Aintree Royalty – Tiger’s History Book Rivals

Red Rum Previous Winners

Red Rum Statue. Photo (cropped) by vegaseddie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

With back-to-back wins in the world’s most iconic jumps race Tiger Roll is firmly in the Aintree history books now.

Should he make it three-in-a-row in 2020 arguably he’ll become the greatest story in the history of this magnificent race. Here are five horses beside him already in storied Aintree book of racing folklore.

Foinavon – 1967

Ever found yourself wondering where some of the National fences get their names from? Quite a few have a story to tell and none more so than Foinavon – one of the smallest fences on the national course but with a tall tale to tell.

Foinavon was a notoriously methodical jumper who arrived at Aintree in 1967 as a 100/1 outsider.

His Grand National odds seemed fully justified when he began to become tailed off on the second circuit.

As the leaders approached the 23rd fence the riderless Popham Down veered straight across the fence without jumping it causing all sorts of trouble as he did.

Many of the leaders were forced to slow down and either fell or refused to jump the fence that we now know as Foinavon, with the chasing pack also suffering as a result.

John Buckingham meanwhile on Foinavon was able to see the carnage as he approached and navigated around the trouble to take the lead as the only runner that jumped the fence at the first time of asking.

Of the fallen horses, 17 remounted to give chase to Foinavon but they couldn’t catch up in time and a Grand National legend was born.

Red Rum – 1977

Perhaps no horse quite captures the spirit of the Grand National like Red Rum.

Ginger McCain’s legend at Aintree was born form the remarkable feats of the horse that triumphed three times in 1970’s while also finishing runner-up twice.

In 1973, Red Rum won for the first time, reeling in long-time leader Crisp in the dying strides. He won again a year later before twice settling for second spot.

Brian Fletcher had partnered him to victory twice but he suffered the wrath of McCain and it was Tommy Stack on board in 1977 as he completed his hat-trick.

Red Rum travelled supremely and jumped like a stag, coming home first as legendary commentary Peter O’Sullivan declared “it’s hats off and a tremendous reception – you’ve never heard one like it at Liverpool.”

Aldaniti – 1981

Rarely has the Grand National tugged at the heartstrings as fervently as when Aldaniti and Bob Champion prevailed in 1981.

The horse had suffered chronic injuries and was set for the scrap head while Champion had two years previously been diagnosed with cancer and was given just months to live.

The jockey revealed that throughout the darkest days of his illness the dream of riding the winner in the Grand National had kept him going.

Together, Aldaniti and Champion provided one of the most fitting Grand National results of all time – a true triumph over adversity.
Such was the compelling nature of their story that it was later turned into the hit movie ‘Champions’.

Corbiere – 1983

Corbiere’s victory was memorable for two reasons – his trainer Jenny Pitman became the first woman to train the Grand National winner but also an outstanding round of jumping from the eight-year-old.

Despite his tender years, Corbiere had already landed that season’s Welsh National and he produced an exemplary display of jumping at Aintree, scarcely touching a twig on the way round the 30 daunting fences.

His rider Ben de Haan never had a moment of worry on the 13/1 chance that would run in the race on four more occasions, finishing third in 1984 and 1985.

Pitman landed the race for a second time in 1995 with Royal Athlete, while Venetia Williams (Mon Mome 2009), Sue Smith (Auroras Encore 2013) and Lucinda Russell (One For Arthur 2017) have since flown the flat for female trainers in winning this race.

Neptune Collonges – 2012

In 2012 we were treated to one of the tightest finishes in Grand National history.

Multiple champion trainer Paul Nicholls got his first win in the race courtesy of the gutsy grey Neptune Collonges sticking his neck out to deny Jonjo O’Neill another victory with Sunnyhillboy.

The official winning distance record was just a nose – an agonisingly fine margin at the end of four-miles-and-two-furlongs around Aintree.

Daryl Jacob was on board the grey Neptune Collonges, sent off a 33/1 chance, and they grabbed Sunnyhillboy in the dying strides but had to wait for the result of a photo-finish before enjoying their moment of glory.

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