Did two horses called Peter Simple run in the Grand National?

Did two horses called Peter Simple run in the Grand National?  The short answer is yes, they did, but thankfully not in the same year. Aintree aficionados may already be aware that Peter Simple – a bay trained and ridden by Tom Cunningham, on the first occasion, and Tom Olliver, on the second – won the Grand National twice, in 1849 and 1853. Indeed, that Peter Simple, who was a 15-year-old when gallantly holding off the 1852 winer and favourite, Miss Mowbray, on the latter occasion has the distinction of being the oldest winner in the history of the Grand National.

However, the first Peter Simple to run in the Grand National was a grey, who made his debut, as a 7-year-old, in 1841, when he finished a never-nearer third, beaten 2 lengths and neck, behind Charity. In fact, that Peter Simple went on to contest the next five renewals of the Grand National, in which his complete form figures were 33PP2P.

Of course, the Jockey Club was established in 1750 and the first volume of the General Stud Book was published by James Weatherby in 1791. However, in the early, pioneering days of the Grand National, horses did not need to be registered with a unique name, as they do today, so different horses with the same name were commonplace. For the record, ‘Peter Simple’ was the title character of a novel written by Captain Frederick Marryat and first published in 1833, so the name was very much of the time.

Who is, or was, the youngest jockey to win the Grand National?

Who is, or was, the youngest jockey to win the Grand National?  The man credited with being the youngest jockey to win the Grand National was Bruce Robertson Hobbs. Hobbs was born on December 27, 1920 and, thus, was just 17 years and three months old when he partnered Battleship to victory on March 25, 1938. The diminutive 11-year-old, who stood just 15.2 hands high – coincidentally, the same height as Tiger Roll – was owned by renowned Virginia horse breeder Marion duPont Scott and trained by Hobbs’ father, Reg, in Lambourn, Berkshire.

Sent off at 40/1, Battleship nearly unseated rider at the seventh fence, now known as ‘Foinavon’, but Hobbs was helped back into the saddle by fellow jockey Fred Rimmell, and nearly fell after a bad mistake at the third last. Nevertheless, despite being forced wide on the run-in, ran on well to pip the big Irish horse Royal Danieli, who had led by 2 lengths at the final fence, by a head. Hobbs said later, ‘I thought it was half a length, but they gave it as a head and all the Irish said if there was a photograph I would have been second.’

Bruce Hobbs was not only the youngest jockey to win the Grand National but, at 6’4″, far and away the tallest. Battleship, for his part, was the first American-bred horse to win the Grand National and the first entire to win since Grudon in 1901; indeed, no entire has won the Grand National since.

Which Grand National winner allegedly jumped only one circuit?

Which Grand National winner allegedly jumped only one circuit?  On March 29, 1947, on heavy going, with thick fog reducing visibility to a hundred yards, a mammoth field of 57 runners assembled for the Grand National. The race was won by 100/1 outsider Caughoo, owned by Dublin jeweller John McDowell – who reportedly bought him ‘for his mother’ for £50 – trained by his brother, Herbert, and ridden by Edward ‘Eddie’ Dempsey.

The race was covered by Gaumont British News and the newsreel footage clearly shows Caughoo tackling long-time leader Lough Conn soon after the Anchor Bridge Crossing and, despite a mistake at the final fence, drawing away in the closing stages to win, very easily, by 20 lengths. Remarkably, Daniel McCann, jockey of Lough Conn, accused Dempsey of loitering in the fog near the twelfth fence, thereby missing out an entire circuit of the Grand National Course, and rejoining the race when the field passed that point for a second time.

Dempsey denied the accusations, McCann took legal action, and lost, but rumours of wrongdoing rumbled on for years afterwards. Indeed, Dempsey and Caughoo were not finally absolved until 1999, when the ‘Irish Mirror’ revealed photographs on the horse jumping Becher’s Brook twice during the 1947 Grand National. Dempsey did, at one point, confess to having ‘hidden behind a haystack’ – of which there were none at Aintree – on Caughoo, but may have concocted a fanciful version of events, by way of raising funds.

How many Grand National winners have been trained in Scotland?

How many Grand National winners have been trained in Scotland?  In short, since the first official running of the Grand National, in 1839, just two winners have been trained in Scotland. The first of them was Rubstic, owned by former Rugby Union international John Douglas, trained by John Leadbetter, near Denholm in the Scottish Borders, and ridden by Maurice Barnes. Sent off at 25/1, the 10-year-old was involved in a ding-dong battle with his nearest pursuers, Zongalero and Rough And Tumble, before drawing away close home to win by 1½ lengths.

Unfortunately, his historical victory was marred by the death of Alverton, ridden by Jonjo O’Neill, who was attempting to become the first horse since Golden Miller, in 1934, to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season. The 6/1 favourite was going well at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit, but breasted the fence, fell on his head, broke his neck and was killed instantly.

The second Scottish-trained winner of the Grand National was One For Arthur in 2017. Owned by Belinda McClung and Deborah Thomson, collectively known as ‘Two Golf Widows’, trained by Lucinda Russell, near Kinross in the Scottish Lowlands, and ridden by Derek Fox, One For Arthur arrived at Aintree at the top of his game. He had won twice and finished a staying on third in the Becher Chase, over the National fences, on his last three starts and, consequently, was sent off fifth favourite, at 14/1, for the National itself. Having travelled and jumped well, he took the lead between the final two fences and stayed on well to beat Cause Of Causes by 4½ lengths.

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