The Grand National
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Grand National History 1989 - 1980

Aintree Grand National 1989

"Little Polveir" won in 1989 beating 1986 winner "West Tip" by seven lengths in a race, which must have been a nightmare for an owner who sold the horse weeks before. Mike Shone who owned 35% of the horse along with three other partners took the decision to sell six weeks before Aintree to Mr. Edward Harvey. This marked a change for "Little Polveir" who didn't wear the red and white colours of Mike Shone that he had carried for the whole of his racing career.

"Little Polveir's" trainer John Edwards had originally been approached by a group of soldiers who wanted to ride a horse nearing the end of its career in the Grand Military at Sandown. The choice was between "Polveir" and "Castle Warden" both 12 year-old horses that matched the requirement. The owner knew that "Polveir" did not suit a hard ground, which Aintree often presented and was sold. From virtually that day onwards in the 6 weeks leading up to the National many heavy showers occurred, which left the ground very soft on race day suiting "Little Polveir" with Mike Shone missing out on owning the winner but not losing out financially as he had backed the horse to win with his share of the prize money. Shone was pleased for "Little Polveir" though after owning the horse ever since he was 4.

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Aintree Grand National 1988

The well-fancied "Rhyme 'n' Reason" won £85,000 for owner Juliet Reed in the 1988 Grand National. The horse's chances of victory were virtually written off after sprawling badly on all fours at the famous Becher's Brook during the first circuit of the race. The horse and jockey, Brendan Powell somehow managed to recover from the set back and fight their way back into the race catching "Durham Edition" on the run-in to win by four lengths as a 10-1 bet in the horses one and only victory in the big race at Aintree.

“Rhyme ‘n’ Reason” finished ahead of nine others who completed the course with “Durham Edition” second, “Monanore” ridden by Mr. T J Taaffe in third and “West Tip” along with Richard Dunwoody finishing fourth for the second year straight.

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Aintree Grand National 1987

“Maori Venture” the 1987 Grand National in a race, which the horses starting odds were at 28-1, making the horse and jockey Steven Knight unlikely winners. The horse did however manage to beat many much more fancied horses, thirty-nine others again if fact as he ran on win the £64,000 prize money on offer.

The win was the first for the owner of “Mario Venture”, Jim Joel an octogenarian, on a day when twenty-two horses completed the race with 1986 winner “West Tip” and jockey Richard Dunwoody finishing fourth after beginning as 5-1 favourites. “The Tsarevich” and “Lean Ar Aghaidh” were sandwiched in between the pair in second and third.

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Aintree Grand National 1986

The 1986 Grand National was won by a horse named “West Tip” and ridden by Richard Dunwoody the jockey who was claiming his first major win while still being only a 22 years old jockey, which marked his emergence as a top rider. “West Tip” who was “a natural jumper” according to trainer Michael Oliver made several impressive appearances following his win in 1986 with a second place finish in 1989 race at Aintree and a tenth place later in 1990. He was before later retired by owner Peter Luff.

Prior to the victory “West Tip” went through more than his fair share of problems, which included being hit by a lorry something, which left him requiring 80 stitches and he even had a mild heart murmur in 1985. That same year he also broke down on both front legs in the Midlands National and fell at Becher’s Brook when well placed in the Grand National. His trainer however was always confident “West Tip” had what it would take to win a National and that faith was rewarded with a hard earned victory a year later in 1986.

“West Tip” began the race at 15-2 beating thirty-nine other starters including “Young Driver”, “Classified” and “Mr Snugfit” who finished in that order behind the winner.

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Aintree Grand National 1985

"Last Suspect" won the 1985 Grand National despite being considered a no hoper and beginning with wider odds than any National winner for several years. The horse was ridden by Hywel Davies, owned by Anne Duchess of Westminster and trained by the late Captain Tim Forster OBE, who was winning his third Grand National after earlier successes with "Well To Do" in 1972 and "Ben Nevis" in 1980.

The victory was remarkable given that "Last Suspect" had been virtually brought back from the dead by first aid after a crushing racecourse fall. He did though manage to perform well enough to defeat all thirty-nine other runners and finish ahead of second placed "Mr Snugfit" and jockey Mr. P Tuck who would both return to finish fourth a year later as the 13-2 favourites.

1983 winner "Corbiere" ran a very good race for the third year in a row dropping from first to second in 1984 and now to third in 1985 while ridden this time by Mr. P Schudamore. 1985 favourite "Greasepaint" completed the quartet by finishing fourth along with his jockey Tommy Carmody.

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Aintree Grand National 1984

Returning from his fourth placed finish was "Hallo Dandy" and jockey Neale Doughty who, after racing as 60-1 bets in 1983 were this time installed at 13-1 following their impressive performance. The horse was trained by the well known Gordon Richards and owned by Richard Shaw and ran a very impressive race on the day, holding off now two time runner up "Greasepaint" who was the 9-1 favourite. "Corbiere" returned again and this time dropped to third with "Lucky Vane" ridden by Mr. John Burke in fourth as twenty-three horses completed the course from forty that began. The twenty-three horses that finished were the most ever in a Grand National since it began all the way back in the 1830's.

"Hallo Dandy" was a few years later sadly found disheveled and neglected in a field, but he is now being looked after in a Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre where he is enjoying his retirement.

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Aintree Grand National 1983

The first ever woman to train a Grand National winner was Jenny Pitman, who trained “Corbiere” the horse that was ridden by Ben De Haan in 1983. Jenny remains the only woman to have trained a National winner up to 2004 and even followed on to repeat the 1983 feat with “Royal Athlete” in 1995. Jenny is unfortunate to not have won three races as trainer as her winning horse in the 1993 Grand National “Esha Ness” then missed out as the race was declared void and just two years earlier “Garrison Savannah” whom she also owned was leading before being caught in the final yards as her son Mark Pitman finished second to “Seagram”.

"Greasepaint" and jockey Mr. C Magnier finished in second at 14-1 which were slightly wider odds than the 13-1 winner, followed in third by "Yer Man" who along with jockey Mr. T V O'Connell began at 80-1 and another complete outsider 60-1 "Hallo Dandy" finished next in fourth.

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Aintree Grand National 1982

In the 1982 Grand National the horse named "Grittar" became only the ninth favourite to win the race this century. He began at 7-1 and along with jockey Dick Saunders did what eighty-nine other favourites couldn't do during the century. The horse that was both owned and trained by the late Frank Gilman who was the last permit-holder to train a National winner.

"Grittar" was ridden by a jockey who had not previously raced in the Grand National and would never do so again, while at the same time the jockey became the oldest winner of the event at 48. Dick Saunders also happened to become the only member of the Jockey Club to ride a National winner. "Hard Outlook" a 50-1 outsider finished second ahead of third and fourth placed "Loving Words" who was remounted by Mr. R Hoare and "Delmoss".

The previous years winning horse "Aldaniti" fell at the first fence as only eight of thirty-nine starters completed the course. Among those eight was Mrs. Geraldine Rees, who became the first female jockey to complete the Grand National course riding "Cheers". The only other female rider to successfully make their way around the course is Rosemary Henderson who did so riding her own horse, the 13 year-old "Fiddlers Pike" to fifth from 100-1 in 1994.

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Aintree Grand National 1981

Bob Champion who had been plagued with injuries throughout his career had fought off cancer and recovered enough to race "Aldaniti" in the 1981 Grand National. The pair began with high expectations at 10-1 and lead from the eleventh fence without ever looking back. Battling into second spot was the 8-1 race favourite combination of "Spartan Missile" and jockey John Thorne who missed out on the winning jackpot, which was now worth £51,324.

"Royal Mail" who carried the same name as the 1937 winner finished third with "Three To One" in fourth as those and another eight horses finished the race from the thirty-nine which began it. There was also something of a reduction in the exceptionally wide odds ever since 1980 something, which has seen only a couple of horses placed at 100-1 or greater, with two being "Over The Deel" in 1995 and "Camelot Knight" in 1997.

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Aintree Grand National 1980

The winning horse in the 1980 Grand National was "Ben Nevis" from the USA who started with jockey Charlie Fenwick at 40-1, odds which were the largest for any National winner since "Foinavon" back in 1967. "Ben Nevis" was one of only a small number horses to complete the course, as the eventual number, which did finish the race, was the lowest since 1959.

"Rough And Tumble" and "The Pilgarlic" both made the first four again, with both moving up a position to finish in second and third respectively followed by "Royal Stuart" in fourth.

Sadly "Red Rum" who was again entered to compete in the Grand National now at age fifteen was pulled out after again being found to be lame, with the horse being retired thereafter in the same year that Aintree's owner, Mrs. Topham also sadly died.

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