Legendary Irish owner and punter J P McManus likes to have at least one contestant in the John Smith’s Grand National and he has come close to winning the great race. He had two runners last year, with both the French-trained L’Ami and his best Grand National horse to date, Clan Royal, getting round, albeit in 10th and 11th positions respectively.
Clan Royal, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, finished a gallant third in 2006, doing the best of his owner’s four runners. The same horse was runner-up to Amberleigh House in 2004,
beaten by three lengths, while Laura’s Beau came third to Party Politics in 1992.
In 2005 Clan Royal, one of six horses carrying the famous green and gold colours, was travelling well in the lead when carried out by a loose horse at Becher’ second time.
Innox, trained in France by Francois Doumen, did best of the J P McManus sextet in seventh.
J P McManus has been the leading owner for the last couple of seasons in British jump racing and must be favourite to gain that accolade again. Mercy Rimell, widow of the great trainer Fred Rimell who enjoyed four Grand National successes, owns Simon who ran well in 2007 before falling at the 25th of the 30 fences. Well-known owners with recent runners in the John Smith’s Grand National include Sir Robert Ogden. The multi-millionaire had the fourth, Kingsmark, in 2002 and that horse was his sole representative two years later when finishing ninth.
He tried again with Ad Hoc in 2005 but the gelding did not complete the course for the third time, after also failing to do so in 2003 and 2002. Iris Royal was pulled up behind Numbersixvalverde in 2006. Sir Robert has also had other contenders such as Buckboard
Bounce (4th in 1997), Marlborough (fell first in 2002) and Fadalko (unseated rider sixth in 2003).
David Johnson, who has been the leading owner over jumps in Britain on five occasions, mounted his strongest challenge on the Grand National in 2004, being represented by three horses, with Lord Atterbury doing the best of them in third. Lord Atterbury fell at the first in 2005 but Johnson’s other runner, It Takes Time, finished a commendable fourth. Both It Takes Time and Therealbandit failed to complete in the 2006 renewal, while Celtic Son was pulled up before the 22nd last year. Terry Neill, originally from Liverpool and former vice president of the Racehorse Owners’ Association, has also had various runners in recent seasons.
Puntal became his first runner to complete the course when sixth in 2006 and the same horse came eighth last year. Ivan Straker, former chairman of Seagram Distillers which used to sponsor the Grand National through Martell, famously turned down the chance to buy the 1991 winner Seagram. He also saw The Tsarevich come second in 1987, while the well supported Paris Pike carried his colours in 2002, only to fall at the first fence.
The Paul Nicholls-trained duo Le Roi Miguel and Le Duc were leased for the day in 2006 to the X Factor judge Simon Cowell, Arcadia Group owner Sir Philip Green and Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Rose.
The trio paid £400,000 at a charity auction in St Petersburg, Russia, with the proceeds of their purchase and any potential winnings going to the NSPCC. Unfortunately, neither horse managed to complete the course. Plenty of other famous fi gures have had runners in the John Smith’s Grand National including Des Lynam, who leased the faller Another Duke when presenting the BBC’s coverage at Aintree in 1986.
The Queen Mother owned Devon Loch, who inexplicably collapsed just 50 yards from the line in 1956. The Queen Mother, an ardent supporter of jump racing up to her death, never came so close again and the gelding’s bizarre mishap is still a mystery. Gregory Peck - legend of the silver screen - brought a touch of Hollywood glamour to Aintree when he witnessed his grey gelding Owen’s Sedge run seventh to Ayala in 1963. His well supported Different Class refused in the famous Foinavon race of 1967 and was sent off the 17/2 favourite in 1968 when third to Red Alligator. The late Emlyn Hughes, then playing for Liverpool FC, was unable to see his Wayward Scot fall in 1979, due to an FA Cup semi-final at Maine Road in Manchester.
He died in 2004, having seen Mantles Prince represent Emlyn Hughes’ Cleobury Golfers in that year’s Grand National, pulled up after the 16th fence. Errol Brown, the lead singer with Hot Chocolate, has had three Grand National runners - Gainsay, a faller in both 1989 and 1990, and Do Be Brief, who also fell in 1995. Lady Madeleine Lloyd-Webber, wife of Lord Andrew Lloyd- Webber, had an interest in two 2003 runners, owning Killusty who fell at the 22nd and having a share in the 10th home, Behrajan. Black Humour, who fell at the Chair, also represented her in 1994.
2006 Bernard Carroll - Numbersixvalverde
The winner was named after the owner’s holiday home in the Algarve, Portugal. Bernard Carroll, a Dublin-based property developer, had owned racehorses since 1975.
2005 Trevor Hemmings - Hedgehunter
Trevor Hemmings fulfi lled a long-held ambition when Hedgehunter won. One of jump racing’s biggest supporters, he launched a building company with only £12 before moving rapidly to the top of the ladder in the Pontins holiday business. He subsequently sold Pontins to Scottish & Newcastle Breweries, in which he is now the biggest private shareholder, and whose offshoot John Smith’s currently sponsors the Grand National. His company, Northern Trust Group, has considerable interests in property, pubs and leisure.
He purchased Blackpool Tower in 1998 and would like to turn Blackpool into the ‘Las Vegas of the North’. It was during his time working for holiday camp tycoon Fred Pontin that Hemmings’ interest in the John Smith’s Grand National really developed. He had 12 runners in the Aintree spectacular before Hedgehunter’s comprehensive 14-length triumph made it lucky 13. The victory has redoubled Hemmings’ interest in the Grand National. Hedgehunter came second in 2006 and ninth in 2007 when the owner also had Billyvoddan and Idle Talk who both failed to finish.
2004 John Halewood - Amberleigh House
John Halewood founded Halewood International, a major producer and importer of speciality drinks, in 1978 from his garage. The Merseyside native, who used to try to sneak into the Canal Turn enclosure in his youth, had his first Grand National runner in 1986 when Dudie fell at Becher’s fi rst time. Amberleigh House, also trained by Ginger McCain, was brought down on his first attempt in 2001 and ran third in 2003 before landing the prize in 2004 when Halewood’s other runner, Kelami, fell at the first.
Amberleigh House came 10th in 2005 and was pulled up on his final Grand National appearance in 2006. The owner saw Kelami run well for a long way in 2007 before being pulled up in the closing stages.
2003 Raymond Mould - Bindaree
Raymond Mould, a long-time supporter of jump racing, made his fortune in property. He reputedly sold his Arlington Group for £20 million in 1989 and was chairman of Pillar Property when it was purchased by British Land for £811 million in 2005. Along with
his late wife Jenny, he owned 1993 King George VI Chase winner Barton Bank and 1988 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Charter Party. His 2007 runner Knowhere unseated Tom Doyle at the eighth.
2001 Norman Mason - Red Marauder
The son of a master baker from Sunderland, Norman Mason made his millions from a network of bingo halls and amusement arcades in his native North East. He enjoyed success as a permit holder - with most of his horses carrying the lucky ‘Red’ prefi x - until teaming up with jockey and assistant trainer Richard Guest, who took the County Durham yard to another level.
2000 Betty Moran - Papillon
Better known in her native America as a leading Flat owner and breeder, Betty Moran’s family wealth derived from the pharmaceutical giant SmithKline Beecham. Moran landed the 1985 Belmont Stakes on the Flat with Creme Fraiche, while Jeremy won the 2006 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and the 2007 Betfred Mile at Sandown Park.
1998 The Summit Partnership - Earth Summit
The six members of The Summit Partnership included Nigel Payne, Aintree’s former press officer, who was involved with the great race for 32 years. Payne’s partners in Earth Summit were ex-professional footballer Ricky George; Bob Sims, proprietor of a media buying agency; retired businessman Gordon Perry; chartered accountant Peter Earl and Mike Bailey, a local government offi cer from the Wirral.
1997 Sir Stan Clarke - Lord Gyllene
Sir Stan Clarke, a former plumber who died in 2004, built his fortune largely through property development. He founded the quoted company St Modwen Properties and Northern Racing which built up a portfolio of racecourses. Lord Gyllene gave Clarke his finest racing moment in the 1997 Grand National. The owner was knighted for his charitable efforts in 2001.
1994 Freddie Starr - Miinnehoma
The Martin Pipe-trained winner of the Grand National, Miinnehoma, proved popular because he was owned by Freddie Starr, the well known comedian. Due to superstition, Starr did not attend Aintree but instead chose to link up by mobile phone after the triumph with Pipe and Des Lynam on BBC television.
1992 Patricia Thompson - Party Politics
Together with husband David, Patricia Thompson is better known for campaigning Flat horses such as Russian Rhythm, Peeress, Nannina, Chic, Medicean, Allegretto and Echelon who run in the name of Cheveley Park Stud, their leading Newmarket breeding operation.
1990 Lois Duffey - Mr Frisk
Another successful American owner, Lois Duffey also had horses trained in Maryland, but jump racing in the British Isles was always her first love. She was 80 when Mr Frisk prevailed and died just before her 97th birthday in November last year.
1987 Jim Joel - Maori Venture
Maori Venture carried the famous silks of black and scarlet cap of his nonagenarian owner Jim Joel. One of the leading owners of the 20th century, Joel joined Raymond Guest, Dorothy Paget and King Edward VII in having also owned a Derby winner (Royal
Palace, 1967). Joel was returning from holiday in South Africa, where his fortune derived, when he learnt of the success. He immediately retired Maori Venture, who died in February, 2000.
1985 Duchess of Westminster - Last Suspect
Last Suspect beat Mr Snugfi t for a win for owner Anne, Duchess of Westminster. Her famous colours had been carried to victory aboard the great Arkle, winner of three successive Cheltenham Gold Cups during the 1960s and regarded by many as the
greatest National Hunt horse of all time. Anne, Duchess of Westminster died in 2003 at the age of 88, with her final runner in the Grand National, Carbury Cross, having finished seventh earlier that year.
1979 John Douglas - Rubstic
Carrying just 10st, Rubstic won at 25/1. The 10-year-old was owned by John Douglas, the former British Lion rugby international.
1976 Teasie Weasie Raymond - Rag Trade
10-year-old Rag Trade was owned by Teasie Weasie Raymond, a celebrated hairdresser, particularly during the swinging sixties. Raymond was particularly famous for flamboyant suits which he often wore to irritate officials at Royal Ascot. He also owned
Ayala, successful in the 1963 Grand National.
1975 Raymond Guest - L’escargot
L’Escargot beat Red Rum by 15 lengths in a battle of heavyweights. The gelding was owned by Raymond Guest, former American ambassador to Ireland. Guest had also owned two Derby winners, Larkspur in 1962 and Sir Ivor in 1968. L’Escargot also captured the Cheltenham Gold Cup in both 1970 and 1971.
1973, 1974, 1977 Noel Le Mare - Red Rum
‘Rummy’ won the race three times for octogenarian owner Noel Le Mare, who made his fortune in civil engineering. The dapper Le Mare harboured a desire to own a Grand National winner from his early days as an apprentice at an engineering firm in Fleetwood, Lancashire, but did not set about earnestly attempting to fulfil his dream until his retirement.
1971 Fred Pontin - Specify
Fred Pontin, the holiday camp magnate, owned nine-year-old Specify. He had wanted to change the horse’s name to ‘Specify Pontins’ but it was not allowed under Jockey Club rules, which prevented horses being renamed after their third birthdays. This victory inspired Trevor Hemmings to try and win the Grand National, something he achieved with Hedgehunter in 2005. Pontin died in September, 2000 at the age of 93.
1952 Harry Lane - Teal
A 22-stone construction magnate from South Shields, Harry Lane paid a reputed £2,000 for the Neville Crump-trained Teal. Lane chartered a train to bring 600 of his employees to Aintree to watch the 10-year-old gelding prevail.
1948 John Proctor - Sheila’s Cottage
Although John Proctor is not the most famous winning owner, the farmer, trawler owner and hotelier from Brigg in Lincolnshire gives hope to all those who would dearly love to win the Grand National as an owner. He began life as a half-a-crown-a-week errand boy
before going on to win the world’s most famous chase.
1938 Marion Du Pont Scott - Battleship
Marion du Pont Scott’s husband, the Hollywood star Randolph Scott, was in attendance when her horse Battleship became the smallest horse, at 15.2 hands, to win the race since The Lamb. The 11-year-old entire had won the American Grand National in 1934 and was ridden to success by 17-year-old Bruce Hobbs who died in November, 2005 at the age of 84 after a distinguished career in racing.
1933 Florence Ambrose Clark - Kellsboro’ Jack
American sewing machine millionaire, F Ambrose Clark, saw his own horse Chadd’s Ford well beaten behind his wife’s victorious seven-year-old, whom he had sold to her for £1, hoping for a change of luck. After the triumph, Mrs Clark vowed that Kellsboro’
Jack would never be asked to face the Aintree fences again.
1915 Lady Nelson - Ally Sloper
Lady Nelson became the first female Grand National winning owner when Ally Sloper triumphed. Her late husband, Sir William Nelson, won the Ascot Gold Cup on the Flat with Tangiers.
1900 Hrh the Prince Of Wales - Ambush Ii
The future King Edward VII is the only member of the Royal Family to ever own a Grand National winner. Ambush II defeated the great public favourite Manifesto in a thrilling struggle that left the crowd breathless and gave the Prince of Wales a Grand National to match the Derby success of his horse Persimmon four years earlier.
1883 Count Charles Kimsky - Zoedone
A Bohemian diplomat, Count Charles Kimsky was born into an ancient family renowned for their love of horses. The Count, while serving in the army, accompanied the Empress of Austria to London in 1878 and three years later was appointed to the London Embassy. He bought Zoedone for £800 - with winnings from a touch landed in the Cesarewitch on the Flat at Newmarket - and rode the mare to victory in the Aintree spectacular at the first attempt.
1868, 1871 Lord Poulett - The Lamb
Lord Poulett was a major owner and breeder on the Flat as well as over jumps. George Edwards partnered The Lamb to his first success, but when Edwards was unavailable in 1871, Lord Poulett asked Tommy Pickernell to partner the grey after dreaming that
Pickernell rode The Lamb to victory.
1839, 1842 John Elmore - Lottery And Gay Lad
John Elmore was a famed owner and trainer but his greatest renown came as a horse trader. As well as owning Lottery – the first winner of the race - and Gay Lad, Elmore also owned Jerry prior to his success in the 1840 race. Jerry carried the colours of Mr Villebois to victory at Aintree but the horse was almost certainly owned in partnership with Lord Sheffi eld - both were known customers of Elmore - and rumours on the eve of the race suggested that Elmore himself was the owner.