GRAND NATIONAL DIRECTORY BLOG

TIGER ROLL WINS THE 2018 GRAND NATIONAL 
Tiger Roll Wins Grand National 2018
The oldest competitor in the 2018 Grand National, Davy Russell had virtually achieved everything to give his illustrious career a picture-perfect culmination. And he unmistakably pulled off a demanding feat oh-so masterfully. 
Riding one of the smallest horses seen in the past few years, the irresistible champion colorfully netted a last-gasp triumph in the 171st Randox Health Grand National.
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GRAND NATIONAL WINNER 2017: ONE FOR ARTHUR 
In 2017, One For Arthur had the distinction of becoming only the second ever Scottish winner, after Rubstic in 1979, of the Grand National at Aintree. Owned by Deborah Thomson and Belinda McClung – collectively known as “Two Golf Widows” – and trained in Kinross by Lucinda Russell, the eight-year-old had marked himself out as a possible National type when staying on well to finish fifth of 22, beaten 3 lengths, behind. Read more...

RULE THE WORLD GRAND NATIONAL WINNER 2016  
As the 169th Crabbies Grand National earnestly kicked off at the customary Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, not even the most seasoned racing pundits could expect a mere 33-1 shot to miraculously clinch a dramatic victory. All the same, that’s what exactly transpired. The feisty Rule the World – that little-known champ who had never bagged any other steeplechase title before, simply ran faster than all his challengers to a spectacular finish! This utterly startling win watched by millions of fans excitedly following the Grand National, both locally and on thousands of television screens across the world. Read more... 

MANY COUDS TOUCHES THE SKY FOR SHERWOOD (2015 NATIONAL WINNER)
Many Clouds Grand National Winner 2015
A fine example of Oliver Sherwood’s unequalled horse-training talents, Many Clouds registered an unsurpassed performance when he was announced the 2015 Grand National winner. The winning jockey - Leighton Aspell – marking his second win in two consecutive years. April 11th proved another triumph for Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, England. Leighton Aspell's spectacular win in the 2014 edition – aboard the peerless Pineau de Re a noble feat. The all-conquering horse’s proud owner, Trevor Hemmings, got a share of the immense glory. Grand National aficionado may remember that Hemmings had twice enjoyed success in the 2011 (Ballabriggs) and 2005 (Hedgehunter). Read more... 

DR NEWLAND WINS THE 2014 GRAND NATIONAL WIN PINEAU DE RE
The 167th Grand National took place on 5 April 2014, at the age-old Aintree Racecourse - situated close to Liverpool. Running under Crabbie’s sponsorship for the very first time, everyone looked utterly surprised as Leighton Aspell spectacularly won riding Pineau de Re – a mere 25/1 shot! The magnificent performance also earned John Provan (owner) and trainer Richard Newland recognition across the horse-riding world. In a similar vein, the originally undervalued winner became the 6th French-bred participator to stamp such an impressively stunning Grand National record. Read more... 

AURORAS ENCORE SPRINGS 66/1 SHOCK WIN IN 2013 GRAND NATIONAL
Like numerous other races before, the 2013 Grand National availed yet another sensation: Auroras Encore’s totally unpredicted win! Expertly ridden across the historically shortened run-in by the little-known Ryan Mania, it was a real wonder to see the unlikely 66-1 shot beat those impossible odds to win the greatest steeplechase in the world. As for the equally obscure winning trainer – Sue Smith, the incredibly lucky wife of the once-popular show jumper and TV celebrity Harvey Smith – a pretty atypical set of firsts seems to have been triply established during that year’s John Smith’s Grand National. Read more...


NEPTUNES COLLONGES WINS THE GRAND NATIONAL FOR PAUL NICHOLLS  

The historically much-sought Grand National prize has had a rather notorious trend for horses winning by a whisker. And this perfectly bizarre tradition seems to have become the standard ever since Red Rum narrowly defeated Crisp in 1973. All the same, of all these year-to-year surprises, very few can rival what happened at Aintree during the 2012 Grand National…Daryl Jacob rode Neptune Collonges from a seemingly impossible position to win the historic race – eclipsing two more fancied opponents - Sunnyhillboy and McLernon! With nothing but a grass blade separating the two foremost horses, the history-making horse wowed everyone as he deftly outran the visibly confounded Richie McLernon. It was a magical moment celebrated by a cheering crowd. Read more...

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON, MCCAIN BALLABRIGGS WINS 2011 NATIONAL 
On 9 April 2011, there was a thorough sense of bafflement across the restless sidelines as the Donald McCain-trained Ballabriggs dashingly cruised past spirited challengers to claim the year’s Grand National title. Also referred to as the John Smith’s Grand National in honor of the proud sponsors, this was actually the 164th edition of the globally famous race, customarily held at Aintree Racecourse, situated near Liverpool in England. Read more...


TONY MCCOY TASTES GRAND NATIONAL SUCCESS WITH DON'T PUSH IT
Very few race fans were actually surprised to see Tony McCoy easily win the 2010 Grand National atop the talented Don’t Push It. Even though Denis O’Regan’s fruitlessly pursuing Black Apalachi had kept a better position in the preliminary lengths, this long-distinguished jockey maintained a covertly close chase every inch of the way. Finally, as the pair bolted breathlessly closer to the winning line, McCoy unbelievably galvanized his strong-willed mount to a jubilant finish! The relief showed on the cheerful hero’s face simply told it all…The veteran jockey couldn’t mask his excitement as thousands of race fans cheered their congratulations on the densely populated sidelines. Whereas the ferociously tussling pair had appeared equally capable of winning a few moments before, it was indeed an exponentially amazing spectacle for the consummate champion to astonishingly manage a five-length difference. Read more... 

MON MOME WINS GRAND NATIONAL 2009 AT 100/1
Proficiently trained by Venetia Williams, the nine-year-old Mon Mome began to slowly overtake his closest challengers, one by one, and lastly gained adequate momentum to triumph in the 2009 Grand National. This was an extraordinarily unique first for the odd shot, his maiden success in what’s generally known as the John Smith’s Grand National, in customary commemoration of the event’s corporate sponsors. Besides the scenic sights and exuberant sounds that conventionally describe the annual challenge, it was all but Liam Treadwell’s stunning conquest that decently wrapped up the 162nd unveiling of the ageless Grand National equine steeplechase. Pretty predictably, the yearly racing battle was colourfully staged at the old Aintree Racecourse, located within the characteristically busy Liverpudlian environs in England. Read more...

COMPLY OR DIE WINS GRAND NATIONAL 2008 FOR DAVID PIPE
Comply Or Die Wins Grand National 2008
In an extra-colourful show of skill at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool in England, David Pipe’s Comply Or Die gave Timmy Murphy an uncommonly splendid Grand National victory. The 7-1 joint favourite managed a four-length distance from the unyielding King Johns Castle (adeptly ridden by Paul Carberry) who’s entered the annual equestrian battle at the odds of 20-1. Vigorously trailing the two champs was David Casey, atop the sprightly Snowy Morning (16-1), who finished a further one-and-a-half length behind, thus scooping a third-place share of the joint bounty of £450,640. Read more...

GORDON RICHARDS JUBILANT AS SILVER BIRCH WINS 2007 GRAND NATIONAL
There was a bracing stir at Liverpool’s famed Aintree Racecourse, as the Irish-bred Silver Birch colourfully grabbed the 2007 Grand National title. The proud result of Gordon Eliot’s training prowess, the ‘foreign’ horse took other more weathered runners by surprise. Incidentally, it was Robbie Power who opted to test his luck with the modest placed at the vaguely unpromising odds of 33-1…and it was utterly unbelievable to see the fine galloper maintain a steady leading pace immediately he went past the epochal Elbow. Read more...

NUMBERSIXVALVERDE WINS THE 2006 GRAND NATIONAL 
Maintaining a foot-perfect gallop from the start to finish, Numbersixvalverde added a yet another racing feat to his the gradually brightening scorecard. That was at Aintree – during the seasonally held John Smith’s Grand National championships at Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse in England. Literally ‘hurtling’ past many more recognized previous champs, in the sure hands of Niall Madden, the excellent performance won a rare name for training ace Martin Brassil, too…and, well, it left Bernard Carroll (the owner) with a stupendous reason to wear a smile, also. Read more...

JOLLY OLD HEDGEHUNTER VICTORIOUS FOR WILLIE MULLINS
After a couple of comparatively unsuccessful showings in the annually staged Grand National championships at Liverpool’s famous Aintree Racecourse, 2005 turned out to be a really lucky year for Ruby Walsh. Walsh attained an arguably impossible marvel by riding the largely little-known Willie Mullins-trained 9-year-old named Hedgehunter to scoop the momentous competition’s yearly awarded top-jockey title. The well-known champion also simultaneously brought Trevor Hemmings a great deal of fame as the event’s best-performing horse owner. Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1997: LORD GYLLENE OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE
Lord Gyllene Wins 1997 Grand National
No-one will forget the year in which Lord Gyllene won the Grand National although, in the furore surrounding what became known as the “Monday National”, the horse himself hasn’t always received the credit he deserved for an outstanding performance in the historic steeplechase. One of the reasons that Lord Gyllene faded from public consciousness was, perhaps, that he was off the course for 614 days following his National win and ran just twice, without distinction, before his eventual retirement in 2001. Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1996: ROUGH QUEST GOES CLEAR
Rough Quest had the distinction of being the first favourite to win the Grand National since Grittar, famously ridden by 48-year-old amateur Dick Saunders, in 1982. Rough Quest was found in Ireland as a four-year-old by the chairman of Kempton Park, Andrew Wates, in whose distinctive blue and green colours he ran, and trained by the late Terry Casey at Wates’ home in Beare Green, Surrey. The ten-year-old had previously finished second, beaten just 4 lengths, behind Imperial Call in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but had had such a hard race that Casey had reservations Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1995: ROYAL ATHLETE SHINES FOR PITMAN
Jenny Pitman wrote her name indelibly into Grand National history when, in 1983, she became the first woman to train the winner of the illustrious steeplechase. Ten years after the landmark victory of Corbiere, though, she was denied a second National success when Esha Ness was first past the post in the “National that never was” in 1993. Nevertheless, the redoubtable “Mrs. P.” was back in the winners’ enclosure two years later, courtesy of the twelve-year-old Royal Athlete. Ironically, Royal Athlete had been backed into antepost favourite for the void National of 1993, having finished third in the Cheltenham Gold that year. Read more...



GRAND NATIONAL 1994: MIINNEHOMA YOU'RE A STAR
Retired trainer Martin Pipe may have saddled 4,180 winners and revolutionised the world of National Hunt racing, but even the erstwhile Master of Nicholashayne could only win the Grand National once. His sole success in the celebrated steeplechase came courtesy of the eleven-year-old Miinnehoma, ridden by Richard Dunwoody, in 1994. Owned by local comedian Freddie Starr, who was born in the town of Huyton on Merseyside, Miinnehoma had Read more... 


GRAND NATIONAL 1992: PARTY POLITICS GETS THE VOTE
Party Politics proved an aptly-named winner of the Grand National, galloping to victory in the iconic steeplechase just five days before the Conservatives’ victory, against the odds, in the 1992 General Election. At nearly 18 hands high, the eight-year-old was also the tallest horse ever to win the Grand National. Owned by David and Patricia Thompson, who’d actually bought him for £80,000 just 48 hours before the race, and trained by Nick Gaselee Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1991: SEAGRAM WINS THE NATIONAL
Seagram Wins 1991 Grand National
The 1991 Grand National was the last of seven to be sponsored by the former Canadian corporation Seagram and was won, coincidentally, by a horse called Seagram. Coincidentally, because the horse wasn’t owned by the sponsors, but by industrialist Sir Eric Parker. Seagram, the corporation, was apparently offered the opportunity to buy the New Zealand-bred gelding before the Grand National, but declined. Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1990: MR FRISK FASTEST OF THEM ALL
Mr Frisk Fast Winner of Grand National
Mr Frisk has the distinction of recording the fastest winning time in the history of the Grand National. In 1990, on unseasonably firm going, he completed the 4½-mile course in a time of 8 minutes 47.80 seconds, smashing the previous course record, set by Red Rum in 1973, by 14.10 seconds. Remarkably, his record still stands, despite the start line being moved half a furlong closer to the first fence in 2013, thereby shortening the overall distance of the race. Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1989: LITTLE POLVEIR
By the time he won the Grand National, as a twelve-year-old, in 1989, Little Polveir was already a veteran of three previous attempts in the race, although he had completed the course just once. In fact, in his three previous attempts he had finished a distant ninth, at 66/1, behind West Tip in 1986, unseated rider, at 33/1, at The Chair on the first circuit in 1987, unseated rider again, at 33/1, at the twenty-sixth fence, when in the lead, in 1988. Little Polveir was bought by trainer Toby Balding, on behalf of new owner, Edward Harvey, for 15,000 guineas just six weeks before the 1989 Grand National Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1988: RHYME 'N' REASON

History records that Rhyme ‘N’ Reason, at the time a nine-year-old, trained by David Elsworth and owned by Miss Juliet Reed, won the 1988 Grand National by 4 lengths from Durham Edition. However, as is often the case, the form book fails to reveal the full drama of the world famous steeplechase. Rhyme ‘N’ Reason had beaten Lean Ar Aghaidh and Mr Frisk in the Racing Post Chase at Kempton the previous February, but had come to grief at the fourth last in the Cheltenham Gold Cup Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1987: MAORI VENTURE 1ST & ONLY
Maori Venture Grand National Winner 1987
Maori Venture had the distinction of winning the Grand National on his one and only attempt, as an eleven-year-old, in 1987. Trained by Andy Turnell and ridden by Steve Knight, Maori Venture carried the familiar colours – black, scarlet cap – of the late Harry “Jim” Joel. In so doing, he realised a lifelong ambition for Joel, who, at 92, was the doyen of owner/breeders in the country and had been trying to win the Grand National since his first runner in the race, Glorious Twelfth, finished fourth in 1957. Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1980 WINNER: IT'S HEAVY GOING FOR BEN NEVIS AT 40/1 
Ben Nevis had the distinction of being just the third U.S.-based horse, after Battleship in 1938 and Jay Trump in 1965, to win the Grand National. He was bred in Britain, where he raced, unsuccessfully, until bought by Redmond C. Stewart Jnr. and shipped to the United States, as a 6-year-old, in 1974. Under the auspices of Stewart’s son-in-law, Charlie Fenwick Jnr., who both trained and rode him, Ben Nevis won seven successive races. His victories included back-to-back victories in the Maryland Hunt Cup – Read more... 


GRAND NATIONAL 1978 WINNER: LUCIUS TRAINED BY GORDON RICHARDS 
The 1978 Grand National was the first in five years not to feature Red Rum who, as a 13-year-old, pulled up slightly lame in his last piece of work, the day before the race, and was immediately retired. In his absence, Rag Trade – the 1976 winner, and one of just two horses to beat Red Rum in the National – started favourite. Rag Trade was just one of 23 of the 37 starters who, for one reason or another, failed to complete the course. In fact, he was pulled up at the fence before Becher’s Brook. Read more... 

GRAND NATIONAL 1977 WINNER: RED RUN - THE MAKING OF A LEGEND
On April 2, 1977, Red Rum, by then a 12-year-old, galloped into racing history by winning the Grand National for an unprecedented third time. Even entering the veteran stage of his career and still carrying top weight, of 11st 8lb, Red Rum started 9/1 joint second favourite for the National. He’d disappointed in both his preparatory races, including when beaten 40 lengths by Andy Pandy – who started favourite for the National, at 15/2 – in the Grand National Trial at Haydock, but still had to concede 8lb to the current, albeit fortuitous, Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Davy Lad. Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1976 WINNER: RAG TRADE CLEANS UP 
Rag Trade had the distinction of being the second of just two horses, after L’Escargot in 1975, to beat Red Rum in the National. In so doing, he provided Fred Rimmell with his fourth, and final, National winner after E.SB. in 1956, Nicolaus Silver in 1961 and Gay Trip in 1970. Originally trained, with limited success, by George Fairbairn, Rag Trade was bought for 18,000 by the flamboyant celebrity hairstylist Raymond Bessone, otherwise known as “Mr. Teasie Weasie”, in early 1975. He was sent to Epsom trainer Arthur Pitt, with a view to running in the Grand National, just two months later. That he did, finishing a distant last of ten finishers under 22-year-old John Francome, who later described him as “the most horrible horse I’ve ever ridden”. Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL WINNER 1975: L'ESCARGOT BEATS RED RUM
L’Escargot – whose name translates, ironically, as “The Snail” – had finished third, beaten 25¾ lengths, behind Red Rum in the 1973 Grand National, when conceding 23lb and second, beaten 8 lengths, behind the same horse in the 1974 Grand National, when receiving 1lb. In 1975, as a 12-year-old veteran running in what was almost certainly his last Grand National, he was set to receive 11lb from his old rival and looked to have been given a real chance by the handicapper. Nevertheless, Red Rum. Read more...

GRAND NATIONAL 1974 WINNER: RED RUM DOES THE DOUBLE 
Red Rum Wins 1974 Grand National
Following his “smash-and-grab” victory over Crisp in the 1973 Grand National, Red Rum met his old rival again, on 23lb worse terms, in a match race at Doncaster the following autumn. Crisp made all to win, comfortably, by 8 lengths on that occasion, but Red Rum continued in excellent form, only just being denied in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup and winning at Ayr, Newcastle, Catterick and Carlisle en route to the 1974 Grand National. He had, however, blotted his copybook by unseating his rider, albeit after being hampered, at the first fence in the Greenall Breweries Chase at Haydock on his final outing before the National. Read more... 

GRAND NATIONAL 1972 WINNER: WELL TO DO SHINES FOR TIM FORSTER 
Well To Do had the distinction of being the first of three Grand National winners for Tim Forster, a.k.a. “The Captain”, but nearly didn’t run in the race at all. It was only on the closing date for the National, in January, that the 9-year-old finished third in a four-mile steeplechase at Cheltenham, leading to an anxious, last-minute acceptance telegram from his trainer. Read more...


GRAND NATIONAL 1970 WINNER: GAY TRIP WINS AT TOPS WEIGHT
Gay Trip was the third of four different horses trained by Fred Rimell to win the Grand National. The reigning champion trainer at the time, Rimmell had already saddled E.S.B. – the main beneficiary of the bizarre collapse of Devon Loch – in 1956 and Nicolaus Silver in 1960 to victory in the celebrated steeplechase.Gay Trip was due to be ridden by Terry Biddlecombe but, with the retained jockey at Kinnersley Stables sidelined through injury, was partnered by 40-year-old Irishman Pat Taaffe instead. Taaffe had been instrumental in the purchase of Gay Trip by Fred Rimmell on behalf of owner Tony Chambers, who reasoned that he should be offered the ride on account of having “virtually bought the horse”. Read more...

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