Many Clouds won 12 of his 27 races under National Hunt Rules, including nine of his 18 steeplechases, and earned £928,000 in total prize money. However, the son of dual-purpose sire Cloudings will be forever immortalised as the winner of the Grand National in 2015.
A first winner of the world famous steeplechase for trainer Oliver Sherwood, but the second successive winner for jockey Leighton Aspell, after Pineau De Re in 2014, and a third winner for owner Trevor Hemmings, after Hedgehunter in 2005 and Ballabriggs in 2011, Many Clouds was attempting the National fences for the first time. Nevertheless, he had already proved himself a classy staying chaser, winning the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Betbright Cup prior to finishing sixth, behind Coneygree, in the Cheltenham Gold Cup en route to Aintree.
In the Grand National, he raced prominently throughout and, having been left in the lead by the fall of The Druids Nephew at the fifth last, galloped on relentlessly to win by 1¾ lengths from Saint Are, with Monberg Dude a further 6 lengths away in third. In so doing, Many Cloud, who carried 11st 9lb to victory, put up the best weight-carrying performance since Red Rum in 1974.
Less than two years after his Grand National triumph, in the Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham, Many Clouds lowered the colours of King George VI winner and Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite, Thistlecrack, for the first time over fences. Tragically, having won by a head, Many Clouds collapsed after the finishing line and, despite immediate attention from racecourse veterinary staff, died.
A subsequent post mortem, conducted by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) with the permission of owner Trevor Hemmings and trainer Oliver Sherwood, revealed the cause of death as severe pulmonary haemorrhage. Sherwood said afterwards, “He was beaten at the last and fought back in the last 50 yards to get up and win. It’s sad for Trevor and the team at Rhonehurst. I’ve been in the game 32 years now and horses like him don’t come along very often.”