Ballabriggs, Grand National history, horse racing
Home  »    »  The most memorable moments in Grand National history

The most memorable moments in Grand National history

| 28.02.2023

The countdown is on until the latest chapter in Grand National history is written in the race that captures the attention of the general public like no other.

There have been many memorable moments produced during the famous steeplechase down the years and here we recall the key events in Grand National history.

1837: The Duke wins the first Great Liverpool Steeplechase at Maghull, some three miles from the present site of Aintree racecourse.

1839: Aintree becomes the new home for the event, with Lottery carrying off the prize and Captain Martin Becher christening the now-famous brook as he crawls in for safety after a fall.

1847: Matthew records the first Irish-trained victory on the day the race is officially named the Grand National.

1897: Manifesto, the 6/1 favourite, records the first of his two wins in the race. He ran eight times up to the age of 16, also finishing third three times and fourth once.

1927: Ted Leader rides Sprig to a popular victory in the first National to be covered by a BBC radio commentary.

1934: The legendary Golden Miller becomes the only horse ever to win the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season, carrying 12st 2lb to victory in record time.

1956: Devon Loch and jockey Dick Francis, looking certain to give the Queen Mother victory when clear on the run-in, suddenly sprawls flat on the ground yards from the winning post, allowing ESB to win.

1967: The year of the horrific pile-up at the 23rd. John Buckingham and complete outsider Foinavon avoid the melee and gallop on to a 100/1 win.

1977: The incomparable Red Rum rewrites the record books with his historic third victory. ‘Rummy’ had five runs, with three wins and two seconds, from the age of eight to 12.

Red Rum, Grand National history, horse racing

1979: Rubstic makes history by becoming the first Scottish-trained winner. His homecoming party was heralded by a piper leading him back to the hamlet of Denholm, Roxburghshire.

1981: Aldaniti, nursed back from career-threatening injury three times, wins a fairytale National ridden by Bob Champion, who fought, and beat, cancer.

1982: Dick Saunders, at the age of 48, becomes the oldest winning jockey in Grand National history on Grittar. Geraldine Rees becomes the first woman to complete the course, riding the leg-weary Cheers.

1983: Years of doubt about the National’s future are ended when the Jockey Club, helped by public donations, buys the course. Corbiere’s victory ensures Jenny Pitman goes into the Grand National history books as the first woman to train the winner.

Corbiere, Jenny Pitman, Grand National history, horse racing

1987: Jim Joel becomes the oldest winning owner at 92. He is on his way back from South Africa when Maori Venture wins a thrilling race from The Tsarevich.

1993: The darkest day in Grand National history. There is chaos after a second false start as most of the field continue. John White passes the post first on the Jenny Pitman-trained Esha Ness, only to discover the race has been declared void.

Grand National false start, horse racing

1994: Miinnehoma, owned by comedian Freddie Starr, gives multiple champion trainer Martin Pipe his first National victory, and 51-year-old grandmother Rosemary Henderson completes the course on her own horse Fiddlers Pike, who finishes fifth.

1995: Jenny Pitman, the first lady of Aintree, gains her second success – two years late – with Royal Athlete.

1997: A bomb hoax causes Aintree to be evacuated, but the great race is staged two days late and is won in spectacular style by Lord Gyllene.

1999: Father-and-son trainer-jockey team Tommy and Paul Carberry combine to land a first Irish win for 24 years with Bobbyjo.

Bobbyjo, Paul Carberry, Grand National history, horse racing

2001: Red Marauder and Smarty are the only horses to put in clear rounds in a race run in atrocious conditions, though all horses return fine.

2003: Monty’s Pass lands a massive gamble, with owner Mike Futter netting close to Β£1million from ante-post bets.

2004: Ginger McCain, veteran trainer of Red Rum, enjoys an emotional victory as 12-year-old Amberleigh House lands the spoils, having been third in 2003.

2005: Hedgehunter becomes the first horse since Corbiere in 1983 to carry more than 11st to victory in the great race, romping clear in great style under Ruby Walsh to slam Royal Auclair by 14 lengths.

2008: Comply Or Die allows David Pipe to join his legendary father, Martin, in the record books as a National-winning trainer in just his second season.

2009: Mon Mome becomes the biggest-priced winner since Foinavon when powering home at 100/1 for trainer Venetia Williams and jockey Liam Treadwell.

2010: Don’t Push It, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and owned by legendary gambler JP McManus, provides perennial champion jockey Tony McCoy with his first success at the 15th attempt.

Don't Push It, Tony McCoy, Grand National history, horse racing

2011: Donald McCain, son of Ginger, follows in the footsteps of his four-time National-winning father as he sends out Ballabriggs to glory under Jason Maguire.

2012: Neptune Collonges becomes the first grey to win since Nicolaus Silver in 1961, getting up right on the line to beat Sunnyhillboy by a nose. Katie Walsh finishes third on Seabass to achieve the best placing yet by a female rider.

2015: It is a moment Leighton Aspell will never forget as the victory of Many Clouds makes it back-to-back wins for the jockey after Pineau De Re in 2014. Also one Tony McCoy will remember, albeit for different reasons, as his honourable fifth-placed finish on Shutthefrontdoor is his last ride in the great race before retirement.

2017: One For Arthur becomes the first Scottish-trained winner since 1979 as he triumphs for Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox.

2019: The remarkable Tiger Roll becomes the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Nationals as he defies a 9lb rise for owner Gigginstown House Stud and trainer Gordon Elliott, who was winning his third National after Silver Birch in 2007.

Tiger Roll, Davy Russell, Grand National, horse racing

2020: For the first time since World War II, the race is cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

2021: Rachael Blackmore becomes the first female jockey to win the race as she steers the Henry de Bromhead-trained Minella Times to victory over stablemate Balko Des Flos.

2022: Amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen enjoys a fairytale finish to his career as he steers Noble Yeats to a shock 50/1 success at Aintree. Waley-Cohen bowed out a winner of both the Aintree highlight and the Cheltenham Gold Cup – a feat only a handful of professional jockeys achieve, let alone an amateur.

Grand National winners’ list

View the latest Grand National betting



Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.