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20 Aug 2020

Grand National Success & Failures

The Grand National is something of a Marmite race. 

People either love it or hate it. I must admit, back in the day, it was a gruesome course that has been transformed into a much safer race in this modern time. Thankfully so. Because the greatest steeplechase of them all needs to be loved by those who want to enjoy a true racing spectacle. 

I have run a number of horse racing websites and written many articles and even written a Grand National Guide for leading publications. But I love to write about the National as it is one race that appeals across the board. From the housewife to the dedicated gambler. Those who pick their horse because of its names, colour of its silks, or lucky pin. 

Some punters have won and lost a fortune. 

What I like about the race are the stories. So often betting seems all about the horse on the day - which it is in many ways. 

However, you can guarantee if you dig a little you will find a story that leaves you wondering how is it even possible. 

Who would have guessed that a 100/1 winner would have happened? If memory serves, there have been five. 

Personally, horses such as West Tip (pictured), Classified, Aldaniti, and Red Rum come to mind. All have their reasons and it wasn't that they all won. 

Readers may remember West Tip who won the Grand National in 1986, trained by Michael Oliver and owned by Peter Luff. He was ridden to success by Richard Dunwoody at the odds of 15/2. 

However, the year before, he started joint-favourite but fell at Becher's Brook on the second circuit. 

West Tip was a remarkably consistent horse who took part in the Grand National racing year after year from 1985 - 1990. 

His performances:

1985 - Fell
1986 - 1st
1987 - 4th 
1988 - 4th
1989 - 2nd
1990 - 10th

A truly gallant horse who loved his racing and achieved great success throughout his career. 

It is often the case that the best stories are yet to be told - even if they happened 50-years ago. 

The Grand National is a race that means so much to so many. Even race fans from across the globe know about this steeplechase. 

The Grand National has so many more stories to tell. 

It's only a matter of time before you are telling your children that back in the day you bet on a horse that won at odds of 100/1. 

These include: 

Tipperary Tim 
Gregalach
Caughoo
Foinavon 
Mon Mone 

The first won in 1926 while the last proved successful in 2009.

Of all the winners Red Rum is the only horse to win the race three times and feat that looked impossible to beat. However, Tiger Roll is maybe one horse who could attempt to beat this record or, at least, equal it after two victories in recent years. This could be the case if the Grand National takes place in 2021. 

If Tiger Roll equals this title I still can't help thinking Red Rum will be admired as the best winner of them all and synonymous with the Grand National.  

In ways, I hope his achievement isn't equaled or beaten. 

(Just a personal view). 

Never say never.

But to be a winner - you have to bet. 

Perhaps the next winner will be 200/1.

Be lucky.