Grand National FACTS 2016

Grand National FACTS – Jockeys past and present

Grand National FACTS 2016:

CURRENT Grand National Jockeys

Ruby Walsh and Leighton Aspell hold the best record of current jockeys, having won the Crabbie’s Grand National twice.

Walsh scored on Papillon (2000) and Hedgehunter (2005), while Aspell became the first jockey since Brian Fletcher (Red Rum) in 1974 to win consecutive Grand Nationals with Pineau De Re (2014) and Many Clouds (2015). Aspell was the first jockey to ride successive Grand National winners on different horses since Bryan Marshall in 1954 (Royal Tan that year and Early Mist 1953).


George Stevens, the winning-most jockey in Grand National history with five successes, gained his first victory on Free Trader in 1856. He followed up on Emblem (1863), Emblematic (1864) and The Colonel (1869 and 1870).

Tom Olliver (1842, 1843 and1853), Tommy Pickernell (amateur 1860, 1971 and 1875), Tommy Beasley (amateur 1880, 1881 and 1889), Arthur Nightingall (1890, 1894 and 1901), Jack Anthony (amateur 1911, 1915 and 1920) and Brian Fletcher (1968, 1973 and 1974).


Of the more recently retired jockeys, Richard Dunwoody enjoyed two successes, with Miinnehoma (trained by Martin Pipe in 1994) and in 1986 West Tip, the Michael Oliver-trained horse on whom he also finished second in 1989 and fourth in both 1987 and 1988.

Carl Llewellyn, who hung up his riding boots finally in 2009 to become business partner of trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, also partnered two winners courtesy of Party Politics (trained by Nick Gaselee in 1992) and Earth Summit (Twiston-Davies in 1998).


Sir AP McCoy, who retired following a record-breaking career which included his 20th consecutive champion Jump jockey title, in April, 2015, holds the record for the most rides in the Grand National, with 20 mounts between 1995 and 2015. He had to wait until his 15th ride in the Grand National – on Don’t Push It in 2010 – for success.

He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June, 2010, voted the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and knighted following his retirement last year. Tom Olliver, who was successful three times (1842, 1843 and 1853), and current jockeys Paul Carberry, victorious on Bobby Jo in 1999, and Richard Johnson have had 19 appearances in the race.


Charlotte Brew was the first female jockey to take part in the Grand National, on Barony Fort in 1977.

In 1982, Geraldine Rees became the first female jockey to complete the Grand National on Cheers. Four other female jockeys have completed the Grand National – Rosemary Henderson on her own horse, the 13-year-old Fiddlers Pike, when fifth at 100/1 in 1994, Carrie Ford filled the same position on Forest Gunner at 8/1 in 2005, while Nina Carberry was ninth on the same horse in 2006 and came home seventh on Character Building in 2010. In 2015 Nina Carberry came 16th on First Lieutenant. Katie Walsh, achieved the best result for a female jockey, coming third on Seabass in 2012. She finished 13th on the same horse in 2013 and filled the same position in 2014 on Vesper Bell.

See also FACTS – Female Jockeys




The youngest jockey to win the Grand National was 17-year-old Bruce Hobbs on Battleship in 1938. He had his first ride in the race the year before at the age of 16. He went on to be a successful trainer on the Flat, mostly based in Newmarket, and died at the age of 84 in 2005.

The oldest rider to capture the Grand National was 48-year-old amateur Dick Saunders on Grittar in 1982, his first and only ride in the race – he retired from race riding immediately afterwards. He was the first member of the Jockey Club to partner a Grand National winner.


Together with the Lincoln Handicap run on the Flat at Doncaster Racecourse, the John Smith’s Grand National forms the ‘Spring Double’. The only jockey to have won both contests is Dave Dick, who captured the Lincoln on Gloaming in 1941 and the Grand National on E.S.B. in 1956.


Since 1900 five successful jockeys went on to train winners as well – Algy Anthony, Tommy Carberry, Aubrey Hastings, Fulke Walwyn and Fred Winter.


Many highly successful jockeys have tried and failed to win the Grand National, including eight-time champion Peter Scudamore, who did best from 12 rides when third in 1985 on Corbiere, and seven-time champion John Francome, who went closest twice on Rough And Tumble – third in 1979 and second the following year.

Of current jockeys, Richard Johnson, so long in Sir AP McCoy’s shadow, has tried 19 times without success, coming nearest to victory with two seconds – What’s Up Boys in 2002 and Balthazar King in 2014.

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