been one of those six successes at Prestbury Park when he scored for the third year in a row when winning the cross-country chase last month.

And while Cause Of Causes ran a massive race at Aintree, going close under amateur rider Jamie Codd, he could never get to the Lucinda Russell-trained winner One For Arthur.

He was four and a half lengths down at the line and Elliott said: 鈥淐ause of Causes has ran his heart out again and we are delighted with him. We couldn鈥檛 be happier.

Codd, who would have been the first amateur winner since Marcus Armytage scored on Mr Frisk in 1990, was delighted with his partner.

He said: 鈥淚 had a brilliant ride. He鈥檚 not an over-big horse and he鈥檚 jumped really well. I thought for a couple of strides at the back of the last I had a chance, but the winner has picked up. My lad doesn鈥檛 owe us anything, though. He鈥檚 been second in a National and has three Festival wins.

鈥淗e is a great little horse to do what he has done there. He is incredible. It was just unfortunate that there was one two good for us today. Second in a Grand National and he is only 16 hands. I am delighted - a little bit disappointed but delighted.?/p>

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner McManus, added: 鈥淚t was a fabulous run and Cause Of Cause just found one too good - there鈥檚 not a lot more to say. We鈥檝e been happier with him this year and you鈥檇 have to be delighted. That鈥檚 it for the season.?/p>

Saint Are and jockey Davy Russell during the Randox Health Grand National at the 2017 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday, April 8 2017 Picture by Peter Byrne/PA
Saint Are and jockey Davy Russell during the Randox Health Grand National at the 2017 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday, April 8 2017 Picture by Peter Byrne/PA

Tom George鈥檚 Saint Are, who finished second to Many Clouds in 2015, showed his love of Aintree once again.

Having won over hurdles and the Mildmay fences at this meeting in the past and also running so well over the big fences as well, he was finishing superbly under Davy Russell. But in the end he had to settle for third.

George was delighted with his 11-year-old鈥檚 Aintree efforts.

He said: 鈥淚 was thrilled with him. Davy (Russell) said the horse was never properly taking him but he just hung on in and hung on in. He was always going to stay. Davy was very brave going where he went at Becher鈥檚 Brook, we saved a lot of ground and that probably helped us get a couple of places closer.

鈥淗e loves the place, he鈥檚 got a great record here and we鈥檝e trained him for today and I鈥檓 very proud of him.?/p>

Russell, enjoying his best ever finish in the race, said Saint Are hit a flat spot before staying on well.

He added: 鈥淚 couldn鈥檛 go with them from the back of Becher鈥檚 and just hoped he would pass tired horses.

鈥淚 didn鈥檛 think at any stage he would win it, but I was riding for my best possible position and I think I achieved that. He was never on the bridle. I was shoving and shoving the whole way.?/p>

鈥淕ood honest horse. He took all the chances and he needed to take them. He loves it here and Tom had him in perfect condition for the race.

鈥淚 had to take all the chances. I needed every inch. I wanted him on the bridle for as long as possible. A couple of them passed me at the third last but I still had to wait because of the way he finishes his races

鈥淚f I had taken him off the bridle there I wouldn鈥檛 have finished. I was good over the last two and the horses in front got quite tired. He ran on well. It was my best experience of the race.?/p>

Vieux Lion Rouge (16) goes over Becher's Brook with fourth-placed Blaklion during the 2017 Randox Health Grand National on Saturday, April 8 2017 at Aintree Racecourse Picture by Craig Galloway
Vieux Lion Rouge (16) goes over Becher's Brook with fourth-placed Blaklion during the 2017 Randox Health Grand National on Saturday, April 8 2017 at Aintree Racecourse Picture by Craig Galloway

When well backed 8-1 favourite Blaklion moved to the front and went clear three fences from home he looked like the winner.

Under Noel Fehily it looked like he would provide trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies with a third victory in the National following successes aboard Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002).

But like the rest last year鈥檚 RSA Chase winner has no answer to One For Arthur鈥檚 late push for glory.

At just eight, he could easily come back for more in the future.

Twiston-Davies, who had to fight his way into the winner鈥檚 enclosure for the presentations afterwards, said: 鈥淗e took to it brilliantly and jumped lovely.

鈥淲e thought he鈥檇 won three out but he just ran out of puff. Never mind. He鈥檚 all right. He jumped lovely, everything went great. Well done to Peter (Scudamore), I鈥檓 delighted for them.

鈥淲e were just cantering along so Noel (Fehily) had to go. He jumped perfectly, everything went perfectly through the race but we didn鈥檛 win. It鈥檚 very sad but where else to you go to get £44,000 for coming fourth??/p>

Fehily added: 鈥淗e gave me a great ride, he jumped brilliantly but he just tied up a bit from two out.?/p>

Gas Line Boy came home in fifth under jockey Robbie Dunne for trainer Ian Williams.

The 11-year-old is owned by the Three Graces partnership of business associates Peter Thwaites, who is now based in Southport, and Wirral-based Peter Legros, whose company provided the steel for Dr Marwan Koukash鈥檚 Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Liverpool city centre.

His jockey Dunne said: 鈥淗e ran a cracker and jumped great. We got a lovely passage all the way. Perhaps I wouldn鈥檛 have won it but if I had sat a little bit longer we might have been third. I thought after we jumped the second last I thought we were going to win. He ran well and it was great to get a ride in the race.?/p>

Jockey Tom Scudamore, whose father Peter is the assistant trainer and partner of winner Russell, finished sixth on David Pipe鈥檚 Vieux Lion Rouge.

He looked to be a big danger coming to the business end of the race, before not quite getting home, similar to when he was seventh in last year鈥檚 National.

Scudamore said: 鈥淚 got a great run but the petrol emptied.?/p>

One of hard-luck stories of the race was the well-fancied Definitly Red, who had been 10lb well in and was a well-backed second favourite following his Grimthorpe Chase win at Doncaster, beating last year鈥檚 runner-up The Last Samuri - who finished 16th of the 19 finishers.

Brian Ellison鈥檚 eight-year-old, under Danny Cook, was badly hampered at Becher鈥檚 Brook on the first circult by the fall in front of him of The Young Master.

With a problem with his tack making riding on almost impossible, Cook had no choice but to pull him up two fences later.

He said: 鈥淭he tack slipped round his belly and there was nothing I could do from there unfortunately.?/p>

And yet again despite the usual thrills and spills all 40 horses and jockeys returned home safely.