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6 Apr 2017

Aldaniti Wins the Grand National 1981

The Grand National 2017. The most popular steeplechase in the world. The big day starts at Aintree, Liverpool, celebrating the bravest horses and jockeys in the land. This National Hunt race is run over 4 miles 514y, 30 fences, over two laps of a daunting course. Fortunes won and lost with a jump of a fence.

The bookmakers call this race the housewife's favourite because it is a betting medium for those who rarely chance their luck. If you fancy a bet simply click here to bet on Grand Opening Day

On this day – everyone wants to bet!

Whether you pick a lucky name, favourite jockey, trainer or the silks match your dress it's time to bet.

Did you now that five horses have won at odds of 100-1? Which horses are brave enough to jump fences with obscure names: Foinavon, The Chair, Becher's Brook, The Canal Turn...

Will you find the biggest priced winner in history?

The Grand National is a race where stories are told and made. I'm sure at some time or another the mythical Pegasus must have looked on in awe.

Many of the greatest winners have come from humble beginnings. Red Rum, who went on to win three races, placed second twice more, cost just 400 guineas.

Other stories defy the odds not just on the bookmaker's boards but in life.

One of the most memorable being that of Aldaniti who proved victorious in 1981.

This son of Derek H was foaled in 1970, bred by Harrow Stud and trained by Josh Gifford. He was owned by Nick Embiricos. Who would have guessed that eleven years later he would stop a nation, racegoers emotional, their eyes brimming with tears. Those emotions were nothing to do with loss but bravery, courage and battle for life.

Aldaniti had proven himself to be a very good horse when third in the 1979 Gold Cup and second in the Scottish National. However, he suffered a terrible leg injury at Sandown later that season and was off course for more than a year recuperating.

His big race would be the Grand National 4th April 1981.

Would Aldaniti stay sound? The bookmaker had him priced at 10-1, second favourite to the strapping Spartan Missile.

Aldaniti with all his problems had an equally courageous jockey. Bob Champion had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and given months to live. Both horse and jockey captured the hearts of a nation who willed them on with every fence jumped.

Aldaniti took the lead at the eleventh fence, fighting off the late challenge of Spartan Missile to win by four lengths.

Bob Champion survived cancer and helped raise millions of pounds for charity.

On the following day after their memorable victory, over 3000 people turned out to welcome Aldaniti back to his stables at Findon.

Next year the partnership tried to win the National once more but this time they fell at the first fence.

In 1983 the film Champions was made of this remarkable story, starring John Hurt.

Aldaniti passed away at the age of 27.