(CNN) -- Neptune Collonges has become the first grey to win the Grand National, England's most iconic horse race, since 1961.
Trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Daryl Jacobs, the 11-year-old won by a nostril from the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Sunnyhill Boy.
It is the first Grand National win for legendary trainer Nicholls, who has trained 52 previous runners without success.
In third place was Seabass, ridden by Katie Walsh, who recorded the highest-placed finish by a female jockey in the history of the race.
The Grand National is one of the most recognizable events in the English sporting calendar which takes place annually at the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool.
The four-and-a-half mile course features 30 flights of jumps, some as large as five-feet high, including the notorious Chair and Becher's Brook fences.
The 2012 race got off to an inauspicious start after the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised was spooked on his way down to the start and unseated his jockey, AP McCoy.
McCoy eventually remounted and started the race, but Synchronised - who was bidding to become the first horse since Golden Miller in 1934 to win the Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season -- fell at the sixth fence and subsequently had to be put down.
The race was also marred by the death of another horse, According to Pete.
Aintree's managing director, Julian Thick said every effort is always made to make the event safe for everyone involved.
"Since last year's race we have made further significant changes to the course and there have been four races run over the course without serious incident since then," Thick said.
"After today, we will, as always, be looking at all aspects of this year's race to see how we can improve safety further," he added.
Earlier in the afternoon another veteran jockey, Ruby Walsh, suffered a fall in the Aintree Hurdle, ruling him out of the Grand National, where he had been due to ride On My Own.
The ride was taken by Paul Townend, although they, too, failed to finish.
But the Walsh family was still well-represented in the race, with the third-placed Seabass ridden by Ruby's sister Katie and trained by their father Ted.