Legends of the Field: Famous Grand National Horses

Red Rum: The Unforgettable Champion

Red Rum stands as a monumental figure in the history of the Grand National, an emblem of resilience and excellence in the realm of horse racing. His unprecedented achievement of winning the Grand National three times (in 1973, 1974, and 1977) has etched his name into the annals of racing history, making him a perennial symbol of greatness in the sport. Red Rum's ability to overcome the challenging Aintree course, known for its gruelling distance and demanding obstacles, highlighted not only his exceptional stamina but also the strategic acumen of his trainer, Ginger McCain. McCain's training regimen for Red Rum, involving runs on the sandy beaches of Southport, is often credited with giving the horse the unique edge needed to conquer the arduous Aintree racecourse.

Beyond his victories, Red Rum's legacy is marked by his remarkable consistency and durability. His capacity to perform at the highest level over several racing seasons, securing a total of three wins and finishing second in two other instances at the Grand National, demonstrates a level of performance that is rare in the demanding world of steeplechase racing. Red Rum's name became synonymous with the Grand National, turning the race into a spectacle that transcended the sport, capturing the imagination of the public, and elevating the profile of horse racing across the United Kingdom and beyond. His story, a blend of triumph, perseverance, and the unique bond between horse and handler, continues to inspire future generations of racing enthusiasts.

Tiger Roll: The Modern Legend

Tiger Roll's legacy in the Grand National is a testament to the enduring allure and challenge of one of the most famous horse races in the world. With two consecutive victories in 2018 and 2019, Tiger Roll etched his name alongside the legendary Red Rum in the annals of Grand National history. These wins not only underscored his exceptional agility and stamina but also highlighted the meticulous preparation by his trainer, Gordon Elliott. Elliott's strategic approach and deep understanding of Tiger Roll's capabilities played a crucial role in navigating the complexities of the Aintree course, a testament to the synergy between horse and handler.

Tiger Roll's journey to stardom is marked by several key highlights:

  • 2018 Grand National Victory: A performance that showcased his remarkable speed and endurance, overcoming the field with a display of tactical brilliance.
  • 2019 Grand National Triumph: Solidifying his place in history, Tiger Roll became the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand Nationals, a feat that underscored his dominance in the sport.
  • Cross-Discipline Success: Apart from his Grand National achievements, Tiger Roll's versatility was on full display with victories in the Cheltenham Festival, illustrating his exceptional range and adaptability across different types of races.
  • Public Adoration: Tiger Roll's success transcended the sport, earning him a legion of fans and elevating his status to that of a national treasure, admired for his fighting spirit and resilience.

Tiger Roll's impact on the Grand National and horse racing is profound, serving as a bridge between the sport's rich heritage and its contemporary appeal. His story, marked by victories, challenges, and the sheer joy he brought to fans, continues to inspire those within and outside the racing community, cementing his legacy as a modern legend of the sport.

Aldaniti: A Story of Triumph Over Adversity

Aldaniti's journey in the world of horse racing is a testament to the indomitable spirit that can conquer even the most formidable obstacles. In the early 1980s, Aldaniti and his jockey, Bob Champion, emerged as an unlikely pair, bound together by shared adversity and an unshakeable determination to achieve greatness. At a time when both horse and rider faced significant health challenges, their collaboration culminated in a victory that would etch their names among the Famous Grand National Horses.

Aldaniti's own adversity was in the form of a career-threatening injury. After a severe leg injury, his future in racing was uncertain at best. However, the remarkable recovery and rehabilitation that followed allowed him to not only return to racing but also to participate in the Grand National. This resurgence was complemented by the personal battle fought by his jockey, Bob Champion, who had overcome cancer. Together, they embodied resilience and hope, capturing the hearts of racing enthusiasts and the wider public. Their triumph in the 1981 Grand National was not merely a race victory; it was a symbol of human and equine spirit conquering adversity, a story that transcended the sport.

Corbiere: A Beacon of Hope in the 80s

In the midst of the 1980s, a decade marked by its own set of challenges and uncertainties, Corbiere emerged as a beacon of hope in the world of horse racing. Trained by Jenny Pitman, Corbiere's victory in the 1983 Grand National held particular significance. Not only did it secure his place among the Famous Grand National Horses, but it also represented a triumph of perseverance and strategy in a decade known for its economic and social shifts.

Corbiere's success in the Grand National was notable for several reasons:

  • Tactical Brilliance: Under the guidance of jockey Ben de Haan, Corbiere executed a race strategy that involved hugging the inside rail, avoiding the notorious Aintree Canal Turn, and ultimately outpacing the competition. This tactical brilliance showcased the horse's adaptability and intelligence.
  • National Pride: Corbiere's victory resonated with the public, providing a source of national pride and unity during a time when Britain was grappling with a series of challenges. His win served as a reminder of the nation's resilience and ability to overcome adversity.
  • Inspiration for Others: Corbiere's achievement inspired a new generation of jockeys, trainers, and racing enthusiasts, demonstrating that success could be achieved through hard work, determination, and the right strategy.

Corbiere's legacy endures not only as a Grand National champion but also as a symbol of hope during a transformative era in British history.

Bob Champion & Aldaniti: An Inspirational Duo

The partnership between jockey Bob Champion and Aldaniti transcended the boundaries of the racetrack, becoming an enduring symbol of triumph against all odds. Bob Champion's battle with cancer mirrored Aldaniti's own recovery from a career-threatening injury, forging a deep bond between man and horse. Together, they embarked on a remarkable journey that culminated in a victory at the Grand National, firmly placing them among the Famous Grand National Horses.

Bob Champion's personal struggle with cancer and his determination to return to racing served as an inspiration to many. His unwavering commitment to Aldaniti, despite the odds stacked against them, exemplified the resilience of the human spirit. This partnership was not just about winning a race; it was a testament to the power of belief, dedication, and the unbreakable bond between a jockey and his horse.

Their triumph in the 1981 Grand National was not only a sporting achievement but a story of human and equine courage. It served as a source of inspiration, proving that even in the face of adversity, individuals and horses alike can rise to greatness when they share a common goal and unwavering determination.

Bob Champion & Aldaniti: An Inspirational Duo

Foinavon: The 100/1 Surprise Winner

In the annals of Grand National history, one name stands out as the ultimate underdog story: Foinavon. In the 1967 Grand National, Foinavon defied astronomical odds of 100/1 to secure a victory that would go down in history as one of the most surprising and improbable wins in the world of horse racing. This remarkable achievement not only made Foinavon a household name but also solidified his status among the Famous Grand National Horses.

The 1967 Grand National was marked by a chaotic turn of events. Foinavon's victory was the result of a massive pile-up at the 23rd fence, now famously known as the "Foinavon Fence." While chaos ensued among the leading horses, Foinavon and his jockey, John Buckingham, calmly navigated the obstacle, maintaining a significant lead. This unexpected turn of events encapsulated the essence of the Grand National, where unpredictability reigns supreme.

Foinavon's triumph not only showcased his resilience but also served as a reminder that in the Grand National, anything can happen. His name is forever etched in the lore of the race, a symbol of the unexpected and a testament to the enduring appeal of the Grand National.

Neptune Collonges: The Grey Giant

Neptune Collonges, a majestic grey horse, left an indelible mark on the Grand National in the 2012 edition of the race. Trained by Paul Nicholls, this imposing steed became the first grey horse in over half a century to claim victory at Aintree, securing his place among the Famous Grand National Horses.

Neptune Collonges' victory was not just about breaking the grey horse drought; it was a triumph of strength, strategy, and sheer determination. In a race known for its unpredictability, his performance was a testament to meticulous planning and the skill of his jockey, Daryl Jacob. The 2012 Grand National showcased Neptune Collonges' ability to conquer the formidable Aintree course, navigating the treacherous fences with precision and resolve.

Beyond his victory, Neptune Collonges' grey coat and imposing presence made him an iconic figure in the sport, endearing him to racing enthusiasts worldwide. His win rekindled the magic of grey horses at the Grand National, a reminder that in horse racing, history can be rewritten, and new legends can emerge.

Amberleigh House: Continuing the Red Rum Legacy

Amberleigh House, a name synonymous with the Grand National, played a pivotal role in continuing the legacy of the legendary Red Rum. Trained by Ginger McCain, the same trainer who guided Red Rum to three victories, Amberleigh House stepped onto the Aintree course with the weight of history on his shoulders. His journey was not only a quest for personal glory but also a tribute to the enduring spirit of one of the Famous Grand National Horses.

Amberleigh House's triumph in the 2004 Grand National was a masterclass in staying power and tactical brilliance. Under the guidance of jockey Graham Lee, he negotiated the challenging course with poise, emulating the strategic acumen that had marked Red Rum's victories. This win reaffirmed Ginger McCain's expertise in training Grand National champions and solidified Amberleigh House's status as a worthy heir to Red Rum's legacy.

Amberleigh House's story is a reminder that in the world of horse racing, traditions and legacies endure. He carried the torch of Red Rum's remarkable achievements, and in doing so, he became an integral part of the Grand National's rich history, a story of continuity and excellence that continues to captivate racing fans to this day.

Miinnehoma: The 90s Icon

As the Grand National entered the 1990s, a new icon emerged in the form of Miinnehoma, a horse that left an indelible mark on the decade's racing scene. Trained by Martin Pipe and ridden by Richard Dunwoody, Miinnehoma's crowning achievement came in the 1994 Grand National, cementing his status as one of the Famous Grand National Horses of the era.

Miinnehoma's victory in 1994 was a display of both talent and perseverance. The Aintree course, with its formidable obstacles and long distance, posed a formidable challenge. However, Miinnehoma's ability to maintain a steady pace and surmount the hurdles made him a deserving champion. His win also represented a triumph of experience, as jockey Richard Dunwoody's knowledge of the course played a pivotal role in their success.

Beyond the racetrack, Miinnehoma's victory resonated with fans, capturing the essence of the Grand National's enduring appeal. His legacy endures as a symbol of excellence in the 1990s racing scene, a reminder that the Grand National continues to produce unforgettable moments.

Miinnehoma: The 90s Icon

Mr. Frisk: Record-Breaking Performance

In the world of horse racing, records are meant to be broken, and Mr. Frisk did just that in the 1990 Grand National. Trained by Kim Bailey and ridden by Marcus Armytage, Mr. Frisk's victory in the 1990 edition of the race was nothing short of historic, making him one of the Famous Grand National Horses celebrated for his record-breaking performance.

What set Mr. Frisk apart was his remarkable speed. In 1990, he completed the Grand National course in an astonishing 8 minutes and 47.8 seconds, shattering the previous record. His pace was relentless, leaving the competition in his wake. The sheer audacity of his performance left racing enthusiasts in awe and earned him a place in the annals of sporting history.

Mr. Frisk's record-breaking achievement remains a testament to the extraordinary moments that the Grand National can produce. His name is forever associated with speed and daring, a reminder that in the world of horse racing, records are meant to be challenged and rewritten.

Ballabriggs: The McCain Family Success Story

Ballabriggs, a name that carries the legacy of the McCain family, added a new chapter to the Grand National's storied history. Trained by Donald McCain Jr., the son of Ginger McCain, Ballabriggs' victory in the 2011 Grand National marked a continuation of the family's success story in the iconic race.

The McCain family's association with the Grand National began with Ginger McCain, who trained the legendary Red Rum to three victories. This rich heritage provided a backdrop to Ballabriggs' triumph, highlighting the family's deep connection to the race. Under the guidance of jockey Jason Maguire, Ballabriggs showcased his mettle, navigating the challenging course with poise and determination.

Ballabriggs' win in 2011 was not only a victory for the horse but a celebration of the McCain family's enduring legacy at Aintree. It emphasized that in the world of the Grand National, tradition and excellence often go hand in hand, creating a narrative that resonates with fans and enthusiasts alike.


The Grand National, a race that has captivated the hearts of millions, has produced a lineage of legendary horses that have left an indelible mark on the sport. From the unforgettable Red Rum to the record-breaking Mr. Frisk, and from the triumph of Aldaniti and Bob Champion to the resilience of Ballabriggs, each horse's story is a testament to the enduring spirit of the Grand National.