Mar 13 2014

Greatest Grand National Winner of all time revealed as Red Rum claims his fourth national victory

The Grand National is the world’s greatest horse race, with over 170 victories to date and is watched by an estimated 600 million worldwide with a history which spans over two centuries. Ahead of this year’s festival on 3rd, 4th and 5th April, Crabbie’s, the new title sponsor, has enlisted the support of racing experts Timeform to answer one of horseracing’s burning questions – who is the greatest Grand National winner of all time?

Carrying out research, which celebrates the calibre of horses that have graced Aintree Racecourse since the steeplechase began in 1839, Timeform has created and simulated the Crabbie’s Greatest Ever Grand National with 20 of the highest-profile runners of all time. This would undoubtedly be one of the most exciting races ever, with a result that would go down in horseracing history.

The Crabbie’s Greatest Ever Grand National result was calculated via an in-depth research process, taking into account the age and weight of each runner from their first National-winning performance – thereby retaining the handicap element of the National. The results were determined by their chance on the weights at Timeform ratings, with other factors considered, including overall Aintree record and jockey form.

The virtual ground was in good condition, while the fences used were the same as those in service during 1976 and 1977. The field included greats, such as Manifesto, Red Rum, Ballabriggs, Hedgehunter, L’Escargot, Corbiere, Neptune Collonges and Reynoldstown.

The Crabbie’s Greatest Ever Grand National Result:

1ST RED RUM – 8-10-5 – Trained by Ginger McCain, jockey – Brian Fletcher
Winning in 1973, 1974 and 1977 (plus runner-up in 1975 and 1976!), Red Rum has long been hailed as the greatest ever Grand National winner and claims his fourth title in this virtual race. Red Rum is the last top weight to win the National, so he made full use of his lowly weight in this line-up race, staying on in typically game fashion for a one-length win.
2ND REYNOLDSTOWN – 8-11-4 – Trained by Noel Furlong, jockey – Frank Furlong
Winning in 1935 and 1936, Reynoldstown was up with the pace for much of the Crabbie’s Greatest Ever Grand National (as had been the case for both his National wins), but he had to give best to fellow Aintree legend Red Rum on the famous long run-in.

3RD L’ESCARGOT – 12-11-3 – Trained by Dan Moore, jockey – Tommy Carberry
Winning in 1975 (also placed in 1973 and 1974), dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner L’Escargot may have been the oldest runner in this virtual race but clearly retains plenty of dash and, under a typically patient ride, came through to deprive fellow Irish raider Hedgehunter of third place.

4TH HEDGEHUNTER – 9-11-1 – Trained by Willie Mullins, jockey – Ruby Walsh
Winning in 2005 (also runner-up in 2006), Hedgehunter is the most recent winner in the top 4 of the Crabbie’s Greatest Ever National, with the assistance of modern-day Aintree great Ruby Walsh in the saddle an asset as usual.

Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer owner, Judy Halewood said, “It’s fitting that an exceptional horse has been named as the Crabbie’s Greatest Ever Grand National winner and having won the Grand National as an owner with Amberleigh House, also trained by Ginger McCain, I’m thrilled that the race has produced this result for Red Rum. We all hope this year’s winner is able to make their way into the top 20 of all time.”

Phil Turner, Jumps Handicapper, Timeform, said: “As for the major placings, our research shows that the two golden eras for the Grand National took place in the 1930s and 1970s, so dual winner Reynoldstown would surely have been involved in the shake-up. In addition, it is simply impossible to ignore the claims of Red Rum and L’Escargot from their respective weights, and Red Rum truly deserves his fourth Grand National victory.”