If you love a punt on the Grand National and you love the whole spectacle of the great race – as do many people around the world – the list below will be full of names you’ll recognise. They aren’t intended to be the best ever – just those horses that have really captured the imagination of the British public within living memory.
10. Devon Loch
Everyone knows the Devon Loch story because he collapsed on all fours just yards from the line with the great race at his mercy in 1956 and with the late Dick Francis on board. The event was simply extra-ordinary and eye-opening. ESB was the lucky recipient of the victory courtesy of Devon Loch’s inexplicable sprawl.
In the 1973 Grand National, Crisp made all the running with Richard Pitman aloft – only to be passed in the last stride by a fast-finishing Red Rum winning his inaugural Grand National.
Winner in 1983 to help Jenny Pitman (ex-wife of the afore-mentioned Richard) become the first female ever to win a National, a great horse, a great race and wonderful achievement. Jenny won the race again with Royal Athlete in 1995.
7. Party Politics
A giant of a horse (officially the biggest ever horse to win the race) Party Politics was the housewives’ choice in the election year of 1992, costing some bookies a fortune in the process.
6. Mon Mome
2009 winner Mon Mome, ridden by Liam Treadwell whose teeth the BBC’s Clare Balding managed to insult in the post-race interview, serves a place on the list for winning at the massive price of 100-1 and for being trained by another woman, Venetia Williams – who become only the second female to train a winner.
5. Amberleigh House
The 2004 winner Amberleigh House deserves a special mention for two reasons. Firstly, he was trained by the late Ginger McCain, trainer years before of the legendary Red Rum. This was Ginger’s only other National winner, but he still has four wins to his name of course. The other reason is that Amberleigh House was that rare thing, an old winner aged twelve. No 12-year-old has won the National since.
Seven years later it was the turn of Ginger’s son Don McCain Junior to train the winner in the shape of Ballabriggs. Thankfully, Ginger lived to see his son emulate his own feats, just months before Ginger’s death.
3. Neptune Collonges
The 2012 winner Neptune Collonges, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Daryl Jacob deserves a special mention for being one of only very few greys to win a National (the last had been Nicolaus Silver in 1961, with only one ever before that) and for winning by the narrowest margin ever – just managing to catch the unlucky Sunnyhillboy on the line to win by the shortest recordable difference; “a nose”.
Most people know the story of Aldaniti’s 1981 win with Bob Champion riding tanks to the film “Champions” which told the story of the jockey’s come-back from testicular cancer and the horse’s recovery from life-threatening injury; not a dry eye in the house!
1. Red Rum
There could only ever be one winner on this list and that’s the greatest Grand National horse ever, Red Rum, who is now buried underneath the winning post at Aintree. Red Rum won his first two Grand Nationals in 1973 and 74, setting a record time in the first and overcoming huge weight in the second. The following two years, again under top weight he finished second then came back to win his third and last National in 1977 – an unbelievable accomplishment.