Which horse finished third in the 1973 Grand National?
Motor racing legend Bobby Unser once said, ‘Nobody remembers the guy who finished second, but the guy who finished second’. As far as the 1973 Grand National is concerned, it would probably be fair to say that beyond the luckless Richard Pitman – who did, indeed finish second – a fair proportion of readers, of a certain age, remember the outcome.
The winner that day was, of course, the legendary Red Rum, who reeled in the front-running Crisp – who was conceding 23lb, but held a lead of 30 lengths, or more, at one point – in the shadow of the post to snatch what had appeared, for most of the way, an unlikely victory. The front pair were separated by three-quarters of a length, with a yawning 25 lengths to the third horse.
That horse was no slouch, either. It was, in fact, L’Escargot who, despite his ‘pedestrian’ name, had already won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice, in 1970 and 1971. Indeed, L’Escargot would return to Aintree to win the Grand National, as a 12-year-old, in 1975, thereby becoming the first of just two horses to beat Red Rum in the National.