Grand National 1999
As the tapes were raised there was a great cheer from the crowd as the cavalry charge to the first fence got underway and also a sigh of relief as the horses crossed the melling road and went on to the first fence, there was not to be any problems this year and as all the runners despite all the history of past races and all the warnings, they charged towards the first fence too fast, the leading horses jump the fence but there is a faller the favourite Double Thriller but there is not the customary groan from the maximum crowd this is because the course commentator calls Choisty has fallen at the first" ( a 150-1 outsider who did make a mistake). But the disappointment is for the young jockey Joe Tizzard but he is OK.
So on to the next fence and the leaders are Cyborgo, General Wolfe and Blue Charm and the horses are still going a little too fast but they all jump well and clear the fence with the exception of Back Bar who makes a mistake, And so it's onto the next.
With two out of the way the next fence is a big test its the first open ditch although going too fast this fence must be jumped bold no faint hearts here they come to the fence its up and over and again all the remaining runners survive and its on to the next.
The horses are now starting to sort themselves out and are now getting into a stride the next fence a 4 ft 10 in fence is one of the fairest fences but there is no time to think of that, so the leaders take it in their stride but one horse in the middle of the field is a little short of room and falls on landing, its Baronet and Richard Johnson . The commentators calls the faller and then hands over to the second commentator and the first thing he says is "And Double Thriller is a faller " This usually gets a groan from the crowd but unusually a cheer goes up confirming that the main money for this horse was anti post and off course and that the punters on course decided to give the very thin 9/2 and 5/1 odds offered a miss.
Well the favourite has gone and so the crowd kiss their betting tickets and think this could be my year after all as the horses jump the 5ft 5th fence and all survive.
Horses are now settled and all the jockeys are sorting themselves out but as they approach the next fence there are hedges on both sides of the track, This can only mean one thing the most famous fence in the world is next and nobody wants to end up like the famous captain Becher and end up on the floor and all wet in the brook. ( although there is no water in the brook these days ). The leaders rise and although the jockeys know, most of the horses are taken by surprise by this drop fence and actually have no idea of the lower landing side until they are in the air. Most of the leaders jump it well but Aintrees first ladies horse Jenny Pitmans Narthen Lad slips and goes onto his stomach but there is no way this duo is going to let the good lady down and Andrew Thornton hangs on and the clever bay gelding finds a leg and the fairy story may just still be on. But the drama of Bechers is not over yet and Martin Pipes Tamarindo falls and the back marker Mudahim unseats B.Powell. Even though both horse and rider were getting detached from the field its still a disappointment for the connections.
So the next fence is looming and is quite a small 4ft 6 inch fence with a slight turn but this unassuming fence was the cause of one of the biggest dramas in 1967 when most of the horses either fell or refused and allowed the fences namesake Foinavon to go on and win at 100/1. But no Foinavon this year as all take the fence and its on to another unique fence the Canal Turn
As the field approaches this fence all the horses start to drift into the centre of the course because all the jockeys know that many lengths can be gained by jumping this right angle fence at a acute angles so as they close in on the bend all the horses jump the fence well and turn 90 degrees left and now have the stands in front of them . ( even if it is a long way in the distance. )
The next four fences are all in a straight line but the first is Valentine Brook this fence is bigger than it looks on the big viewing screen and also it is a bigger drop landing on the inside than on the outside but all the horses manage to get over without any problems.
The field is now jumping well and are going at a more sensible pace as the 10th comes into view and all jump it safely.
The 11th fence also causes no problems and all the field jump without incident.
The next, The 12th is the last on this part of the course and all jump it well, it is a long way to the 13th and as the horses jump the fence the field starts to close up and now is the time to raise the binoculars and look at the field live and not on the screen. As they gallop on , the positions in the field have not changed a great deal Blue Charm and Lorcan Wyer the 25/1 chance has a small lead from General Wolfe and Norman Williamson Third place at this point is the Live 100/1 outsider Feels Like Gold and B.Harding in the saddle. 4th is Narthen Lad who's is still going well despite his hiccup. 5th is the Joint Favourite Fiddling the Facts and Mick Fitzgerald next comes last years 3rd Samlee and his new jockey Rod Farrant Followed by Brave Highlander and P.Hide, the previous two years second and top weight Suny Bay and Graham Bradley, Call It A Day and R.Dunwoody, Eudipe and A.P.McCoy, Castle Coin and A.S.Smith, the Irish Raider Bobbyjo, then Strong Chairman with R.Thornton on board. but none of the others are without a chance as the field starts to bunch up.
Around the bend and onto the 13th fence But this is not to be unlucky for anyone as all jump it very well but now they approach the stands and the cheers get louder .
The next fence will be the last on the next circuit and all jockeys hope that they will still be here next time as all the horses jump the fence all jump safely but Brave Highlander makes a mistake and it becomes obvious that S.Curren has a problem with his mount Cavalero in the rear of the pack, he loses his irons and has to pull him up before the next.
The horses now get funnelled into the next fence which is in front of the stands and as if the noise of the crowd and the restricted width of the fence was not enough this is the Chair and is the biggest fence on the course. The adrenaline is now flowing in both horse and jockey and the field is starting to stretch out as all horse jump the fence and next is the Long jump .
The 16th fence like the Chair is only jumped once this one is the water jump. All the horses gallop over it but it comes as a surprise as all the fences so far have been up and over and this one needs the horse to jump long and not high but no one is fooled here and they all go past the winning post jockeys and punters breathe a sigh of relief as one circuit is complete but its turn left and back out into the country for another circuit.
They cross the melling road and onto what was the first but now is the 19th the jockeys realise that they've survived and now they must start to race. Four horse cross it in a line Blue Charm, Nathen Lad, Feels Like Gold and Commercial Artist all horses are over safe. Onto the next .
The race is now starting to take its toll on horses and Tom Jenks pulls up Commercial Artist before the 18th and as the others clear it. CODwyer and Cyborgo call it quits and are pulled up before the 19th fence at which Narthen Lad takes a length lead as all the others jump the fence safely.
The 20 th fence has no surprises as all jump it, Call it a Day makes a slight mistake but Narthen Lad is still in front of Blue Charm and Brave Highlander
The 21st holds no fears now as the leaders jump it well, All the others jump it safely but as they run on to the next, A group of about 10 horses bunch up with others who are finding the ground or the trip a little too much start to string out.
The next fence is Bechers Brook again, and this time must be treated with even more respect that before as the horses are so much more tired than when they met it before. The first horse to meet the fence is Blue Charm he gets over but pecks on landing next is Narthen Lad and Brave Highlander both who jump it well. Next on the inside is general Wolfe who pecks badly but Norman sits still and stays with the horse.
Suddenly the course commentator disappoints most of the grandstand as the biggest groan of disappointment is heard as he says over the public address system Fiddling the Facts is a faller .But he is only the first next comes a very bad fall from Eudipe And he Brings down Frazer Island, Camelot Knight and Choisty . In this mele last years winner Earth Summit is badly hampered and almost unseats Carl Llewellyn . The next horse over is Kendal Cavalier and B.Fenton they are so badly hampered that the horse goes sideways on after jumping the fence this is the most remarkable piece of jockeymanship in the whole race as he manages to stay balanced enough to stay on the horse and also keep the horse in the race But he along with Earth summit have now lost all chance of winning.
However Kendal Cavalier , Earth Summit, Frazer Island, Choisty, Camelot Knight and Fiddling the Facts along with their jockeys having lost their chances this year will go on to try again but the very brave Eudipe who at the age of six when most other horses are still just getting the hand of hurdling had completed over two rounds of this course only to pay the ultimate price by losing his life this time when falling at the same fence that his owners Mr. David Johnsons other entry in the race fell on the first circuit.
The Next is Foinavon again and Narthen Lad and Blue charm jump it together and the others follow.
On to the next the Canal Turn the horses again go wide at first but as they close in the crowd hear Paul Carberry shout to Adrian Maguire I say old chap look out I need a little more room than that or words to that effect as Addington Boy squeezes up Bobbyjo On the Bend. Castle Coin Unseats his rider.
So left they go and face the stands again the race is now starting to take shape as they jump the next Blue Charm Leads the field with Narthen Lad and Brave Highlander following less than a length behind next very ominously is the now improving Bobbyjo . Bells life and G.Tormey get pulled up.
All jump the next OK but the field is even more getting stretched out.
At the next all again get over but as they go on the long run in to the next which is the second last we have a leading group of 7 and we all now know that if your selection is not in this group then this year is not your year.
The horses turn left into the final straight Blue charm leads Brave Highlander, Bobbyjo, Call it a day, Merry People, Addington Boy and Feels like Gold all of the leaders look in with a chance but as they get to the second last Feels like Gold and Narthen Lad are getting left behind they have given their all and are now tired but staying on . Over the second last there are three in line call it a Day , Brave Highlander and the 150/1 shot Merry People who makes a mistake and falls. ( G.Cotter remounts and finishes 16th ) But Bobbyjo is getting ever closer.
Over the public address comes the words Call it a Day is in the Lead and the crowd goes wild but as we get to the last fence Blue Charm out jumps him but, The Irish horse on the stand side Bobbyjo out jumps them both and jumps into the lead. The crowd now start to get louder and louder as the horses run to the elbow in the past many horses have lost the race in the run in but here Bobbyjo gets further in front of the second Blue charm and Call it a Day . As the leader goes to the line the sound of the crowd is deafening and for the first time in my experience the public address system just cant be heard and in front of me a young woman looks around and up into her partners face for some reaction as Paul Carberry salutes the crowd passing the line and winning the National again for the Irish, and as the cheers subside he looks into her eyes and his nod confirms that her confidence in the Irish horse has been rewarded by her winning ticket which has now increased its value ten fold and the Carberry dynasty has done it again.
The crowd now get calmer as the winner is escorted to the winners enclosure by two police horses and the other horses pass the line . In any other race these horses would be also rans but in this race they should all salute the crowd as they pass the line but modesty forbids it and they ride past the famous winning post and Red Rums Grave but all will tell their children of the day that they finished the Grand National back in 99. All are winners in my book.
After clearing the last fence and going 10 lengths clear of the second horse. Bobbyjo was Hailed as the winner of the 1999 Grand National. Bobbyjo Crossing the line It has been long overdue since the last Irish winner and recently the Irish runners have been doing very well in this country so it should come as no surprise that they have at last again won the race but what about this horse Well it must be said that it was very hard to fancy the chances of a horse who's previous win came in a 2 mile hurdle race however perhaps not so strange when you consider that this trainer did the same thing with this horse when they won the Irish equivalent of this race at Fairyhouse last year. Bobbyjo is a Bay gelding who was, it has to be said only an average hurdler before he turned chasing but who cares about that now that he has taken on and beaten the best long distance chasers here and in Ireland and has given them a beating. He was up with the leaders all the way in the race and Jumped very well throughout the race and absolutely relished the ground which was drying out all the time. He did in fact quicken away from the last and stayed on and given similar ground who knows at 10 next year should have a good chance even if he goes up in the handicap somewhat he should still have a racing weight. It was perhaps very brave of The owner Mr Robert Burke to risk what was a good chance of winning a double in that race and bypassing it in favour of the Liverpool marathon but his advice must have been good from the trainer Tommy Carberry who is no stranger to this course as he was connected to the last Irish winner of the race when he rode L'Escargot to Victory in 1975. This race will be memorable in many ways to the experts on the statistics of this great race, Indeed Bobbyjo is one of only 3 horses to have won this race in the last 30 years from out of the handicap and he was a long way out of the handicap given that his handicap weight was 9 st 4 lbs and carrying 10 Lbs over weight over 4 mile takes some doing. There were plenty of whispers on the course about the merits of this horse and even when they bet him down to a S/P of 10/1 from 25/1 on the previous day it should have set the alarm bells ringing but the Irish always well support their horses so one can be forgiven for overlooking this.
Tommy Carberry is an Irish trainer who is no stranger to Aintree an he was a very popular man when he won the 1975 Grand National on L'Escargot. So it must have given him great pleasure this year to train the impressive winner this year and the icing on the cake was that it was his son Paul that rode the winner. When interviewed after the race he said it was in fact was better to train a winner than to ride one. It must have been a dream come true for him but no doubt it was not a total surprise as he did train the horse to win the Irish equivalent last year.
Paul Carberry must have thought all his dreams had come true when at 4 o'clock on the 4th of April achieved the same feat as his father did 22 years previous when he won the worlds greatest steeplechase. " Absolutely fantastic " was the way he described his feeling after the marathon, "It's a dream come true". He gave the horse a peach of a ride and was up with the field thought the race and never looked like stopping although he did think that he might stop after the elbow but the horse kept on galloping all the way to line
Blue Charm Blue Charm is a bay gelding who was a good hurdler and has now turned out to be a good chaser. He seems to win most of his races in the north of the country, He has won 4 times at Musselburgh. The horse seems to handle all types of going and has won on soft and also good to firm. Last years form would have been a good guide to his great run this year as he won the Perrier Jouet Handicap chase on the Friday last year when he beat Glitter Isle and Queen of spades by 5 lths and a distance respectively. The ground that day could not have been more different than todays but he ran a very good race and other than when he pecked at Bechers on the second circuit he put in a clear round. Blue Charm is only 9 Years old and will be the prime Grand National age next year and must command a closer look next year in the race and indeed in any chase.
Mrs S.C.Bradbourne Trains in Cupar which is in Fife which is near Edinburgh. Im sorry but I dont know any more than that about this trainer if anybody knows about this trainer please e-mail me.
Lorcan Wyer is one of the northern jockeys who has in the past suffered some bad injuries but last year he rode 41 winners. This year his biggest success came in the Royal and Sun Alliance Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival when he gave Barton a really great ride to win easily and this was his first festival win since he won a race as an amateur on a horse called Omerta. He is a very well liked jockey and this could be seen at Cheltenham when he was coming into the winners enclosure all the northern jockeys came out of the weighing room to cheer him in.
Call It a Day
Call it a Day is a Bay Gelding who was a good hurdler who turned into a good chaser. and although he has won a race on G/F ground he is at his best with cut in the ground. He showed his class last year after some good runs without getting in front when he won the Whitbread at Sandown in April. He also ran third in an Irish National. He ran really well throughout the race only making one mistake and just got tired at the closing stages. A Fine effort from a good horse.
David Nicholson is one of this countries best trainers. he has a lot of horses under his control and most of them run in high class races and it is rare for any of the top hurdle or chases not to have one of his horses taking part..
Richard Dunwoody is the most highly rated jump jockey in the country. A two times past winner of the Grand National, and there is very little that he has not achieved in the National Hunt arena. Richard said after the race " I though I was going to win at the last but he got tired and then stayed on from the elbow ".
Addington Boy is a brown gelding who was a good hurdler and has turned into a very good class chaser. He has won lots of chases including Grade 2 and Grade 3 chases. He seems to handle any ground and is a former Tripleprint Gold Cup winner ( 1996 ). Although he make quite a few mistakes here he still managed to be in with a good chance until he made a mistake at the last.
F. Murphy is a good Irish trainer who has taken some good prizes in this country and took over training of this horse from G.Richards.
Adrian Maguire is another of our top Jockeys, Nobody rides a finish better than Adrian as could be seen when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup On Cool Ground Which is still the closest Finnish when he beat The fellow and Docklands Express a short head and a length respectively. Still a young man he will definitely win more big races and has a even bigger future in front of him.
Full List of Finishers
|1st||Bobbyjo (IRE)||9 10 0||Mr. Robert Burke||T Carberry||P.Carberry|
|2nd||Blue Charm||9 10 0||Mrs M.C.Lyndsey||Mrs S.C.Bradbourne||L.Wyer|
|3rd||Call it a Day||9 10 0||Mrs Jane Lane||D.Nicholson||R.Dunwoody|
|4th||Addington Boy||11 10 7||Mrs B. Jamieson||F.Murphy||A.Maguire|
|5th||Feels Like Gold||11 10 0||Independent Twine Manuf. Co.Ltd||N.G.Richards||B.Harding|
|6th||Brave Highlander||11 10 0||Mrs. S.N.J. Embricos||J.Gifford||P.Hide|
|7th||Kendal Cavalier||9 10 0||Mr M.Wigfield Digby||N.J.Hawke||B.Fenton|
|8th||Earth Summit||11 11 0||The Summit Partnership||N.A.Twiston Davies||C. Llewellyn|
|9th||St.Mellion Fairway||10 10 0||St Mellion Estates||M.C.Pipe||J.Frost|
|10th||Samlee||10 10 0||White lion Partnership||P.J.Hobbs||R.Farrant|
|11th||Narthen Lad||10 10 0||Mr J.Shaw||Mrs J.Pitman||A.Thornton|
|12th||General Wolfe||10 11 1||The Winning Line||Miss V.Williams||N.Williamson|
|13th||Suny Bay||10 11 13||Uplands Bloodstock||S.Sherwood||G.Bradley|
|14th||Black Bar||11 10 0||Mr. F.G. Wilson||D.McCain||D. Gallagher|
|15th||Strong Chairman||8 10 0||Hunt & Co. Ltd||P.F.Nichols||R.Thornton|
|16th||Merry People||11 10 0||Mr. Karl Casey||J.Queally||G.Cotter|
|17th||Avro Anson||11 10 0||Axom||Miss J. A. Comacho||A.Dobbin|
|18th||Coome Hill||10 10 11||Mrs J. Dennis||W.W.Dennis||S.Wynne|
|FELL||Double Thriller||9 10 8||Mr. R.C. Wilkins||P.F. Nicholls||J. Tizzard|
|FELL||Baronet||9 10 2||Mrs David Thomson||D. Nicholson||R.Johnson|
|6th Fence (Bechers Brook )|
|UR||Mudahim|| ||Mr Salvo Giannini||P.J.Hobbs||B.Powell|
|FELL||Tamarindo||6 10 4||Mr. David Johnson||M.C.Pipe||T.J. Murphy|
|7th Fence ( Foinavon Fence)|
|8th Fence ( Canal Turn )|
|PU||Cavalero|| ||Mr. H.J. Manners||H.J. Manners||S. Curren|
|15th Fence ( Chair )|
|16th Fence ( Water )|
|PU||Commercial Artist||13 10 0||Mr. L.A. Morgan||D.McCain||T.Jenks|
|PU||Cyborgo||9 10 11||County Stores Holdings Ltd||M.C.Pipe||C. ODwyer|
|22nd Fence ( Bechers )|
|BD||Frazer Island||10 10 0||Dr.B Alexander||R.Rowe||R.Guest|
|FELL||Eudipe||7 10 10||Mr. D.A. Johnson||M.C.Pipe||A.P.McCoy|
|BD||Choisty||9 10 0||Mr. F.J. Sainsbury||H.E. Haynes||R.Widger|
|FELL||Fiddling The Facts||8 10 13||Mrs E. Roberts||N. Henderson||M. Fitzgerald|
|BD||Camelot Knight||13 10 0||Mr. Michael Gates||N.Twiston Davies||C. maude|
|23rd Fence ( Foinavon )|
|24th Fence ( Canal turn )|
|UR||Castle Coin||7 10 0||Mr. J.Howard Johnson||Mr. J.H. Johnson||A.S. Smith|
|PU||Bells Life||10 10 0||Mr R.Gibbs||P.Hobbs||G. Tormey|
|30th Fence ( Last )|