The 1985 Grand National
"Last Suspect" won the 1985 Grand National despite being considered a no hoper and beginning with wider odds than any National winner for several years. The horse was ridden by Hywel Davies, owned by Anne Duchess of Westminster and trained by the late Captain Tim Forster OBE, who was winning his third Grand National after earlier successes with "Well To Do" in 1972 and "Ben Nevis" in 1980.
The victory was remarkable given that "Last Suspect" had been virtually brought back from the dead by first aid after a crushing racecourse fall. He did though manage to perform well enough to defeat all thirty-nine other runners and finish ahead of second placed "Mr Snugfit" and jockey Mr. P Tuck who would both return to finish fourth a year later as the 13-2 favourites.
1983 winner "Corbiere" ran a very good race for the third year in a row dropping from first to second in 1984 and now to third in 1985 while ridden this time by Mr. P Schudamore. 1985 favourite "Greasepaint" completed the quartet by finishing fourth along with his jockey Tommy Carmody.
The 1984 Grand National
Returning from his fourth placed finish was "Hallo Dandy" and jockey Neale Doughty who, after racing as 60-1 bets in 1983 were this time installed at 13-1 following their impressive performance. The horse was trained by the well known Gordon Richards and owned by Richard Shaw and ran a very impressive race on the day, holding off now two time runner up "Greasepaint" who was the 9-1 favourite. "Corbiere" returned again and this time dropped to third with "Lucky Vane" ridden by Mr. John Burke in fourth as twenty-three horses completed the course from forty that began.
The twenty-three horses that finished were the most ever in a Grand National since it began all the way back in the 1830's.
"Hallo Dandy" was a few years later sadly found disheveled and neglected in a field, but he is now being looked after in a Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre where he is enjoying his retirement.
The 1983 Grand National
The first ever woman to train a Grand National winner was Jenny Pitman, who trained “Corbiere” the horse that was ridden by Ben De Haan in 1983. Jenny remains the only woman to have trained a National winner up to 2004 and even followed on to repeat the 1983 feat with “Royal Athlete” in 1995. Jenny is unfortunate to not have won three races as trainer as her winning horse in the 1993 Grand National “Esha Ness” then missed out as the race was declared void and just two years earlier “Garrison Savannah” whom she also owned was leading before being caught in the final yards as her son Mark Pitman finished second to “Seagram”.
"Greasepaint" and jockey Mr. C Magnier finished in second at 14-1 which were slightly wider odds than the 13-1 winner, followed in third by "Yer Man" who along with jockey Mr. T V O'Connell began at 80-1 and another complete outsider 60-1 "Hallo Dandy" finished next in fourth.
If you'd like to learn more about Jenny Pitman her autobiography can be found in our bookshop by clicking here.
The 1982 Grand National
In the 1982 Grand National the horse named "Grittar" became only the ninth favourite to win the race this century. He began at 7-1 and along with jockey Dick Saunders did what eighty-nine other favourites couldn't do during the century. The horse that was both owned and trained by the late Frank Gilman who was the last permit-holder to train a National winner.
"Grittar" was ridden by a jockey who had not previously raced in the Grand National and would never do so again, while at the same time the jockey became the oldest winner of the event at 48. Dick Saunders also happened to become the only member of the Jockey Club to ride a National winner. "Hard Outlook" a 50-1 outsider finished second ahead of third and fourth placed "Loving Words" who was remounted by Mr. R Hoare and "Delmoss".
The previous years winning horse "Aldaniti" fell at the first fence as only eight of thirty-nine starters completed the course. Among those eight was Mrs. Geraldine Rees, who became the first female jockey to complete the Grand National course riding "Cheers". The only other female rider to successfully make their way around the course is Rosemary Henderson who did so riding her own horse, the 13 year-old "Fiddlers Pike" to fifth from 100-1 in 1994.
The 1981 Grand National
Bob Champion who had been plagued with injuries throughout his career had fought off cancer and recovered enough to race "Aldaniti" in the 1981 Grand National. The pair began with high expectations at 10-1 and lead from the eleventh fence without ever looking back. Battling into second spot was the 8-1 race favourite combination of "Spartan Missile" and jockey John Thorne who missed out on the winning jackpot, which was now worth £51,324.
"Royal Mail" who carried the same name as the 1937 winner finished third with "Three To One" in fourth as those and another eight horses finished the race from the thirty-nine which began it. There was also something of a reduction in the exceptionally wide odds ever since 1980 something, which has seen only a couple of horses placed at 100-1 or greater, with two being "Over The Deel" in 1995 and "Camelot Knight" in 1997.
The 1980 Grand National
The winning horse in the 1980 Grand National was "Ben Nevis" from the USA who started with jockey Charlie Fenwick at 40-1, odds which were the largest for any National winner since "Foinavon" back in 1967. "Ben Nevis" was one of only a small number horses to complete the course, as the eventual number, which did finish the race, was the lowest since 1959.
"Rough And Tumble" and "The Pilgarlic" both made the first four again, with both moving up a position to finish in second and third respectively followed by "Royal Stuart" in fourth.
Sadly "Red Rum" who was again entered to compete in the Grand National now at age fifteen was pulled out after again being found to be lame, with the horse being retired thereafter in the same year that Aintree's owner, Mrs. Topham also sadly died.
The 1979 Grand National
"Rubstic" and jockey Maurice Barnes won the 1979 Grand National with the pair fending off 1978 winning jockey Bob Davies, who finished second this time on "Zongalero". Thirty-four horses took the field, with only seven of those finishing the race. "Rough And Tumble" was one of those to finish, coming in third place followed by "The Pilgarlic" who finished fourth again, two years after doing so in 1977.
"Red Rum" was again supposed to take part and was now fourteen years old something, which was remarkable in it's self, but an injury shortly before the race kept him from competing. This left many disappointed including Ginger McCain who felt sure the horse would win. This same year jockey Bob Champion was diagnosed with having testicular cancer, which kept him from riding "Aldaniti" in the National. He would however recover and live his dream by winning on that horse in 1981.
The 1978 Grand National
For the first time since 1972 "Red Rum" would not participate in the Grand National after a minor ailment kept him out of the race in 1978. This left the thirty-seven runners a chance to shine as the nations favourite was sadly missed on the day and of those that did race "Lucius" and jockey Bob Davies shined the brightest. "Lucius" who began at 14-1 was quite highly fancied on the day and running under the instructions of Bob Davies, the horse owned by Fiona Whitaker and trained by Gordon Richards performed exceptionally well.
"Sebastian V" went on to finish second with jockey Mr. R Lamb, followed by "Drumroan" in third place and "Coolishall" ridden by jockey Mr. M O'Halloran as all three horses would never again finish as high as they did in the 1978 Grand National.
Trainer Gordon Richards went on to win a second Grand National in 1984 with "Hallo Dandy" and is a well respected and popular figure in horse racing and his book "The Boss: Life and Times of Gordon W. Richards" can be found in our bookshop by clicking here.
The 1977 Grand National
For the third and final time "Red Rum" won the Grand National in 1977, a feat which is unparalleled in racing history and may never be repeated, adding to the argument as to whether "Red Rum" is the greatest horse to race in the National. Tommy Stack was riding the horse for a second time in a National and at twelve years-old "Red Rum's" time was running out to win the event again. In fact at this stage of the horses racing career his calendar of events was mapped out to an extent to give him the best possible chance of a third victory.
"Red Rum" was still the top weight, but it had dropped to 11st 8lbs as he took to the field among forty-one other runners. He did not however have any problems in this year's race, taking the lead just after Becher's Brook and never looking back. If he had of looked back though, he would have seen "Churchtown Boy" who ran on to second place followed by "Eyecatcher" who finished third for a second year running with "Pilgarlic" in fourth.
1977 was also the first year a female jockey competed in the Grand National as Charlotte Brew who rode "Barony Fort" made an appearance with the horse failing for finish after refusing to jump with only four fences left.
The 1976 Grand National
"Rag Trade" won the 1976 Grand National ahead on "Red Rum" who for the second year finished as runner up and was now ridden by Tommy Stack. "Rag Trade" was ridden to victory by jockey John Burke as the pair started at 14-1 and carried 12lbs less than "Red Rum" who began at 10-1 and performed very well, even well enough to gaining on "Rag Trade" from a distance on the straight, but not well enough to win the race as the extra weight held him back.
"Rag Trade" was trained by Fred Rimell who won the Grand National for a fourth and final time and owned by Pierre Raymond who was winning the event for a second time some thirteen years after his first victory with "Ayala" back in 1963. The mare named "Eyecatcher" finished third in 1976 followed by 7-1 favourite "Barona" in fourth as sixteen of the thirty-two runners completed the course.
The 1975 Grand National
Tommy Carberry, who would later train 1999 winner "Bobbyjo" returned to win the 1975 Grand National again with "L'Escargot" following impressive positions of third in 1973 and second in 1974. The pair began at 13-2 and are one of only two horses to finish higher than "Red Rum" in a National, the other being "Rag Trade" in 1976.
"Red Rum" started 11lbs heavier than "L'Escargot" but ran well throughout the entire National, leading for much of it and only being pushed back into second near the end as the soft ground favoured "L'Escargot" the lighter horse. "Spanish Steps" finished third and had the unfortunate experience of his peak years coinciding with those of "Red Rum" and "L'Escargot", which otherwise may have seen the horse win the Aintree spectacular followed by "Money Market" in fourth.
The 1974 Grand National
The 1974 Grand National was won by "Red Rum" which was the horse's second victory in the event which the horse was again ridden by jockey Brian Fletcher, trained by Donald McCain and owned by Noel Le Mare. The horse was had high expectations for a repeat, but the odds had widened from 9-1 to 11-1 and "Red Rum" was no longer the favourite. This was largely due to the horse having to carry 12st, which due to the excessive weight helped build the relationship between horse and fans.
"Red Rum" became the first horse since "Reynoldstown" in 1935 and 1936 to win back-to-back Grand Nationals and was the first seen doing so live on TV as several of the more fancied horses for the previous year also finished well. Among them was the horse named "L'Escargot" with jockey Tommy Carberry in second, "Charles Dickens" in third and "Spanish Steps" again finishing fourth.
The 1973 Grand National
The most famous horse ever to race "Red Rum" won the 1973 Grand National. The horse, which would run in five Nationals winning three and finishing second in the other two was making his debut in the Grand National but not at Aintree as he had ridden on the course twice before, winning one race and finishing second the other time.
"Red Rum" began the 1973 Grand National as the 9-1 joint favourite to win and did so as one of only eleven horses to win the Grand National as a favourite this century, with jockey Brian Fletcher in the saddle. "Red Rum" had been behind eventual runner up and the other joint 9-1 favourite "Crisp" and jockey Richard Pitman who had lead virtually all the way and at one point was twenty lengths ahead of "Red Rum" before sheer determination helped the horse catch up and overtake in the last stride to win.
"L'Escargot" who would go on to beat "Red Rum" and win the 1975 Grand National finished third with jockey Tommy Carberry who would still be riding the horse two years later following in fourth by "Spanish Steps" as seventeen of thirty-eight starters would complete the course.
"Red Rum" who is now buried under beneath the course is the most well known horse to ever compete and has probably had more books published about him and those close to him than any other horse to ever race anywhere in the world. To see our collection of books about "Red Rum" which include "Red Rum: The Story of Ginger McCain and His Legendary Horse" please visit our bookshop by clicking here.
The 1972 Grand National
"Gay Trip" who won the 1970 Grand National returned to the top four in 1972, this time in second place with jockey Mr. T W Biddlecombe who was also returning to the top four with this being his third and finaly appearance amongst the group. The two finished behind winning jockey Graham Thorner and the 14-1 horse "Well To Do" who was trained and owned by Captain Tim Forster OBE.
Tim Forster would win three Grand Nationals and was a renowned pessimist who only declared "Well To Do" would run with fifteen minutes to spare as he was not sure whether the horse should be risked at Aintree. Tim would go on to train the 1980 Grand National winner Ben Nevis and to win again in 1985 with a horse called "Last Suspect".
1971 runner up "Black Secret" dropped a place in 1972 to finish third in a dead-heat with "General Symons" as only nine of forty-two horses completed the course.
The 1971 Grand National
A horse called "Specify" and jockey John Cook won the 1971 Grand National after the pair began at 28-1 and were not fancied to do all that well among the thirty-eight starters. The pair did however surpass expectations to finish ahead of the twelve other horses to complete the course followed by "Black Secret" in second who had also began with fairly long odds of 20-1. "Astbury" at 33-1 finished third with 66-1 horse "Bowgeeno" in fourth as the pair made up a group which were never expected to come close to winning the National.
The 1970 Grand National
The first Grand National of the 1970's was won by "Gay Trip" who along with runner up "Vulture" began the race at 15-1 as the pair would finish ahead of only five other horses which completed the race from the twenty-eight that started. "Gay Trip" was ridden by Pat Taaffe and trained by Fred Rimell who was winning his third Grand National with three different horses. Fred would go on to win his fourth six years later and is only one of two trainers to win four Nationals, Ginger McCain being the other.
The twenty-eight runners marked the first time since 1960 that fewer than thirty would race in a Grand National. The two horses to complete the group of four to finish first were "Miss Hunter" a 33-1 outsider ridden by Mr. F Shortt and "Dozo" who finished foiurth with 1969 winning jockey Eddie Harty.
The 1969 Grand National
"Highland Wedding" won the 1969 Grand National as the race participants dropped under forty runners for the first time in five years. The winning horse was ridden by jockey Eddie Harty and trained by well-known trainer Toby Balding who would also trainer 1989 winning horse "Little Polvier". The horse began the race at 100-9 and finished ahead of 50-1 outsider "Steel Bridge" who was ridden by Mr. Richard Pitman in second, "Rondetto" in third and "The Beeches" in fourth place.
The 1968 Grand National
"Red Alligator" won the 1968 Grand National ridden by Brian Fletcher who would go on to win three Grand Nationals and ride "Red Rum" to victory in 1973 and 1974. "Red Alligator" became the third horse in three years and fifth since the end of the Second World War to win while carrying over 10st in weight and began at 100-7. "Moidore's Token" finished the race third followed by "Rutherfords" in fourth as seventeen of the forty-five, which started the race, would complete the course.
Jockey Brian Fletcher who had finished third a year earlier with the same horse, "Red Alligator" would go on to have an exceptional record in the Grand National, winning as mentioned three Nationals and was a jockey who may have won more if it was not for a falling out with "Red Rum's" trainer Ginger McCain who then went on to replace Brian with jockey Tommy Stack who partnered the "Red Rum" to victory in the 1977 Grand National.
"Red Rum" raced again at Aintree in 1968, just half an hour after the Grand National was finished when the horse paired up with jockey Lestor Piggott and were both beaten by a short head in the Earl of Sefton's Plate.
The 1967 Grand National
For the third year in a row the race favourite would finish second in the Grand National with it this time being 15-2 "Honey End" and jockey Mr. J Gifford. The winning horse that would finish ahead of the pair was called "Foinavon" and won from 100-1 odds for jockey John Buckingham, trainer John Kempton and owner Cyril Watkins.
"Foinavon" later had a fence named after him following a strange set of events, which led to the horse having a chance at victory after a poor outing which placed him near the back of the field as the leaders headed on towards the fence after Becher's Brook. The fence was one of the smallest on the course, but was first reached by several rider less horses which refused to jump over, this caused the chasing horses to slow down as they approached the fence and either stop, throw their riders off or not have the speed to get over.
This fortunately left jockey John Buckingham who watched the chaos from the back the ability to catch up, guide "Foinavon" away from the danger, jump the fence at a slower than normal pace and race on to victory.
Seventeen other horses completed the course with all being remounted, but none offered any competition to "Foinavon" from this point on with the horse finishing fifteen lengths ahead of "Honey End". "Red Alligator" ridden by Brian Fletcher finished third with Mr. T W Biddlecombe in fourth on "Greek Scholar". This year was also the year, which "Red Rum" was to make his first appearance at Aintree as a two-year-old in a five-furlong sprint finishing in a dead-heat for first with a horse named "Curlicue" the day before the Grand National.
The 1966 Grand National
"Anglo" won the 1966 Grand National, which would be for trainer Fred Winter his fourth and final National victory. Fred Winter first won in 1957 as a jockey and in the nine years between then and 1966 he won a second as the rider and two as trainer with those coming last year and this. Tim Norman won his one and only Grand National riding "Anglo", who was a huge outsider at 50-1 and ran for owner Mr. Stuart Levy as the horse became only the third winner of a National carrying over 10st in weight since the end of the Second World War.
Runner up in 1965 "Freddie" returned with Mr. P McCarron again in the saddle as the pair were installed as favourites for a second time, this time with odds of 11-4. The two would however never win the Grand National or finish this high again. Third place belonged to Mr. G Scott and his horse "Forest Prince" followed by "The Fossa" and jockey Mr. T W Biddlecombe who would finish well over the next few years and even ride returning Grand National winner "Gay Trip" in 1971.
A japans horse called "Fujino-o" became the fifth foreign horse to race in a National in 1966, but continued the trend set by previous horses by failing to complete the course.
The 1965 Grand National
In the 1965 Grand National 47 horses would begin the race just like in 1963 and again the following year in 1966, with each National having over ten horses completing the course something, which was often difficult to achieve given the congestion caused early on. This time "Jay Trump" would add his name to those that have won the event while ridden by Mr. Tommy Smith and producing a third win for jockey turned trainer Fred Winter. The team began at 100-6 and was one of fourteen finishers on the day.
The horse named "Freddie" would finish second with jockey Mr. P McCarron as 7-2 favourites with the pair also finishing in the same position in 1966 with them this year being followed in third by "Mr Jones" and "Rainbow Battle" ridden by well known Mr. G Wilburn in fourth.
The 1964 Grand National
"Team Spirit" and Mr. George W Robinson both returned to compete in the 1964 Grand National and actually began with wider odds that 1963m which was quite unusual given that they had finished fourth. This time the pair dropped from 13-1 to 18-1 but the odds, as always are just a guide as to how the horses should do and would not bother the two that finished ahead of the other thirty-two starters to win the National.
Second, third and fourth place finishes had unusually long odds, surprisingly many with their collective effort as much more fancied horses fell by the way side. The three horses to finish behind "Team Spirit" in the top four were "Purple Silk", "Peacetown" and "Eternal" with odds of 100-6, 40-1 and 66-1 respectively.
The 1963 Grand National
"Ayala" and jockey Pat Buckley won the 1963 Grand National, with the horse being trained by another Piggott, with it this time being Keith Piggott. "Ayala" was a huge outsider with starting odds of 66-1, but was definitely known to be a wise choice for the race as owner Pierre Raymond proved he had a keen eye for horses and would even win a second National over a decade later as owner of "Rag Trade".
"Carrickbeg" finished second from a large field of runners, which numbered forty-seven on the day. Twenty-two of those finished, which was an exceptionally high number to complete the race, with third and fourth place horses being "Hawa's Song" ridden by Mr. P Broderick and "Team Spirit" ridden by Mr. George W Robinson.
The 1962 Grand National
Jockey Fred Winter who won the 1957 Grand National on "Sundew" won for a second time in 1961 on 28-1 "Kilmore". Fred Winter would win two further Grand National, both times as a trainer in both 1965 with "Jay Trump" and the following year with "Anglo". "Wyndburgh" finished for the fourth time in the top four of a National, this time in second followed by 1958 "Mr What" third and "Gay Navarree" fourth.
The Grand National had seen something of a good change the last couple of years as seventeen horses completed the course in 1962 with 14 doing so the year before. This trend was to continue over the next few years and was a vast improvement on the 1959 and 1960 Nationals in which only twelve horses total made it past the post.
The 1961 Grand National
The 1961 Grand National was won by "Nicolaus Silver" a 28-1 outsider ridden by Bobby Beasley and trained by Fred Rimell. Fred Rimell had trained "E.S.B" when that horse won the 1956 Grand National and he would also go on to train "Gay Trip" to victory in 1970 and "Rag Trade" also to victory six years later in 1976. "Merryman II" finished second and was highly fancied before the race, beginning with odds of 8-1, followed by "O'Malley's Point" and "Scottish Flight II" ridden by Mr. W Rees".
Thirty-five horses lined up for the 1961 Grand National with two Russian horses amongst them as both "Relief" and "Grifel" ran, with neither finishing. "Relief" departed the race after unseating the jockey, while "Grifel" fell, was remounted and continued before pulling up later on.