Has a horse won the Grand National and Scottish Grand National in the same year?

Has a horse won the Grand National and Scottish Grand National in the same year?  Notwithstanding the change of date in 2022, made to accommodate Easter, on April 17, the Scottish Grand National, run over 3 miles, 7 furlongs and 176 yards at Ayr, is traditionally staged a week or two after the Grand National at Aintree. Consequently, few horses attempt the Aintree-Ayr double and those that do have precious little recovery time between the two races.

However, one horse has won the Grand National and the Scottish Grand National in the same season. That horse was, of course, the incomparable Red Rum, who did so in 1974. That year, the Grand National fell on March 30 and the Scottish Grand National on April 20, fully three weeks later.

At Aintree, Red Rum was sent off 11/1 third favourite to become the first horse since Reynoldstown, in 1936, to win back-to-back renewals of the Grand National. Despite top weight of 12st 0lb, he did so in style, drawing clear in the closing stages to beat L’Escargot by 7 lengths, eased down.

Despite misgivings from various quarters, including jockey Brian Fletcher, trainer Donald ‘Ginger’ McCain sent Red Rum to Ayr where, under a 6lb penalty, he was saddled with 113st 13lb. The rest, as they say, is history; under a patient ride, Red Rum jumped upsides the leader, Proud Tarquin, three fences from home, led over the final fence and readily asserted on the run-in to win by 4 lengths.

Fast Forwarding to 2024 and can history repeat itself? In 2023 Kitty’s light won both the Scottish Grand National and the Gold Cup, an impressive double. This year though the thoroughbred is around 12-1 with horse racing betting sites to win the Grand National and similar odds with bookmakers to win the Scottish Grand National too. Now that would be a nice double to have come up and I’m sure some punters will be temped to put a few quid on just that outcome!

Did Mick Fitzgerald win the Grand National?

Did Mick Fitzgerald win the Grand National?  The short answer is yes, he did. Nowadays, Michael Anthony ‘Mick’ Fitzgerald is best known as a presenter on ITV Racing but, between 1993 and the end of his riding career in 2008, he was stable jockey to Nicky Henderson. Fitzgerald broke his neck in a fall at Market Rasen in 2005 and, having returned to race riding, damaged his spinal cord in another in the Grand National in 2008, which ultimately brought an end to his career four months later. Nevertheless, he was one of the most successful jump jockeys of all time, with 1,280 winners to his name, more than half of which were for Henderson.

His Grand National victory, though, came aboard Rough Quest, owned by Andrew Wates and trained by Terry Casey in Beare Green, near Dorking, Surrey. Fitzgerald had ridden the 10-year-old to finish second, beaten 4 lengths, behind Imperial Call in the Cheltenham Gold Cup 16 days previously; carrying just 10st 7lb in the National, Rough Quest was sent off 7/1 favourite.

Held up in the early stages, Rough Quest made steady headway on the second circuit and, turning for home, was one of half a dozen still in contention. He jumped the last in second place, but tackled the leader, Encore Un Peu, passing the Elbow and, despite hanging left in the closing stages, stayed on well to win by 1¼ lengths. Having survived a lengthy stewards’ inquiry, Fitzgerald famously told BBC anchorman Des Lynam, ‘After that, Des, even sex is an anti-climax’.

Is the Welsh Grand National a credible trial for the Grand National?

Is the Welsh Grand National a credible trial for the Grand National?  Nowadays run over 3 miles, 6 furlongs and 130 yards, the Welsh Grand National has been a fixture of the Yuletide programme at Chepstow since 1979. Notwithstanding the fact that the going at Chepstow in late December is often soft or heavy, the marathon distance of the Welsh Grand National and its position in the calendar – three months or so before the Grand National, in late March or early April – ought to make it a reliable trial for the Aintree showpiece.

However, it may surprise you to learn that, since 1979, just four horses have won both races and just two of them did so in the same season. The first of them, Corbiere, trained by Jenny Pitman, fought out a tremendous finish with Pilot Officer in the 1982 Welsh Grand National, eventually winning by a head. In the 1983 Grand National, Corbiere held off Greasepaint by three-quarters of a length, thereby making Jenny Pitman the first woman to saddle a Grand National winner.

In 1997, having returned from a 634-day break at Haydock Park in mid-November, Earth Summit, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, won the Welsh Grand National at odds of 25/1, beating Dom Samurai by 1¼ lengths, all out. The following April, he justified favouritism in the 1998 Grand National, staying on well to beat Suny Bay, who was conceding 23lb, by 11 lengths.

Nigel Twiston-Davies also won the Welsh National and the Grand National with Bindaree, although he won at Aintree in 2002, the year before he won at Chepstow. The other horse to win both races was Silver Birch, who won at Chepstow in 2004, when trained by Paul Nicholls, and at Aintree three years later, when trained by Gordon Elliott.


What does NRNB stand for?

What does NRNB stand for?  The popularity of ante-post betting on horse racing – that is, placing a bet on the outcome of a horse race well in advance of, or at least a day before, the off – is not what it once was. Betting ante-post doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll receive better odds than if you bet on the day of the race, with the added risk that you’ll lose your money if your selection doesn’t run, for whatever reason.

‘NRNB’ stands for ‘Non Runner No Bet’ and describes the terms of bet offered by some bookmakers, usually a week or two ahead of major meetings, such as the Cheltenham Festival or Aintree Festival. NRNB is, effectively, a no-risk ante-post bet since, in the event of a non-runner, the bet, or at least the portion(s) of it involving the non-runner, is deemed void and stakes are returned.

Note that bookmakers may offer both standard ante-post and NRNB markets on the same future races. Obviously, the odds on offer in the latter are likely to be shorter, sometimes significantly, than those in the former because of the reduced risk involved. Which you choose essentially boils down to how certain you are that selection will line up, all being well, and your overall attitude to risk.

It’s not unusual for horses to be withdrawn on the morning of, or immediately before, a race because of going changes, poor appetite, lameness or other injury or simply failure to enter the starting stalls. Betting NRNB does, at least, cover you for all these eventualities.

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