As the weeks pass by and the clocks go forward the Grand National is almost upon us. Perhaps the most prestigious race on the horse racing calendar, Aintree racecourse’s gruelling four-mile slog is a test of both a horse’s endurance and jockey’s mettle. The race has endured a challenging few years, with the coronavirus pandemic leading to the race being cancelled in 2020 for the first time since World War Two, with a virtual race taking place instead. It just wasn’t the same and it will be exciting to see spectators return to Merseyside for this year’s showpiece event.
As always, the race is fiercely competitive, with Betdaq horse racing betting proving increasingly difficult to predict a winner. The likes of Willie Mullins and Henry de Bromhead will be in attendance as Enjoy D’Allen and Any Second Now are current favourites.
But this is the Grand National and anything can happen. All it takes is a sharp turn gone wrong at The Chair or some disruption on Becher’s Brook and utter carnage can ensue. It means whoever reigns supreme at the end of the race is truly worthy. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the last three winners of the Grand National.
2021 – Minella Times
This was the year where Rachael Blackmore really established herself as one of the best in the business. The Irishwoman, dubbed ‘The Queen of Prestbury Park’ for her six winners at the Cheltenham Festival a few weeks earlier, enjoyed the race of her life at Aintree aboard Minella Times, with the De Bromhead-trained nine-year-old earning a second National win for JP McManus. The victory ensured Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the race and it will be interesting to see if she can replicate her success again this year, only with a full crowd of cheering supporters as opposed to the muted applause of the few in attendance 12 months ago.
2018 and 2019 – Tiger Roll
It’s still hard to believe this was Tiger Roll’s last appearance at the Grand National, with owner Michael O’Leary pulling him out of the last two due to disagreements over Cheltenham turned out to be the last time we saw Gordon Elliott take the legendary 12-year-old out and while he came second in his final race in the Cross Country Chase he’ll always be regarded as one of the best, even if he was denied a chance at equalling Red Rum’s record of three national wins.
The diminutive runner won consecutive Nationals in 2018 and 2019 for Elliott, with the latter a particularly dominant performance to see off 66/1 overachiever Magic Of Light and Mullins-trained Rathvinden to ensure back to back wins and live up to his billing in the horse racing tips as the clear favourite.
2017 – One For Arthur
It had been almost 40 years since a horse trained in Scotland won the Grand National, going back to Rubstic’s win in 1979, but Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur would break that streak with victory in the 2017 National. Conditions suited Russell and even after a difficult start, they showed consistency and managed to write their name in the history books with a strong finish to get past the post.
Dereck Fox also received a lot of credit as jockey, with his performance on what was an animatedly young and inexperienced horse the real difference maker. “I’m just so proud of the horse.” Russell said. “He jumped fantastically and Derek gave him a great ride.
“He’s done us proud and he’s done Scotland proud, and he’s done everyone at the yard proud.
“Derek is amazing -I know he’s a horseman and everything, but his timing is fantastic as well, and the self-confidence he has is brilliant. He had him jumping brilliantly.”