County Waterford trainer Henry de Bromhead, who saddled the first and second horses in this year's Aintree Grand National, has described his success there and before that at Cheltenham as beyond his wildest dreams.

Mr de Bromhead returned to his yard early this morning after travelling overnight from Liverpool, via a ferry between Hollyhead and Dublin.

He was able to report that Grand National winner Minella Times, owned by JP McManus and ridden to victory by Rachael Blackmore, was in fine form after the trip.

Prior to yesterday's success at Aintree, Mr de Bromhead became the first trainer to have won the Champion Hurdle, the Champion Chase and the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. His horses won all three races at last month's festival.

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Speaking from his home at Knockeen outside Waterford - where he's self-isolating after his return from Liverpool - Mr de Bromhead told RTÉ News that success on that scale was beyond his wildest dreams.

"These are races you dream of winning growing up. I have watched all my life and to finish first and second in the Grand National, it's just incredible," he said.

Stable companion Balko des Flos, also trained by Mr de Bromhead and ridden by Aidan Coleman, finished in second place, while a third horse from the stable, Chris' Dream unseated jockey Dara O'Keeffe at the fourth last jump.

Mr de Bromhead paid tribute to Minella Times' jockey Rachael Blackmore.

Rachael Blackmore

"Rachael was brilliant on Minella Times," he said. "She was getting a lively run, mainly down the inner, weaving in and out here and there - she seemed to be spotting trouble even before it happened.

"Obviously we had a lot of luck, which you need in races like that."

He also paid tribute to owner JP McManus and his family who, he said, were brilliant supporters of racing.

"I have grown up watching his horses and even to have some to train for them is fantastic, and to win a race like this is just incredible," Mr de Bromhead said.

He said he had around 40 people working in his yard, and yesterday's win wouldn't be lost on any of them.

Mr de Bromhead took over the stables at Knockeen from his father Harry in 2000 and Harry was among a small group of proud family members at the yard for the return of Minella Times.

Minella Times

Assistant Trainer Davy Roche, who has been at the yard for over a decade, said it was difficult to put into words what yesterday's Aintree victory meant to everyone working there.

"We are very lucky," he said. "We are working with good horses and we have good people working for us and it just makes work very, very easy."

Head Lad at Henry de Bromhead Racing, Emmett Raher, described the success as "unbelievable".

"Even waking up this morning: six o'clock - I couldn't believe it. It's just all your dreams come true to win a grand national and for everyone involved in the yard it's absolutely amazing," he said.

Minella Times will spend the summer on grass as his reward for yesterday's success, before his next move will be considered in the autumn.