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 1ΒΌ lengths. Having survived a lengthy stewards’ inquiry, Fitzgerald famously told BBC anchorman Des Lynam, ‘After that, Des, even sex is an anti-climax’.