OLBG - Crisp

Crisp Probably the best grand national runner not to have won the race, Crisp started his racing in Australia and after winning all he could there he was sent to England to run in the Gold Cup but due to one thing and another it was thought that he would not ' get the trip ' and so he was entered in the two mile champion chase which he won. Crisp was a big angular horse and looked every inch a chaser. When he was sent to Fred Winters yard to be trained all the English connections wondered what the wonder horse could do, as it happens they did not have to wait long. He was entered for a handicap race at Wincanton and as he had not run the minimum of three runs in this country he was given the top weight of 12st 7lbs. Ridden by Paul Kellaway he took up the lead after a mile and ran on well and became a very easy winner.

On the day of the 1973 Grand National there were two horses that were Joint favorites of which one was Crisp both at 9/1. and Crisp was allotted top weight of 12 st

The riding plan on the day was not to hold up Crisp who always seemed to like bowling along and ran well in his races but to let him settle in front and try to slow the pace from there. But nobody told Crisp so he had his own idea of how the race should be run and after Richard Pitman had lined him up on the inside he jumped off and jumped the fences as if the pair were out hunting so when Becher's came up the first time around Richard must have had some worry but as always he jumped it easily. He went on to make ground consistently and jumped the canal turn like an old pro. When the first circuit was over and they went out for then second circuit Richard and Crisp found themselves 20 lengths in front. Indeed even at Becher's on the second circuit he was still way out in front but another horse was breaking from the following pack and started to make ground on him .But he surely was too far in front for anything to catch him now Then at the second last he 'hit the wall ' as marathon runners say and he began to falter.

Every stride was now beginning to tell and the horse seemed to sway as the relentless gallop took it's toll he jumped the last and then had the long daunting run in ahead and Crisp's strength was ebbing away, however he did not give up and ran on with the greatest of courage up the run in and as the elbow loomed closer his jockey gave him a slap with the whip as a horse was beginning to catch up. The desperately tired horse trying to give more when he had given his all, shied away from the whip and it looked as if the elbow may catch him out so Richard steered him back on course. Now past the elbow and only a straight run to the line the horse did not give up but still tried to give more but this day the weight was too much and two strides from the line a Horse carrying 24lbs less Went past him and that year 's winner was not to be The Great Crisp, But a horse which was to become the hero of Aintree one Red Rum.'

There are few in the annals of sport where we remember the second as well as the first but Crisp will never be forgotten and was in my opinion the better performance on the day. Red Rum actually broke the record for the fastest time but received 24lbs from Crisp, and also he was later to be shown as something of a course specialist in the following years. Crisp never ran in the race again but did run against Red Rum in the following year when he beat Rummie at level weights at Haydock Park another course with drop fences.

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