6 GREATEST NATIONALS BEFORE RACHAEL BLACKMORE

1900    Ambush, the only royal winner. He was owned by the future Edward VII in his last year as Prince of Wales and one in which the Prince’s aptly named Diamond Jubilee would win flat racing’s Triple Crown.

1919    Poethlyn, the first National back at Aintree after its wartime running at Gatwick. He was ridden by Lester Piggott’s grandfather Lester Piggott, carried top weight of 12st7lbs and at 11-4 was the shortest priced favourite in National history.

1938    Battleship. He had travelled from America measuring a diminutive 15.2 hands while at 6 foot 2  and 17 years old Bruce Hobbs was the tallest and youngest of winning riders. Battleship was also ungelded which must have made jumping Bechers pretty dodgy.  

1977    Red Rum’s record third victory after also logging two previous seconds making him the most successful jumper of them all. He was also a local legend, trained on Southport sands by Ginger McCain who in a former life once drove a lion all the way to London Zoo in the back of his cab.

1981    Aldaniti: the impossible dream, the horse coming back from the cripple’s stall and Bob Champion 18 months on from what looked like fatal cancer. 6 years later horse and rider walked from Buckingham Palace to Aintree for the Bob Champion Trust and this morning Bob sets out on another walk to add to the 15 million already raised in the cause.

2010    Don’t Push It. A supremely inappropriate name for the most treasured winner of AP McCoy’s record breaking, effort busting career. It was his fifteenth attempt after an extensive set of disasters and, boy, did he show his relief.

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