Auroras Encore landed the John Smith's Grand National at 66/1 under Ryan Mania.
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Second in the Scottish version of the race at Ayr last season, the 11-year-old had lost his form this season but bounced back to form on better ground to take the world's most famous jumps race.
Cappa Bleu (12/1) made relentless late inroads into the winner's advantage in the final strides of the contest, but Auroras Encore had seized enough of a lead at the final fence to hold off all pursuers.
Teaforthree (10/1), always to the fore under Nick Scholfield, gave best only close home to come a creditable third, while 2011 runner-up Oscar Time (66/1) was fourth and Rare Bob (16/1) fifth.
It was reported soon after the race that no horses or jockeys had been injured - indeed a cheer went up from the crowd when it became apparent that all 40 runners were still standing until after Becher's Brook on the first circuit.
The winner had to survive a couple of substantial minor jumping errors but was never too far off the pace and his fencing improved as the race warmed up.
Of the well-fancied runners, Colbert Station unseated Tony McCoy at the Chair, On His Own just seemed to be struggling when falling at Valentine's Brook on the second circuit, while favourite Seabass travelled strongly two out but faded badly from that point and ultimately finished back in 13th.
Scottish-born rider Mania, who briefly gave up riding a couple of years ago when struggling for mounts, said: "There's no words to describe it, I got a dream ride all the way - I couldn't believe my luck.
"I couldn't fault the old horse. He was second in the Scottish National last year and I thought I should stay loyal to him and thank God I did.
"I never really had an anxious moment, he made a couple of mistakes, that's all.
"I knew he was capable, even though he hadn't been running well. This is always his time of year, but you couldn't be confident.
"Two years ago I gave up for six months because the rides had dried up, but Sue and Harvey took me in.
"I realise this will change my life, but I can't go too mad tonight because I am at Hexham tomorrow.
Bingley-based Smith added: "It's unbelievable - he gave him such a good ride.
"I knew the ground was right for him and hoped everything else was. He stayed down the middle and had a bit of luck in running. He didn't have a lot of weight and that helped, too.
"He's such a grand little horse, you can ride him anyway you like.
"I just feel sorry for the previous owners, who were wonderful and sold him because of ill health."
Smith's husband, the former world-famous showjumper Harvey Smith, said: "It's superb, absolutely spot-on.
"All the horses have come back in one piece. Everyone has worked hard to get it as a safe course and that has proved it today.
"This race will go on forever, look at the public - it goes out worldwide and you can't beat it."
There were 17 finishers to the race, with Any Currency the last of those to complete the course.