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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By HRI Foreign Staff — Around the world, racing fans look to their showcase events each year. In the U.S., everyone’s tongues are already wagging about the Kentucky Derby, which gets underway in May. In Australia, it’s the Melbourne Cup that people are hotly anticipating. However, before those renowned races on the sporting calendar comes the Grand National in the U.K.

The race will once again be held at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, and it gets underway on April 9th, when this year 40 runners will all be aiming for the glory of being first past the post.

Last year NBC reported on a historic first-ever female winner as Rachel Blackmore rode Minella Times to victory. The winning pair is back gunning for glory in 2022, and punters are already eyeing form guides ahead of the event. Galvin is the early favorite, narrowly ahead of Any Second Now in the current horse racing odds from Ladbrokes. However, much could change between now and then, with Run Wild Fred and Conflated also fancied for victory. While others are tipped to take the win this year, it’s Blackmore that is determined to rewrite history once again aboard Minella Times. Another win would see the Irish thoroughbred join Tiger Roll and the legendary Red Rum as only the third horse to win the Grand National in consecutive years.

While we wait for the starting gun to be fired, let’s look at the top five races in the history of the world’s greatest steeplechase.

1990 – Mr. Frisk

We start this list with a record holder, Mr. Frisk is the horse’s name who has won the Grand National in the fastest ever time, in a time that still stands to this day. Right from the off, Mr. Frisk showed his pace, heading the pack with Uncle Merlin, one of a few who could manage to keep within a few lengths. Amateur jockey Marcus Armytage pushed his steed right to the line, with the pace proving to be too much for Uncle Merlin, who unseated his rider with two to go, leaving Mr. Frisk to race home in record time.

2010 – Don’t Push It

Jockey AP McCoy is one of the best jockeys of all time, but heading into 2010, the racing legend was still missing a Grand National win on his record. But aboard Don’t Push It, McCoy had found the perfect partner to ride to a memorable win. The pair fended off the late push of Black Apalachi down the final straight and felt the warm glow of a winner in the legendary steeplechase.

2012 – Neptune Collonges

There’s nothing like a close race right to the line and in 2012, racing fans certainly got that, making it one of the finest races in the history of the Grand National. Trained by Paul Nicholls, Neptune Collonges was the first grey to win the showcase event in over 50 years as he battled the four-mile and four-furlong course with Sunnyhillboy at his side stride for stride right to the very end.

2019 – Tiger Roll

Forty-five years after Red Rum romped to victory to take back-to-back Grand National titles, Tiger Roll was in line to repeat the feat. After a fantastic season leading into the Aintree meeting, the excitement was palpable amongst the crowd that history could be written in front of their eyes, and they weren’t to be disappointed. In 2018 it was a close race that excited the fans, but in the 2019 race, the volume went up another notch as Tiger Roll showed all his qualities in abundance by striding to victory.

1973- Red Rum

No list of Grand National winners is ever complete without the inclusion of Red Rum, and the 1973 running was the one that elevated the horse into the hearts of racing lovers worldwide. Going into the race, the Australian horse, Crisp, was the hot favorite after coming over from the Southern Hemisphere with every major accolade on his honors list. Crisp raced into a 20-length lead that no one imagined could be broken, even going into the last 15-lengths ahead, but he had gone too soon. Seeing Crisp tiring, Red Rum’s jockey, Brian Fletcher summed up all of Red Rum’s energy to power home for the first of his three unprecedented victories.

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3 Responses

  1. The 1967 Grand National may never crack anyone’s ‘best five’, but it’s certainly the most memorable.

    1. Please remind me of the circumstances, Nick, and perhaps I’ll chase it down on You Tube thereafter. Thanks!

      I remember seeing one once where there was lots of carnage, I don’t care to revisit that one but again, please LMK

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