AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

LOOK SHARPE: National Novelties

Sports betting PR legend GRAHAM SHARPE looks ahead to the 2024 Grand National in his latest ‘LOOK SHARPE’ column…

THE LAMB was owned by Lord Poulett, who dreamed in late 1870 he would win the 1871 National, partnered by jockey Tommy Pickernell. He persuaded Pickernell to take the ride, sparking a gamble which saw the dream come true at 5/1.

VOLUPTUARY had never previously run in a chase, but somehow won the 1884 Grand National – and subsequently starred on-stage at London’s Drury Lane Theatre, leaping a water-jump in a production called ‘The Prodigal Daughter.’

TOMMY Pickernell won his third Grand National in 1875, partnering Pathfinder – but did so only after being pointed in the right direction a number of times by fellow jockeys, as he had imbibed more than a spot of Dutch courage pre-race.

25/1 MOIFAA won the 1904 National despite – or perhaps because of – having been shipwrecked en route to Britain from New Zealand. Previous dual winner, Manifesto finished 8th in his 8th tilt at the race, despite now being 16 years old.

ONE-eyed Glenside was the only runner to complete the course without mishap, as he won the 1911 renewal of the race.

POETHLYN was the 1919 victor, but was somewhat over-shadowed by jockey, T Williams, who pulled up his mount, All White, in order to be sick, later blaming dodgy seafood consumed pre-race after he and his mount ran in to fifth place.

SHEILA’S Cottage was not only the first mare since 1902 to win the National, when she did so in 1948, but also the first to bite the top off of one of jockey Arthur Thompson’s fingers.

50/1 ANGLO won the 1966 National, but was outshone on the day by a certain Paul McCartney, who saw Drake’s Drum, which he’d bought as his Dad, Jim’s 62nd birthday present, for £1200, win the afternoon’s previous race, a 6 furlong sprint. The Beatle also walked the horse in after the race.

‘HE CAN safely be ignored, even in a race noted for shocks’ wrote Daily Express racing correspondent of Foinavon in his pre-race assessment of the 1967 running, in the paper. Of course, the 100/1 no-hoper won the race.

MERSEYSIDE headmaster Peter Rogers set a Grand National record in 1983 as he completed the course in 40 minutes, doing so without a horse under him, but raising £6000 for school funds in the process.

JUDY HIGBY tried to place a bet after having an overnight dream that the day’s 1993 Grand National would be cancelled. But the boss of her local betting shop turned her down. That afternoon the big race was declared void following a false start fiasco. Jenny Pitman-trained Esha Ness, a 50/1 shot, passed the post first but to her disgust, the race was declared void.

‘BETTER than sex’ is often claimed to be what the winning jockey declared after landing the 1996 Grand National on 7/1 favourite, Rough Quest. In actual fact, the precise wording recorded at the time he was speaking to Des Lynam, was ‘After that, Des, you know, even sex is an anti-climax.’: The jockey was Mick Fitzgerald and his wife was reportedly not best pleased by the comment – although ‘Better Than Sex’ became the title of his autobiography.

RUN ON a Monday for the first time, in 1997, after a bomb scare caused the postponement of the Saturday running, the National was won by 14/1 New Zealand-bred Lord Gyllene, and commentated on for the final time by Peter O’Sullevan’s mellifluous tones.

ROLLING STONES’ guitarist, Ronnie Wood, entered his self-bred, Jessica Harrington-trained Sandymount Duke for the 2019 Grand National, but he had to be withdrawn following a setback, although the versatile horse was one of the few to record victories over fences, over hurdles and on the flat, gathering £111,000 prize money.


Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.



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