The 2005 Grand National
The 2005 Grand National was won by pre-race favourite “Hedgehunter”, ridden by Ruby Walsh winning the Grand National after taking the lead when “Clan Royal” ridden by Tony McCoy was taken out by a loose horse. Hedgehunter won the race by 14 lengths.
Ruby Walsh won the Grand National for the second time with his first victory coming in 2000 when he rode “Papillon”.
"Becher's Brook frightened the heart out of me, but it was some thrill," said the Irishman who was given trainer Willie Mullins' ride.
"Whatever happened, I thought 'I'm not going to move until I get to the elbow'. I got the elbow and said 'come on'.
"He's a proper horse. He's brilliant."
“Royal Auclair” followed in second place with “Simply Gifted” trailing in third ahead of “It Takes Time”. Female Jockey Carrie Ford finished in fifth place on “Forest Gunner”.
Forty horses lined up to take part in the 2005 Grand National including "Amberleigh House", "Bindaree", "Clan Royal", "Lord Atterbury", "Monty's Pass" and "Spot Thedifference".
The 2004 Grand National
The 2004 Grand National was again watched the world over and for one trainer in particular, Ginger McCain, proved to be a story of legendary proportions. With 39 horses lining up for the 157th running of the Grand National, the 73 year old trainer of 3 time winner in the 1970's, "Red Rum" was about to experience something he hadn't since that time 27 years ago. The excitement grew down the stretch as last years third place horse "Amberleigh House" crossed the winning line surviving past the 28 horses, which didn't finish and holding off the 10, which did. The 12 year old horse, the oldest winner for almost a decade and a 16-1 marginal outsider ran a wonderful race befitting of "Red Rum", passing over the three time champions grave at the winning post.
Trainer Ginger McCain said afterwards "I never thought I was going to win another National" and was utterly delighted when "Amberleigh House" finished 3 lengths ahead of "Clan Royal" after staying close to the leader in the run-in, then catching up to overtake at the most crucial time.
Owned by John Halewood and with a total prize fund of £600,000 "Amberleigh House" and jockey Graham Lee put on a fantastic display. "Lord Atterbury" was third, with last year's champion "Monty's Pass" in fourth. "Clan Royal" had moved into first place and looked set to win after "Hedgehunter" who had lead the pack crashed out at the last fence, but was getting very tired approaching the elbow allowing "Amberleigh House" to take center stage.
The 2004 Grand National marked the first time the Tattersalls Enclosure sold out at the event with thousands turning up to experience the race day. Over 10 million people in the UK and 600 more worldwide watched the race which saw one of the best finishes in Aintree and Grand National history.
The day would however belong to the winners with jockey Graham Lee describing the victory as "a fairytale" and trainer Ginger McCain claiming he would have been happy to finish in the first six or eight after thinking "Amberleigh House's" best chance to win had come and gone a year ago when they finished third. Ironically "Clan Royal" had beaten them at the same course earlier that year leading Jockey Lee to say he had gone home and watched the video over and over again after being so angry they had lost.
Owner John Halewood, who was born in Liverpool also said it was "the best day of my life". The whole team plans to compete again in 2005 for another crack at the big race. The feat may appear unlikely with the horse already being 12 in 2004 but "Amberleigh House" does have a good record at Aintree with only one bad day when he was brought down in his first appearance in 2001.
To visit the 2004 Grand National website including course information, directions, facts and race day results please click here.
The 2003 Grand National
"Monty's Pass" ridden by Barry Geraghty ran a to a very convincing 12 length victory in the 2003 Grand National with "Supreme Glory" coming through in second and "Amberleigh House" back in third. Becher's Brook again took a favourite out of the race as "Shotgun Willy" ridden by Ruby Marsh in at 7-1, falling the second time around the course. Paul Carberry another of the pre-race favourites was unseated at the 19th fence while riding "Ad Hoc".
The race itself ended quite easily for "Monty's Pass" who finally moved to join the race leaders after the water jump who battled on as the field was finally strung out following the Foinavon fence with "Gunner Welburn" leading only a handful of horses. Then with only two fences left, "Monty's Pass" went clear from eventual 2004 winner "Amberleigh House" and a tiring "Gunner Welburn" to power home for victory.
The 2003 Grand National was a good day for bookmakers with so many of the more fancied horses not completing the course. One in particular however ended up paying out over £400,000 on two bets with William Hill seeing their worst hit Grand National in history.
The 2002 Grand National
Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Jim Culloty wins the 2002 Grand National at Aintree, but only ended up entering the race on "Bindaree" after original rider, Jaime Goldstein is ruled out when he breaks his leg in the week leading up to the race. Jim and "Bindaree" didn't have it easy in the race though after almost seeing a premature end to their participation when another horse "Beau", which had lost it's jockey threatened to block "Bindaree's" path to glory. "Bindaree" survived the incident however to win in a frantic finish, beating out "What's Up Boys" who had been tipped to become the first grey winner in 42 years, in a very dramatic win.
The 2002 Grand National say record crowds of over 120,000 people coming through the turnstiles and 63,500 watching the big race. Bookmakers the Tote saw a record turnover of more than £3 million as a result of the race for an event that's popularity keeps on growing. 2000 winner Ruby Marsh raced again, but not on last years winning horse "Papillion", he rode "Kingsmark" to an impressive fourth as 11 of the starters completed the course with 2000 runner up "Mely Moss" the last of the finishers.
The 2001 Grand National
"Red Marauder" won the 2001 Grand National in a race that saw only 4 horses finish it seemed truly amazing that the 36, which fell were all reported to be fine. Just as amazing is the fact race winner "Red Marauder" who could have fallen 5 times came through the race unscathed. The horse was largely un-favoured beforehand at 33-1, but with conditions much worse than many can ever remember at a National the determined horse and jockey Richard Guest triumphed in style.
The win also ended more than three months of abstinence for Guest who vowed on the first of January not to drink until he won the Grand National or the Gold Cup. The race also saw the first North East horse win the National since "Red Alligator" in 1968. Richard Guest also sold his whip and gave the £2,200 it raised to charity as the jockey took £310,000 in prize money. The other three finishers were "Smarty" brought home in second place by Timmy Murphy. "Blowing Wind" in third ridden by Tony McCoy and last year's winner "Papillion" again ridden by Ruby Walsh finishing fourth.
The 2000 Grand National
“Papillion” won the Grand National in the year 2000 along with jockey Ruby Walsh, which was something, that saw successive victories for Irish jockeys. The National itself had been closely contested with “Papillion” winning by only one and a quarter lengths from second-placed horse “Mely Moss”.
“Papillion” had been subject to huge gambling the morning of the race after the horses odds had dropped from 33-1 down to around 10-1 netting a supposed one million pound coup. The controversy didn’t affect horse or jockey though as the pair battled well to win the first Grand National of the twenty first century and a National that contained another family connection, with the trainer being Ted Walsh who watched his son Ruby win them their first National.
The 1999 Grand National
The 1999 Grand National meeting was in doubt with critics reporting just a few weeks before that the ground was untraceable, fortunately for fans the world over and the winning father and son this wasn’t the case. Tommy Carberry the trainer of “Bobbyjo” and jockey Paul Carberry won at 10-1 on a 9 year old peaking at the right time to win by ten lengths.
Tommy Carberry who took park 24 years earlier when “L’Escargot” won in the middle of “Red Rum’s” dominant three victories in five years and must have felt extremely happy to watch his son finish first ahead of “Blue Charm”, “Call It A Day” and fifteen other runners
The 1998 Grand National
"Earth Summit" was the last favourite to win the Grand National at 7-1 and is the only horse to win the Scottish, Welsh and English Nationals. The horse normally ridden by Tom Jenks however hasn't quite had the same level of success, with the Grand National being the major event of the year Tom would have been somewhat dismayed when he unluckily broke his leg and was replaced by then one time winner Carl Llewellyn. Tom was on hand on race day wishing Carl good luck and then cheering the pair on to victory.
Owned by The Summit Partnership, the bay gelding by Celtic Cone "Earth Summit" had earlier ripped his suspensory ligament in 1996 and wasn't expected to race again. The horse then spent 6 months in his box at trainer Mr. Twiston-Davis's yard being exercised by Marcella Bayliss after this time to a full recovery. Mr. Payne the partnerships main voice had dreamed of winning the world's greatest steeplechase and before the injury backed his horse to win by the year 2000 at 33-1 with a major bookmaker, which in hindsight seems like very good odds for the 1998 favourite.
The 1997 Grand National
The 1997 Grand National was disrupted by a bomb scare which saw everyone being told to leave and the race being put back to the following Monday with two days of delay. The winner that Monday, Tony Dobbin riding “Lord Gyllene” won emphatically by romping home 25 lengths clear of “Suny Bay” and the chasing pack. The unfortunate downside to his victory was the scare itself, which overshadowed the entire event.
1992 winner Carl Llewellyn finished third with “Camelot Knight” after beginning with odds of 100-1, odds, which were unusually high for a previous winner of a National. Fourteen other horses would follow these three to complete the course regardless of the scare.
The book, "Everyone Must Leave: The Day They Stopped The National" can also be purchased from our books section below, or directly by clicking here.
The 1996 Grand National
"Rough Quest" the 7-1 10 year-old favourite won the 1996 Grand National ridden by Irishman Mick Fitzgerald, one of the most colourful characters in the sport who after winning went on to say that "sex is an anti-climax". Mick who later went on to say he regretted making the statement then rode the horse owned by Mr. Andrew Wales for a horse that started a trend that lasted 8 years with no horse older than 10 winning the National and no horse other than "Earth Summit" two years later winning as a pre-race favourite.
Richard Dunwoody again raced well, this time with the horse named “Superior Finish” as the 9-1 pair finished third ahead of 33-1 outsider “Sir Peter Lely” in fourth and just behind “Encore un Peu” who finished second from 14-1 odds.
The 1995 Grand National
1995 was the year when Aintree’s most famous horse “Red Rum” sadly died eighteen years after his third and final Grand National victory. All those close to him, especially previous owners, jockeys and trainers, will sadly miss the horse that had won three Nationals in five years. The Grand National itself was a race, which proved to be very positive for trainer Jenny Pitman, who won a National for a second time with 40-1 outsider “Royal Athlete”. Jason Titley, an Irishman taking part in the Grand National for the very first time, rode the horse.
“Party Politics” made his second appearance in the top four, this time in second with a different jockey to that which won the 1992 Grand National with “Over The Deel” and “Dubacilla” completing the first four to finish from the fifteen that did.
If you wish to know more about "Red Rum" please visit our bookshop here, where we have an entire section, dedicated to books about the life and racing career of possibly the most-loved racehorse ever.
The 1994 Grand National
One year after the Grand National that wasn’t, Richard Dunwoody again played a key part in the event by winning with the horse “Minnehoma” trained by Martin Pipe and owned by comedian Freddie Star. Although Freddie was not at the race he was interviewed over the phone for television in a bizarre interview that confused viewers who, could only hear one side of the conversation.
The 1994 Grand National was Richard Dunwoody’s second win for a jockey who had also won over 100 races in ten years from 1989 to 1999. Richard was also the was British National Hunt champion jockey three seasons in a row from 1992/93 to 1994/95 and became one of so few jockeys to win two Nationals.
5-1 Favourite “Moorcroft Boy” finished third in a year when only six horses completed the course, among those six was a horse called “just So” ridden by jockey Mr. S Burrough who finished second and “Ebony Jane” with jockey Mr. L Cusack in fourth.
The 1993 Grand National
The 1993 National will always be remembered as "the race that never was" and was the one and only time a National has been declared void, much to the dismay of the owner and everyone associated with the race. The problems started on an otherwise normal race day morning, but an attempt by animal activists to meddle with the start set the trend for the day. When the race actually did start Richard Dunwoody who won on "West Tip" in 1986 got the tape stuck round his neck and a false start was called. The flagman however didn't signal for a false start, as he never saw the flag and some of the horses raced on.
The rest of the horses stopped while "Esha Ness" ridden by John White and six horses went on to complete the course. The horse "Esha Ness" was owned by Jenny Pitman who had previously won the Grand National ten years earlier, but her second victory wasn't to stand in 1993. The owner did however win a second National two years later in 1995.
If you'd like to learn more about Jenny Pitman her autobiography can be found in our bookshop by clicking here.
The 1992 Grand National
Two days after the General Election in 1992 Carl Llewellyn who would go on to win the Grand National for a second time won while riding the aptly named “Party Politics”. Owned by Patricia Thompson, “Party Politics” began at 14-1 and despite having a tube in his neck to help him breath the horse, which stood at an enormous 18 hands high horse well.
This same year the Seagram subsidiary Martell, which was formed in 1715 by Jean Martell, took over ownership of the Grand National by backing the entire three-day meeting. Around 100,000 people were at Aintree to watch the race and enjoy the pre-race activities from April 8th to 10th, activities that ended when “Party Politics” lead a field of forty to win the National.
Twenty-two horses finished the race with “Romany King” second, “Laura’s Beau” third and “Docklands Express” fourth ridden by jockey Mr. P Schudamore.
The 1991 Grand National
The 1991 Grand National was won by a horse called “Seagram”, which matched the name of the race sponsors who, due to the passion of Seagram chairman, Ivan Straker sponsored the event after he had built his passion for the sport from reading a newspaper piece by Lord Oaksey who, in his riding days had failed to win the National by just three quarters of a length in 1963 when riding “Carrickbeg”.
The Seagram Grand National sponsors were asked some time before the race if they wished to sponsor the horse but declined to do so. Seagram chairman, Iva Straker twice had the opportunity to buy the horse for the company, which replaced the Sun as the sponsors of the event in 1984, so it seemed quite fitting that in 1991, the last year Seagram sponsored the event a horse by the same name won.
“Seagram” was ridden by Nigel Hawke and finished ahead of Mark Pitman on “Garrison Savannah” in second. The pair were two of seventeen horses to complete the course with two unusual finishers “Auntie Dot” and “Over The Road” which had both began at 50-1 in third and fourth.
The 1990 Grand National
"Mr Frisk" recorded the fastest time ever in 1990 while ridden by an amateur, Marcus Armytage in under 9 minutes at 8 and 47 seconds beating the previous record of 9 minutes and 1.9 seconds set by "Red Rum" in 1973. "Mr Frisk" then went on to do the double by winning the Whitbread Gold Cup a few weeks later to become one of only a few horses to reach such a feat.
1990 also saw the most famous fence in the National altered with the bend changed and the ditch filled in with the fence since then been viewed as less of a test, but the changes were for the safety of the horses. The difficulty of the fence has not actually dropped and the likelihood of horses dying after falling has been reduced. "Uncle Merlin" was easily ahead until falling at Becher's Brook but it can't be argued "Mr Frisk" deserved to win as he set a new record time around the course.
“Durham Edition” returning after a couple of recent good performances finished second with jockey Mr. C Grant followed by “Rinus” in third and “Brown Windsor” in fourth.
The 1989 Grand National
"Little Polveir" won in 1989 beating 1986 winner "West Tip" by seven lengths in a race, which must have been a nightmare for an owner who sold the horse weeks before. Mike Shone who owned 35% of the horse along with three other partners took the decision to sell six weeks before Aintree to Mr. Edward Harvey. This marked a change for "Little Polveir" who didn't wear the red and white colours of Mike Shone that he had carried for the whole of his racing career.
"Little Polveir's" trainer John Edwards had originally been approached by a group of soldiers who wanted to ride a horse nearing the end of its career in the Grand Military at Sandown. The choice was between "Polveir" and "Castle Warden" both 12 year-old horses that matched the requirement. The owner knew that "Polveir" did not suit a hard ground, which Aintree often presented and was sold. From virtually that day onwards in the 6 weeks leading up to the National many heavy showers occurred, which left the ground very soft on race day suiting "Little Polveir" with Mike Shone missing out on owning the winner but not losing out financially as he had backed the horse to win with his share of the prize money. Shone was pleased for "Little Polveir" though after owning the horse ever since he was 4.
The 1988 Grand National
The well-fancied "Rhyme 'n' Reason" won £85,000 for owner Juliet Reed in the 1988 Grand National. The horse's chances of victory were virtually written off after sprawling badly on all fours at the famous Becher's Brook during the first circuit of the race. The horse and jockey, Brendan Powell somehow managed to recover from the set back and fight their way back into the race catching "Durham Edition" on the run-in to win by four lengths as a 10-1 bet in the horses one and only victory in the big race at Aintree.
“Rhyme ‘n’ Reason” finished ahead of nine others who completed the course with “Durham Edition” second, “Monanore” ridden by Mr. T J Taaffe in third and “West Tip” along with Richard Dunwoody finishing fourth for the second year straight.
The 1987 Grand National
“Maori Venture” the 1987 Grand National in a race, which the horses starting odds were at 28-1, making the horse and jockey Steven Knight unlikely winners. The horse did however manage to beat many much more fancied horses, thirty-nine others again if fact as he ran on win the £64,000 prize money on offer.
The win was the first for the owner of “Mario Venture”, Jim Joel an octogenarian, on a day when twenty-two horses completed the race with 1986 winner “West Tip” and jockey Richard Dunwoody finishing fourth after beginning as 5-1 favourites. “The Tsarevich” and “Lean Ar Aghaidh” were sandwiched in between the pair in second and third.
The 1986 Grand National
The 1986 Grand National was won by a horse named “West Tip” and ridden by Richard Dunwoody the jockey who was claiming his first major win while still being only a 22 years old jockey, which marked his emergence as a top rider. “West Tip” who was “a natural jumper” according to trainer Michael Oliver made several impressive appearances following his win in 1986 with a second place finish in 1989 race at Aintree and a tenth place later in 1990. He was before later retired by owner Peter Luff.
Prior to the victory “West Tip” went through more than his fair share of problems, which included being hit by a lorry something, which left him requiring 80 stitches and he even had a mild heart murmur in 1985. That same year he also broke down on both front legs in the Midlands National and fell at Becher’s Brook when well placed in the Grand National. His trainer however was always confident “West Tip” had what it would take to win a National and that faith was rewarded with a hard earned victory a year later in 1986.
“West Tip” began the race at 15-2 beating thirty-nine other starters including “Young Driver”, “Classified” and “Mr Snugfit” who finished in that order behind the winner. The autobiography of Richard Dunwoody is currently for sale in our bookshop and can be found by clicking here.