Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Merryman II Wows Aintree with a Resounding 1960 Grand National Win

Merryman II Wows Aintree with a Resounding 1960 Grand National Win
Marking the 114th unveiling of the annual Grand National horse race, the 1960 version was held at Aintree Racecourse, close to Liverpool(England) on 26 March 1960. The hotly-contested title went to Merryman II, a 9-year-old runner who had joined the famous chase at the impressive odds of 13-2...becoming the first top favorite to carry the ultimate jackpot in 33 years. 

There was yet another historical first: the winning jockey was only 22 years then - one unstoppable Gerry Scott. Despite the great odds, few sports pundits expected the young rider to come out thus victorious, having suffered serious collarbone injuries a mere fortnight earlier. 

The largest weight was officially brought down from 12 stone 7 lbs to 12 stone, albeit no horse had borne that particularly hefty load over the past decade. The second place was claimed by Badaloch, steered by Stan Mellor, a striking feat for the initially poorly-rated pair who run at the dismal odds of 100-7. 

Coming hot on Badaloch's agile heels was Clear Profit, excellently ridden by Jumbo Wilkinson...a predictably fine showing for a sturdy runner entering the tough clash as a 20-1 favorite. Tea Fiend commanded the fourth position, not-so-badly piloted by the hard-fighting Gerry Madden. The 1960 meet made an indelible record as the first National to be televised live. The undoubtedly talented guy in studio was the irreplaceable David Coleman. He's best remembered for announcing to an emotion-stirred worldwide viewership that they were the proud witnesses of a rare broadcast phenomenon. 

To fittingly immortalise the epoch-making affair, the BBC dispatched a record 16 cameras to the ecstatic field. The thoroughly equipped media crew was headed by the media giant's Peter O'Sullevan. Having severally brought the activity-packed proceedings to millions of attentive ears on the radio before, none suited this historical juncture better than the accomplished commentating doyen. 

Completely unknown to the extensively accredited journalist, this would turn out to be his first of 37 televisions of the once-a-year event. He'd later open up on the inevitable nervousness that characterized that maiden coverage...at once admitting that his tetchy nerves got all the more worsened by a sometimes faltering monitor and limited view. All in all so confessed the legendary screen ace, the first-of-its-kind journalistic experiment went on fine. 

Assisting commentator Peter Bromley remembered the staggering tower erected in the middle of the people-packed field. Despite the restricted view blamed by the leading voice at his side, he recalled that the lofty elevation still gave them a fairly enlarged view of the frenzied goings-on in the main arena. 

The only problem was that the seemingly unstable thing kept wobbling with every fresh foot-thrust, making him feel a little unsafe up there. He nevertheless got quite encouraged to see a few of his close chums on the same staggering platform. These included late Ryan's wife Dorothy and Fred Winters's wife Di, both special guests at the big event. 

Fred Winter had enrolled for the year's tourney, steering Dandy Scot for Ryan; and so the anxious women decided to occupy an advantageous position so as follow the unfolding scenes below as keenly as possible. And Mr. Bromley quickly lauded them for taking that bold climb to the very brink of the slightly swaying scaffolding. 

The chief cause of the two excited ladies' adventurous efforts would nonetheless soon fizzle out at the Canal Turn. The uneasy Bromley's action-hungry binoculars almost fell, as unfortunate Fred joined them on the shaky dais, giving him an unsettling tap on the hand to announce his unexpected presence, yelling "Watcha Cock!" 

Even more riveting than the lively accounts of the first televised Grand National was tender Merryman II's clearly laudable masterstroke. Well, most of us will say that the eventual winner's excellent performance had been largely harbingered by his shiny starting odds. 

That could be chiefly true...the victorious horse appeared to have what it took to beat the rest. But the emphatic success acquires a totally new face once you consider the whole fact that young Gerry Scott run bandage-strapped from the neck all the way down to the waist. He had broken his collarbone just 12 days to that momentous race! 

Also notable, the winning duo's odds-beating performance gave Neville Trump(Merryman II's trainer) his third National win. 

As a final shocker to the already surprised reader, it would further be shocking to realize that the leading horse would not have taken part in the 1960 Aintree race, save for another fluke-like coincidence. He was but an impulse purchase on behalf of the Marquess of Linlithgow, former Viceroy of India.


Monday, 4 November 2019

Michael Scudamore & Oxo Grab the Prestigious 1959 Grand National Jackpot



The annually-held Grand National championships are a pretty fantastic time for gaming enthusiasts from all over the world. And such a typically fabulous racing occasion was the 1959 National, which buzzy sporting contest was won by Oxo, a still little-known horse at the time.

This marked the 113th unveiling of the famously competitive horse-riding affair...usually run at the Aintree Racecourse, a few miles from Liverpool in England. Taking place on 21 March, it has been fittingly remarked as being one of the most exciting versions ever, with a couple of firsts that rendered it a particularly memorable clash.

The event's ultimate victory went to the 8/1 Oxo, shepherded by the evidently skillful Michael Scudamore, a jockey of real tenacious zeal. The unanticipated winner had been trained by Willie Stephenson.

The iconic race drew a total of thirty-four horses, including the defending champion, Mr. What, who finished third. The second place went to Wyndburgh, a tough horse who would go on to enroll for a couple of other future clashes. However, he at large ended up without inking any other similarly victorious career records.

The 1959 staging involved a characteristically large number of in-field accidents, with a single fatality. Henry Purcell was one of the few unlucky jockeys who suffered an early fall at the Becher's Brook, a somewhat spooky harbinger that portended the occurrence of thirteen other pace-killing mishaps.

Following Purcell in the slowly unfolding string of falls was Slippery Serpent, who conked out at the 13th fence. The terminally injured runner was eventually euthanized as a result of irrecoverable fracture problems, one week after the ill-fated sprint. The ensuing encumbrances attracted a great deal of negative coverage by animal lovers and equestrian opponents from across the globe.

Actually, a major debate on these questionable accidents convened in the British parliament...to discuss for the umpteenth time the very obvious brutalities previously associated with equine games. The Home Secretary, Rab Butler, was arraigned before the local National Hunt Committee and asked to respond to the growing concerns voiced by various global fraternities opposed to the time-honored animal sport.

The winning horse was only a little bay gelding raised up in Dorset by one A.C. Wyatt. Being generally inexperienced in top-cadre professional sprints, very few actually expected him to come out with such a record-setting performance. He nevertheless easily pierced the proverbial ceiling to take home the year's jackpot.

The 1959 winner was only eight years old when he attained this picture-perfect success. He was owned by Jack Biggs but instructed by Willie Stephenson around Royston...a doubtless fine horse handler domiciled in Hertfordshire, also Stephenson's close buddy and valued professional partner.

Michael Scudamore received wide-ranging accolades for the classic feat. He's especially celebrated as a truly dexterous rider who ably steered a sheer starter with the shiny odds of 8/1, a second favorite, to a distinguished finish. He had to beat the mighty challenge posed by Wyndburgh, who missed the top prize by one and a half lengths.

Michael Scudamore, the number-one rider of the year, was born on 17 July 1932. He was a locally admired equine maverick who dominated numerous English National Hunt sporting meets in the 1950s and 1960s. He capably captained to excellent finishes many illustrious runners, a glittering catalogue of victories capped by his winning 1959 National atop Oxo.
Moreover, he took a prominent part in 16 uninterrupted Aintree tournaments, with Oxo's stunt entering history books as his most noteworthy racing feat. The hardworking jockey is also famed for having ridden Linwell - a relatively renowned horse best remembered for winning 1957 Gold Cup.

Mr. Scudamore's sufficiently decorated equestrian gaming career hit a final snag in 1966, due to grave racetrack accidents. The determined rider developed severe health complications after a serious fall while on a chance ride, on Snakestone, at Wolverhampton. These led to multiple fractures and a problematic lung, eventually causing near-blindness in one eye.

None to be easily deterred by any small upsets, the unconquerable riding doyen carried on with his horse training career until his demise four decades later. Michael Scudamore continues to be deservedly eulogized as one of the modern world's most outstanding equestrian talents of all time. To say the least, he's a lasting motivation to upcoming jockeys and seasoned gamers alike.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

1958 Grand National – Mr. What Stuns All with a 30-Length Victory



The 1958 Grand National was the 112th unveiling of the internationally famous Grand National equestrian sporting showdown that occurred at Aintree Racecourse, close to Liverpool in England, on 29th March 1958. The widely followed event attracted a total of 31 contenders who were competing for then-record prizemoney nearly £14,000.

The ultimate champion happened to be the 18-1 Mr. What, outdistancing number two by a whopping 30 lengths. This winning horse was steered by jockey Arthur Freeman and coached by Tom Taaffe senior...becoming the fifth contestant to clinch the grand title since the Second World War.

According to reports sports news reports doing rounds at the time, jockey Pat Taaffe should have steered Mr. What instead Arthur Freeman. He, however, missed the much-sought chance to ride his father-trained horse and make the unique history that comes with such striking firsts in the competitive racing world.

Aged only eight years at that time, and proudly owned by David Coughlan, the promising gelding happened to be winning a major derby title for the very first time. Those in the know will nevertheless bear in mind the fact that the same equine champion had participated in sundry other sporting showdowns before, most without any exemplary results.

It is also important to note that Arthur Freeman served as the Queen Mother's professional rider...and that not many racing fans really expected him to achieve such an awesome feat that very sporting season. Putting up 6 lb(equivalent to 2.7 kg) overweight, the trophy-winning pair appeared hugely favored by the prevailing precarious ground conditions of the time. It was all seemingly credible to the unmistakable preparedness of the triumphant pair and the other stakeholders(including the trainer and owner) that possibility such a colorful victory that day.

Although the champion horse appears to have been largely favored by the tricky conditions that ruined chances for closest rivals, the year witnessed the longest winning distance. Mr. Freeman won by a staggering 30 lengths - a rather huge winning gap unwitnessed in many other similar races before, or even long after.

Keen followers of the annual racing event will remember that 1958 The national champion would continue to participate in the succeeding years...somehow inking nearly equally spectacular records - maintaining a third position in the 1959 and 1962 unveilings. 

Nonetheless, Mr. What did not win any other Grand National title or excel thus exceptionally in any other similarly high-profile equine competition.

The winning duo survived two pretty encumbering blunders - at the very last jumping point and at the Becher's brook. The impact of these potentially destabilizing obstacles got summarily swept away by the sheer wisdom of the old proverb that it's indeed well that which ends well.

The two midtrack mishaps, however, proved costly, as Arthur was later diagnosed with minor head injuries that greatly affected his sporting career. He resorted to training at Suffolk, at which later equine instruction station he churned out excellent products such as Tibidabo...that unforgettable sprinter who won the National Hunt Centenary in 1966. This minor victory was nevertheless nothing compared to his unforgettable big day back in 1958.
He was all the same able to make do with other averagely rewarding victories in several other fairly rewarding races like Juvenile Hurdle on Le Bel and King George VI Chase using Lochroe. These post-1958 successes served to portray the prizewinning jockey as a real history-changing equestrian icon of superlative skill.

Arthur was born on January 7th, 1926 - to a Zetland huntsman named Bill Freeman. He began by racing on the flat in 1939 for George Lambton, a Newmarket trainer of remarkable repute. And he actually came from an illustrious pedigree of great racers that included his elder brother Bill's riding a Cap-A-Pie to emerge first in the Ebor for Lord Derby.
Having had a colorful stint in the war as an infantryman, Arthur came out rather battle-hardened go-getter and ready for gritty action on crowded racecourses. And he in such contests excelled with tremendous success, his 1958 National being crystal-clear evidence of this fact.

A season later, he rode as second jockey (behind Dick Francis); a tough assignment that he capably undertook for Peter Cazaletat, a major in the local military ranks.

In 1955, he steered the French-trained M'As-Tu-Vu for the Queen Mother, thus taking a prominent part in the year's National. He again tried his luck in the same event the following year, without much success, finishing nineteenth.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Monty's Pass Takes 2003 Grand National

Monty's Pass Takes 2003 Grand National
Monty’s Pass inked a breathtaking win during the 2003 Grand National showpiece, held at England’s Liverpool’s Aintree racecourse. The noteworthy event is also referred to as the Martell Grand National, in an enduring centuries-old effort to commemorate the lucky bearers of the year’s sponsorship privileges. The apparently in-form 10-year-old won attained these laudable accolades under the adroit ride of one Barry Geraghty – a really experienced equestrian sportsman of longstanding status.

The chiefly fortunate winning rider and galloper are both internationally viewed as astonishingly gifted racetrack competitors. The champion horse had been trained in Ireland by Jimmy Mangan and smartly outran the second runner to come first by a decisive victory margin of 12 lengths!

Obviously, this wonderful job not only entered history’s fairest chronicles as one of the biggest winning margins ever but also ranked among Aintree’s swiftest cases: 9 minutes and 21.7 seconds! Plainly stated, it was the creditably rare sort of distinguishing conquests that most well-knowing equine sporting aficionados would naturally expect from a richly endowed racer of Geraghty’s singular skill and endurance.

The usually 4.5-mile course attracted the regular field of 40 contenders, with only a paltry 14 of them completing the conventionally designated circuit. One of the most discrete aspects that defined the really testing showdown was the unforgettable high number of immobilizing horse injuries and jockeys casualties witnessed that memorable day. A notable case in point – the altogether unsuccessful Warren Marston and his likewise unlucky ride Goguenard lost the entire showpiece after stampeding into a crashing melee at the 19th fence
.

You Never Walk Alone, a previous top favourite with the crowds - mostly due to a prior cosy dalliance with the Liverpool Football Club – ended up with a broken leg…instead of the eagerly awaited first-position medals and laurels. Even though the minor harm was shortly effectively restored, it had seemingly cost the pair the whole race, already. A fairly little-known rider Gerry Supple also faced a lot of obstacles that included a terribly fractured wrist and a wrecked nose.

Ruby Walsh’s Willy had been 2003’s leading pre-match favourite, his decent prospects having momentarily risen after a terrific display of prowess in the Gold Cup tourney, staged earlier at Haydock. The 7-1 shot however extinguished the wildly soaring crowd hopes as he sluggishly trailed top sprinters throughout the heated chase…ultimately pulling up at the 21st fence, at which fateful juncture the previously highly favoured choice encountered a terminal mishap.

Iris Bleu was another noteworthy contester who had elicited a huge deal of interest among spectators and bookmakers alike. The proud riding choice of the sufficiently renowned Tony McCoy’s had joined the clash as an 8-1 joint-favourite, a clear contrast when casually compared to the eventual winner’s 16-1 entry odds.


Monty’s Pass’s ratings had barely improved a few hours before the start of the annual confrontation – inching markedly closer to the crest from the originally predicted success chances of 40-1. Some sports media outlets like the accurate Racing Post had forecast the outstanding win some months to the ultimate yearly tussle.


Barry Geraghty’s triumph earned simultaneous honours for Dee Racing as they owned the 2003 event’s top-ranked galloper. Some of the well-known horse-owning establishment’s executive caught by media cameras celebrating this new achievement included Ian Rose, Noel Murphy, Muir Higginson, and Adam Armstrong. The evenly happy trainer Jimmy Mangan joined the tiny excited crew in relishing the extraordinary performance, their bliss-filled faces radiating heroic gleams in the searing spring sun. 


When he was finally reached for news comment, Geraghty simply described the whole conquest as a vivid authentication of his tireless practice, skill, and an undeniable measure of providential luck…maintaining the pompous air of the real sporting ace he still is today – wearing an evidently surefooted pro’s pose seeming to unflinchingly ask, “Who didn’t know Barry Geraghty does win these things, after all?” 

Tirelessly trailing Barry Geraghty and Monty’s Pass was Leighton Aspell, mounting the tenacious Supreme Glory. The third position went to Graham Lee and Amberleigh House; the horse who went ahead to clinch the 2004 National title. Barry Fenton finished fourth, atop the fairly dauntless Gunner Welburn. Lastly, Joe Tizzard steered Montifault to a quite-commendable number-five finish…and thus expediently earned himself a snug slot in the memorable roll of the big day’s five most impressive contestants.




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Thursday, 10 October 2019

Bob's Worth Inimitable Racing Career - 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup & Other Notable Sporting Exploits



A rare record graced Bob's Worth's glistering gaming career after winning the extensively coveted Gold Cup 2013 title. The unassailable champion became the very first racing star to bag a consecutive string of three Cheltenham wins since the unbeatable Flyingbolt in the 1960s. It was such a thrilling moment - as the helplessly ecstatic multitudes roared their deafening cheers, and as the victory-smelling trailblazer gained momentum to pass Sir Des Champs and Long Run close to the final fence, with adequate tenacity still left to outdistance the two rivals by a whopping 7 lengths. Just as the proud rider remarked, the indefatigable winner proved to be such a truly brave and professional horse - an outstanding gold medalist of real unparalleled repute.
It was such an immensely happy moment for trainer Nicky Henderson as his horse came out as the overall best in a widely viewed Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, with an equally successful stablemate Long Run emerging third in the same globally famous mete. This godsend breakthrough came even as the remarkably celebrated gamer was marking his 50th year of unparalleled racing stardom. The internationally revered training maverick praised Barry Geraghty ever so profusely for having patiently but skillfully ridden the star-studded victor to such a breathtaking record-breaking finish.
The decisive performance was, however, a near miracle, according to a tearfully delighted Geraghty who confessed to having sensed a possible decline in his mount mid-way the course. In fact, the successful showing was attributable to his skillful management of the winner's apparently diminished energy throughout the colorful sprint, the title-emboldened rider said, amid cheers from thousands of congratulating fans.
Held on 15 March 2013, this was the 85th annual running of the Cheltenham Gold Cup horse race. Just as the name already tellingly suggests, the electrifying event was held at Cheltenham Racecourse, an enduring tradition that has continued for numerous years ever since the decade-old yearly function's first staging. It featured a total of nine horses - out of whom the 11/4 favorite Bobs Worth emerged the overall winner. The second and third places were grabbed by Sir Des Champs and Long Run(also trained by Henderson) respectively. The outstandingly colorful tournament was broadcast on channel 4 throughout the UK and Ireland.
Foaled on 21st May in 2005, the Irish-bred but British-trained racehorse is now considered to be among the most gifted thoroughbreds in the entire annals of English equestrian gaming fraternity. Having also emerged top in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle in 2011, the newly crowned champion is an indisputably formidable figure throughout Europe and beyond. Additionally, the gallant star outdid several other equally endowed runners to attain gold in the RSA Chase in 2012, thus making him the first-ever lucky mount since Flyingbolt in the 1960s to clinch three different races of intercontinental interest. The star-decorated sensation also bagged the globally famed Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury within the same racing period. Although he was painstakingly trained by the now-doubly-happy Nicky Henderson, Bobs Worth still remains under the proud ownership of the Not Afraid Partnership.
The legendary winner began his racing career during the 2009/10 sporting phase, the National Hunt season. Participating in two notable meets, he grabbed the top position in one while emerging second in the other, both at Kempton Park. The gold-seeking sporting icon followed this up with a deserved victory at Cheltenham. Ridden by this very capably seasoned jockey - Barry Geraghty - the naturally lucky horse went ahead to win a two and a half hurdle tournament at Cheltenham, at the same venue where he made history on 15th March 2013.
Already emboldened by the yesteryear's commendable performances in various racetrack events, the intensely admired 11/4 favorite entered the heavily contested Cheltenham Gold Cup tournament. According to the unanimous views expressed by some respected commentators and equestrian sporting pundits, Bobs Worth appeared quite unlikely to beat other tough-fighting racing giants since he looked somehow hampered at the third fence - still an estimated 8 lengths behind Long Run. While the actual gallops and magical hops that actually followed after this clearly unfavorable juncture remain subject the varying opinions and conjectures of keen spectators, it was extremely unbelievable for all to finally see Geraghty outdistance Sir Des Champs by a whole 7 lengths to earn a third consecutive Cheltenham title.
A bay gelding bred and nurtured by Mrs. L Eadie, Bobs Worth's dam was dubbed Fashionista - a daughter of George VI favorite champion King's Theatre. The internationally recognized champ is also closely related to Burton Port and Bob Back - both spectacularly talented participants in various top-cadre tourneys such as Epsom Derby and Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Again, the 2013 title winner is also a close relative of Roberto - the extensively remembered earner of 1972 Epsom Derby championships. Going by the foregoing genealogical highlights, it seems abundantly clear that the experienced gamer has in their most innate genetic canyons all it takes to outrun even the most unforgiving of his racecourse competitors.
Unlike other racers that slump into near oblivion after a glimmering sporting bout, Bobs Worth has continued to post extraordinarily colorful results after his 2015 Cheltenham breathtaking feat. For instance, the timeless hero struck a rare seasonal debut in the Betfair Chase - held at Haycock Park Racecourse in November, the same year. Starting as a 15/8 favorite in a particularly tough contest featuring longstanding luminaries such as Silviniaco Conti, Tidal Bay, and Long Run. However, the already world-lauded star was not in his best form. Consequently, Geraghty eased him down and maintained a comparatively moderate speed, eventually finishing sixth. At this placement, the remarkably unfit Bobs stood a total of 40 lengths behind Cue Card - the title-clinching horse.
Bob's steadily shining gaming skill remained inextinguishable even throughout the 2015/16 racing season. Specifically, the sensational runner enjoyed a successful start of his novel campaign in the Betfred Hurdle on 7th November 2015, effectively reestablishing his diminished standings after being expelled as the outsider of 5 runner field. This laudable achievement was Bob's first participation in hurdles meet after a show-stopping victory at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival. What's even more enthrallingly commendable is the fact that the brave sporting idol remained unbeaten until he came third during the World Hurdle at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.

Friday, 4 October 2019

1969 Highland Wedding Wins Grand National for Toby Balding

1969 Highland Wedding Wins Grand National for Toby Balding
The 1969 Grand National marked the 123rd vibrant unveiling of the Grand National equestrian racing competition that happened at the timeless Aintree Racecourse, close to Liverpool in England. The event took place on 29 March that year and was won by Highland Wedding. 

The overall winner was a fairly less-known contender who was participating in the international meet for the third consecutive round. Rather coincidentally, the actually twelve-year-old runner triumphed by a 12-length distance! 

The title-winning horse was ridden by jockey Eddie Harty and had been trained by Toby Balding. Prior to Harty’s clincher performance, all eyes had been on Red Alligator - the big day’s prime favourite at the beginning of the monumental tourney. The top-rated pick’s hitherto shiny prospects, however, took an abrupt nosedive when he suffered an irreparable fall at the 9th fence. 

The champion gelding had come a long way. His first participation in the historical clash was during the 1967 gaming season. Nevertheless, that initial trial did not prove very fruitful for the then hardly seasoned rookie – he only managed position eight. 

The following year’s National attempt would become the gradually-improving contester’s second effort, this time marking a slight step-up by finishing seventh. The up-to-that-time-uncelebrated vanquisher surprised many with his amazing victory when he came out first, barely three years into the nationwide sporting extravaganza. 

Highland Wedding was bred by John Caldwell of Ayrshire; formerly acquired from Canadian and American equine gaming enthusiasts Charles Burns and Thomas McCoy. Paying honourable tribute to his former owners, the gelding ran the first race donning Canada’s colours. And, upon that maiden plunge proving chiefly unsuccessful, he in 1968 tried redeeming missed fortunes by wearing Canadian tints again…which, sadly, proved only slightly more rewarding than the preceding shot. 

With these shades harbingering possible further losses, Burns thoughtfully shifted to the more captivating United States colours and registered resounding success herein described. The 1969 Grand National triumph has however been mainly attributed to the starring jockey’s huge dashing finesse. 

Trainer Toby Balding’s colossal coaching experience has on the other hand not escaped the kudos of reasoned views worldwide. They assert that it’s the evenly shared input of both the masterful rider and the astute instructor that birthed that epoch-shaping Aintree victory. 

Yet, a positively persuading number of on-looking fans rest out-and-out convinced that the brilliant racing skill of the riding ace must have brought evidently much more into the day’s eye-dazzling showing. 

The expectedly happy Mr. Balding could be seen hugging and patting on the back his partners immediately Harty put a seal to the animated chase. And a swift media briefing came up few minutes after the exemplary feat…with both thankful supporters and kin huddled close to the all-smiling champion. 

He confided feeling extremely elated at the excellent performance by a horse he highly appreciated as a “total product” of the larger “system”. 

As the interview carried on into those usual privy details descriptive of such victories, Balding explained that the jackpot-clinching contestant caught his fancy on television. He’d later obtain him for a friend and client Peter Calver, who doubled up as an amiable neighbour back at his main residence. 

Little did he know – or he so movingly confessed to media interrogators – that the ordinary-looking acquisition would wrap up such terrific honours a short time later. 

Highland Wedding seems to be one of the very few National titleholders with particularly long and tremendously dappled pre-winning histories. Prior to his being sold to Burns and McCoy, he’d done incredibly well in the Eider Race…during which noteworthy Newcastle tournament he’d emerged first. 

Upon this 1966 proof of spotless talent, the not-yet-well-known runner’s prospects began to brighten progressively and finally inched into the top three Aintree favourites. 

Harty and his indomitable charge had had it all apparently well-planned, even the two preceding editions in which he didn’t exactly impress as much…only that luck seemed to have twice eschewed him at the second Belcher’s Brook. 

This is the jinxed spot where the future hero’s erstwhile impressive momentum eased into inexplicably fizzled out in both 1967 and 1968. He, even so, seized the following version’s more favourable occasion to salvage the gleaming glory that had eluded him before. 

Prominent English and Irish equine racing opinion leaders have since especially applauded the 1969 victorious team’s sheer optimism. With the same horse having lost two consecutive battles at the same venue, it should have looked practically useless fronting him a third time. But that what the Balding-led bunch did, and easily prevailed against real insurmountable odds! 

It’s also worth pointing out the main fact that both Eddie Harty and his indomitable mount displayed a cleverly pre-calculated mix of resilience and restraint in the opening circuit. They only started to loom ever constantly larger on the leading group a minute or so into the second circuit. 

Then a rare shaming faux pas occurred, as the booming commentator’s voice erroneously declared that Harty and galloper had fallen. But he’d soon find himself outright stunned when the reportedly fate-trapped pair commanded an increasingly widening gap beginning from the Canal Turn.


In the end, the stark contrast ultimately happened – Eddie Harty (a past Olympic rider) and Highland Wedding pulled off an indelible 12-length victory!


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Thursday, 23 May 2019

Beginners Guide to Betting the Grand National

The Grand National is one of those races that doesn't need an introduction. Taking place at Aintree, Liverpool it is the world's most famous steeplechase. It is viewed by millions of racing fans who keep coming back for more. 

What makes the Grand National different from many horse races is that the whole family love to bet. Everyone sits around the box (TV) in the corner ready for the race to begin. This year, our household will be like so many across the UK. Checking the colour of their horse, remembering its name and, of course, taking note of the betting odds. 

I'm sure you are like me, calculating the winnings before the first fence has been jumped.

(In fact, even before the race has started.) 

That reminds me, set the reminder on your phone for 5:15 pm, Aintree, Saturday, 6th April 2019. 

Get seated. A nice cup of tea and a couple of biscuits to mop up any spillage from your saucer as the excitement builds. Now here's the important part. The Beginners Guide to Betting on the Grand National. Here you can bet on the Grand National and claim a free bet. It's important because so many bookmakers want you to bet with them so you can receive bigger odds or bonuses by shopping around. 

Let's take a quick review of the betting for the 2019 Grand National. The likely favourite is Tiger Roll who won the Grand National in 2018. Could this horse be another Red Rum who won three times in the 1970s? Only time will tell, but he's here with a favourite's chance. Tiger Roll could be worth a bet at 10/1

Other fancies include Rathvinden, who is in good form after winning comfortably on his return to racing at Fairyhouse in February. Bookies have this bay gelding, trained by Irishman Willie Mullins, priced 12/1. You have to go back to 2005 when Hedgehunter won for the stable. A long time between drinks! 

A horse which may go well at speculative odds is Elegant Escape. This seven-year-old may be a touch immature for a race of this stature. His trainer, Colin Tizzard, is still looking forward to his first National winner. On the plus side, this rare talent has won the Welsh National, which is often a good indicator of a horse's chance, and he's earmarked as a possible Gold Cup winner.

Anibale Fly finished fourth in last year's National. Can Tony Martin's charge defy the weights after that sparkling effort? This gelding is owned by legendary punter J P McManus who won with Don't Push It (2010), the year Tony McCoy finally won got the monkey off his back to taste victory in the getting steeplechase of them all. 

Whichever horse you bet, lady luck can decide your fate. The likes of Foinavon, who won at odds of 100/1 in 1967. His owner gave him so little chance he went to a different racecourse to watch a different horse! For those betting for the first time, here are a few pointers. Even though it doesn't seem very scientific you may get lucky by following a favourite name, colour or number. Remember there are 40 runners! (In case you have a penchant for the number 53). The betting odds are often shortened toward the start of the race, so take a price when placing your bet. Simply say: ''Can I take the price, please!'' and you are likely to see the benefit come to the starting price (SP). 

Other than that, please, if you are sitting next to your old gran and her horse hits the front, watch out for that boiling cup of tea. 

Good luck.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Sundew Inks a Spectacular Win in the 1957 Grand National

The 1957 Grand National was the 111th staging of the annual Grand National steeplechase at Aintree Racecourse, located in Liverpool, England. The widely watched championships were won by Sundew, a 20/1 shot who'd already shown a great deal of racetrack prowess in a couple of other preceding equestrian meets. 

The event’s overall winner was spectacularly ridden by Fred Winter, the proud product of Frank Hudson’s terrific training genius. It is actually one of the most accurately predicted wins that did not disappoint the optimistic guess of fans. The top pair's resounding victory also doubles up as one of the best winning margins ever. 

It happened to be Sundew's third round to try the international race's widely coveted jackpot, having fruitlessly fought for similar honours previously - in 1955, and again in the 1956 Nationals. 

The event attracted an odd number of thirty-five horses, unlike the modern day customary count of forty contenders. While much of the occasion's facts and figures remain shrouded in mystery, a fair number of snapshots still immortalize the thrilling racecourse spectacle. 

A rather striking aspect of that year's clash was that all the participants finally managed to safely return to the stables. This places the 1957 Grand National among the most casualty-free of all such meets that have been held since their inception, well over two centuries ago.  

The winning jockey - Fredrick Thomas Winter - entered British National Hunt's racing annals as the only guy to win the Grand National both as a jockey and trainer. It's a genuinely infrequent exploit attained by very other riders and trainers in the favourite game's richly variegated history. 

In particular, the iconic equestrian maverick emerged four times victorious in the British jump racing champion. As a further testament to his limitless gaming prowess, the unbowed equine sporting ace reigned eight times as a National Hunt winning trainer.

Thus his 1957 National victory atop Sundew did not come as a totally unforeseen achievement...for, even as his entry odds quite easily prove, the successful runner had severally shown a great deal of really promising sprinting ├ęclat in key preceding tourneys.

His most illustrious racetrack feat probably came in 1962, when he inked a pretty unforgettable victory on Mandarin; during the Grand Steeplechase de Paris at the famous Auteuil. All these impregnable stunts were despite the fact that the industrious jockey was a bit unwell, and his horse wasn't in the best shape either.

Born on 20 September 1926, the English equestrian legend went down history books as one of the most finessed horse riders to ever achieve unimaginably huge gaming fame at a really tender age...hence becoming all the more commendable when you consider the fairytale-like additional that he doubled up as a trainer as well. 

The always triumphant man of horses would eventually breathe his last in 2004, aged 77 years. Adoring tributes swiftly began to trickle in from all the four corners of the earth, fittingly commemorating the awards-decorated life of a truly iconic man of extraordinary horse-riding talent. 

Even today, Fred Winter still occupies a highly prestigious slot in the whole history of British horse-gaming fraternity for a multiplicity of notable reasons. 

He was, for instance, the only professional rider to clinch first-place titles in three of Europe's most important equine championships. For these uncommonly outstanding racing milestones, Winter was declared CBE in 1963. And remains an exceedingly auspicious description he shares with very few other equestrian champions, even among the present crop of 21st-century gaming celebrities. 

For a swift recap, the leading horse in the 1957 Grand National Sundew, aged years then. The second place went to a fairly unknown horse dubbed Wyndburgh, ridden by Jockey Michael Batchelor. Clear details about the respective prize monies pocketed by the respective top finishers do however remain rather scanty up to the current moment. 

The third position went to Tiberretta who was steered by Alan Houghton. The fourth place was claimed by Glorious Twelfth/Jumbo Wilkinson and The Crofter/Jimmy Power pairs respectively. 

Hart Royal, Virginius, and Rendezvous III are listed among the memorable day's most notable non-finishers. However, as has earlier been noted above, the time-honoured race did not witness that many mid-circuit mishaps leading to fatalities.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

1967 Foinavon Wins Grand National at Odds of 100/1

1967 Foinavon Wins Grand National at Odds of 100/1
Held on 8 April, the 1967 Grand National became the 121st staging of the renowned Grand National steeplechase at Aintree Racecourse, close to England’s Liverpool area. While archival details of the preceding and succeeding Nationals remain scanty, this one remains toweringly popular simply because it was won by a rank outsider at the dismal odds of 100/1. 

As luck would rarely have it, Foinavon happened to be the only horse to successfully outmanoeuvre a pace-crippling melee at the twenty-third fence… bagging the year’s Grand National jackpot. 

Going by a booming voice record of commentator Michael O’Hehir detailing the infamous 23rd-fence chaos of 1967, the winner wasn’t anywhere close to victory initially. First to be hampered by the hellish mayhem was Rutherfords, then Castle Falls and Rondetto. Third to suffer was Princeful, followed by Norther and Kirtle Lad and Fossa and everyone else…till Foinavon went off on his own – easily winning the momentous race. 

Owing to the ensuing ill turn of events, all of the earlier stages of the clash was inconsequential, although 28 out of the enrolled 44 contesters rushed safely past the 22nd fence. There was however a notable fatality that took place at the third, in which Vulcano got mortally injured and later euthanized. 

Popham Down, a notorious runner who had given dreadful hints by unseating his rider at the opening fence, was the cause of all these wide-ranging misadventures. Veering rather dramatically toward his right-hand side at the fateful fence, he slammed Rutherfords out of place and pace, unseating Jockey Johnny Leech. 

A chaotic pileup arose and within few seconds, the rest were caught up in the unfolding pandemonium. It was utterly impossible for previous trailblazers to jump over the disaster-prone fence and the melee brought the entire showdown to a near halt. The final champ was the luckiest horse in entire clutter – upsetting all betters’ fortunes and giving lucky bookmakers an instant reason to smile all the way to the bank. 

It was as such an unbelievably fortunate coincidence for the outright undistinguished Foinavon to clinch the year’s loftiest accolades, despite his being the slowest horse in the whole contest. BBC’s commentator’s shrieks of sheer wonderment split the air as the fluking galloper sprinted toward the finishing line, well over 100 yards ahead of the chaotic pileup behind. 

Foinavon’s owner had travelled to Worcester on the very racing day, and didn’t expect to receive any inspiring news from Aintree. And as the actual running began and entered the troubled fence, the slow-moving galloper was so much behind such that jockey John Buckingham had sufficient time to skirt around the growing tumult.

Being the only horse to safely go over the 23rd fence, Buckingham was taken aback to find himself enjoying a whopping 30 lengths lead. And while 17 of the fallen pairs remounted successfully to give him considerable chase, none was able to catch up with the lucky duo, who dashed past the finishing line with a 15-length winning margin. Josh Gifford, a leading favorite from the outset, pursued the luck-enabled champion with relentless fury but just couldn’t cover the distance between them quickly enough. 

After the surprising developments, Michael O’Hehir opined that Becher’s Brook and the Valentine’s – such strangely luck-bringing obstacles – might one day come to be renamed Foinavon. And quite strangely, in 1984, a bunch of Aintree executives renamed the fence Foinavon fence. 

The horse had been turned down by three jockeys, terming him a poor nonstarter with infinitesimal chances of success. Even the ultimate jackpot-winning Buckingham seems to have unenthusiastically opted for the unpromising choice for want of better mounts. 

The second place went to most hardworking chaser after the luck-favoured winner, Josh Gifford and Honey End. The third rank was grabbed by Brian Fletcher’s Red Alligator, then aged 10 years. The fourth and the fifth slots went to the Greek Scholar/Terry Biddlecombe and Packed Home/Tommy Carberry pairs respectively. 


Elsewhere, 1967 doubled up as the first year when Red Rum first appeared at Aintree, aged only 2 years…and in a 5-furlong sprint, held a day before the National event. The then debuting mount would visit the same grounds for his unprecedented 3rd Grand National title ten years later.


Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Tiger Roll - Grand National

Could Tiger Roll be the next Red Rum
Already a four-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival, as well as a Grand National winner, Tiger Roll has carved his name, indelibly, into the annals of history. However, still only a nine-year-old, and officially 8lb ‘well in’ for his attempt to become the first back-to-back winner of the Grand National since Red Rum in 1974, Tiger Roll is a top-priced 9/2 to defend his crown. 

When the Grand National weights were revealed on February 12, Tiger Roll was allotted 11st 1lb, commensurate with an official handicap rating of 159 but, following an effortless, 22-length victory in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham on March 13, his rating was raised to 167. However, no penalties are applied to horses who have won since the publication of the Grand National weights so, with British Horseracing Authority (BHA) handicapper Martin Greenwood freely admitting that he has ‘possibly underestimated’ the level of the Cheltenham form, the continued support for Tiger Roll is, perhaps, understandable. 

Indeed, Tiger Roll has the potential to become the shortest-priced favourite for the Grand National for a good many years. That said, the shortest-priced favourite in the history of the Grand National was Golden Miller who, in 1935, was sent off at 2/1 after breaking the Aintree course record the previous year; he unseated jockey Gerry Wilson at the open ditch known as ‘Booth’ on the first circuit. The shortest-priced winner of the Grand National, though, was Poethlyn, who was sent off at 11/4 favourite in 1919; he had also won the previous renewal, known as the ‘War National’, staged at Gatwick Racecourse in 1918. 

Before you steam into Tiger Roll, it is worth remembering that several horses have threatened to start the Grand National at, frankly, ridiculously short prices, only for punters to come to their senses on the day of the race. In 2008, Cloudy Lane, trained by Donald McCain, went into the National chasing a four-timer and seemed likely to be sent off at around 7/2, before drifting to 7/1. In 2015, it was a similar story with Shutthefrontdoor, trained by Jonjo O’Neill; seeking to give Sir Anthony McCoy his second National winner on his final ride in the race, Shutthefrontdoor came in for sustained public support before drifting to a more realistic 6/1 at the ‘off’. 

It is also worth remembering that plenty of recent Grand National winners, including Bindaree, Hedgehunter, Comply Or Die, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds, have tried and failed, to emulate Red Rum. Hedgehunter and Comply Or Die did, of course, finish second on their second attempts, in 2006 and 2009, respectively. Both horses were 10-year-olds by that stage, with Hedgehunter carrying 12lb, and Comply Or Die 15lb, more than they did the previous year so, having already won off his revised mark, which is 9lb higher than last year – and being only a 9-year-old to boot – Tiger Roll may yet be making headlines, once again, on April 6.