Before Tiger Roll and Red Rum, which was the last horse to win the Grand National two years running?
For many owners, trainers and jockeys, winning the Grand National, just once, remains an elusive dream. However, several horses have won the world-famous steeplechase two – and, in the case of Red Rum, three – years running. Of course, the most recent of them was Tiger Roll who, in 2020, was denied the opportunity to attempt an unprecedented hat-trick when the National was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before Red Rum, though, we need to look back to the interwar years, 1936, for the last horse to record back-to-back victories in the National. That horse was Reynoldstown, owned and trained by Major Noel Furlong and ridden, in 1935, by his son Frank and, in 1936, by Fulke Walwyn.
The 1935 renewal was notable for the presence of Golden Miller who, in 1934, had become the first – and, so far, only – horse in history to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season; sent off 2/1 favourite, Golden Miller parted company with jockey Gerry Wilson at the fence after Valentine’s Brook on the first circuit. Reynoldstown, carrying11st 4lb, jumped well and although challenged for the lead by Thomond over the final two fences, ran on strongly to bear Blue Prince by 3 lengths. In so doing, he set a new course record, 9:20.20, which would not be beaten until 1973.
Despite being sidelined with injury, Reynoldstown returned for the 1936 Grand National and, under 12st 2lb, disputed the lead with Davy Jones from Becher’s Brook on the second circuit. However, he nearly unseated Fulke Walwyn when colliding with Davy Jones at the fifth-last fence and made a bad mistake of his own at the third-last. He rallied gamely to dispute the lead again at the final fence, at which point Davy Jones’ reins came unbuckled and he ran out, leaving Reynoldstown to come home unchallenged.