Few believed that Jason Titley's mount had come out best in the photo, but the announcement of the result was greeted with a roar of enthusiasm by members of the In Touch Racing Club and Mudahim's many supporters.
Titley had congratulated Francis Woods, rider of Amble Speedy, as they pulled up.
And having dismounted from the winner, which was sore after the race, Titley guided his mount into the number two position in the parade ring. And Amble Speedy's trainer Arthur Moore warned Woods not to commit himself to the winner's enclosure until after the announcement.
"I thought he was beaten," said jubilant Jenny Pitman.
"He's a really brave horse. He was in front a long time, but fought back well when headed on the run-in.
"Jason said 'Sorry, Mrs P' when he came in, but I'm absolutely delighted.
"I've had Mudahim only since October and I originally planned to run him at Aintree.
"But I decided he was not ready for that and I thought the fences here would suit him well. I've won all the Nationals now - Aintree twice, the Welsh three times, the Scottish, even the Midlands a few times, and now this.
"If I win at Aintree on Saturday, with either Smiths Band or Nahthen Lad, I'll probably pack my bags."
Owned by the 300-member In Touch Racing Club, Mudahim worked hard as he kept the chasing pack at bay from the fourth last fence.
The field had to bypass the next two fences due to the fatal falls earlier of stable companions Coq Hardi Affair and The Latvian Lark.
But Amble Speedy, towards the rear for most of the trip, arrived with a well-timed challenge approaching the final fence.
They rose together but Amble Speedy hit it hard giving the initiative to Mudahim.
Amble Speedy rallied and edged ahead. But in the last fifty yards he drifted slightly to his left, giving Mudahim and Titley another chance. They seized it in the last stride.
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1997|
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