The 5 Jockeys That Have Lit Up The Grand National

Grand National Tips - Ucello Conti

With the Grand National less than a week away, the anticipation for the jockeys will now be rising and we have our Grand National Tips live on site now. Whether it is their first or tenth ride in the race, the Grand National always provides a new challenge for jockeys and this years race promises to be another cracker. We’ve focused a lot on the horses heading into this year’s renewal, but now it’s time for the jockeys to take centre stage as we look at the five jockeys that have lit up the Grand National over the years.

Katie Walsh – Sea Bass (2012 – 3rd Place)

This list will mainly be focusing on the jockeys who have wins to their names but we couldn’t not mention Katie Walsh and her super ride on Sea Bass in the 2012 running. Running prominently throughout, the nine year old went into a slight lead at the second last and for a moment it looked as though a female jockey was finally going to notch up a deserved win in the race. It wasn’t to be though and despite a valiant effort from Walsh and her mount, he was headed on the elbow and had no more to give after. Regardless, this remains the best result from a female jockey in Grand National history and proved beyond doubt that female jockeys can hang tough at the top level with their male counterparts.

Horse Racing Tips - Women Jockeys

Bob Champion – Aldaniti (1981 – 1st Place)

The story of Bob Champion’s 1981 Grand National win is probably the most feel good in the history of the National and certainly shows you why you should never give up on your goals. Champion was unfortunately diagnosed with testicular cancer in July 1979 at the peak of his career, with his eventual partner for the 1981 Grand National Aldaniti also suffering a career threatening leg injury months later. Thankfully Champion made a fully recovery and his mount Aldaniti also got back to his best and both were ready to go for the 1981 race. Champion gave his horse a brilliant ride, with the pair triumphing by four lengths and considering the adversity that Champion had faced just months earlier, this was one of the best performances by a jockey in National history.

Brian Fletcher – Red Rum (1973, 1974)

Brian Fletcher will always be synonymous with one horse, and that would be Ginger McCain’s Red Rum for whom he won both his Grand Nationals on. His first victory in the race back in 1973 is widely considered as one of the best Grand National victories in history, with Red Rum fifteen lengths down at the final fence. Fletcher managed to galvanise his mount to swoop on by late in the piece to snatch the race from Crisp, winning by three quarters of a length. He would go on to repeat the feat one year later where his mount managed to carry top weight of twelve stone to victory in the 1974 running of the race, with Many Clouds the next horse to carry such a big weight to victory forty-one years later.

Leighton Aspell – Pineau De Re, Many Clouds (Two wins)

One of only two current riders on the list, Leighton Aspell has ridden the winner of two of the last three renewals of the race. The first of those came in 2014 in the form of Pineau De Re, who was a relatively unfancied 25/1 shot for the race, carrying a weight of 10st 6lb. He took the lead approaching two out and managed to shake off the attentions of Balthazar King to draw clear on the run in for a five length victory. As good as that victory was, it will always be overshadowed by his ride one year later on Many Clouds. Carrying a weight off 11st 9lb after a win in the Hennessy Gold Cup and a valiant effort when sixth in the Gold Cup of 2015, this looked an uphill task with how tough his season had been. Aspell gave his mount a brilliant ride throughout and they took up the running with five fences to go, holding on grimly to repel Saint Are in second who he was giving over a stone too. A weight carrying performance like this is unlikely to be repeated, with Aspell stamping his place in National history with such a classy ride.

Horse Racing Tips

George Stevens – Freetrader, Emblem, Emblematic, The Colonel (5 Wins)

The winning most Grand National jockey, George Stevens won the Aintree Showpiece a grand total of five times for three different trainers. He tasted his first success aboard Freetrader for William Holman in 1856 and added his second aboard the Edwin Weever trained Emblem. His third came aboard the similarly named Emblematic for the same trainer, with his next two coming on board the R.Roberts trained The Colonel. That record seems unlikely to be surpassed, with the closest of the current jockeys being Leighton Aspell on two wins. David Mullins has time on his side and has a 100% record to maintain in the National, but it’s doubtful that will stay intact for much longer!

Please Gamble Responsibly