Legends of the Field: Famous Grand National Horses

The Unforgettable Champion of Red Rum

Red Rum is one of the Grand National's most iconic figures, symbolising resilience and excellence in horse racing. It also belongs to him, who in 1973, 1974, and 1977 galloped through those hallowed Aintree fences to win the most incredible race three times; as such, he shall remain immortalised in the annals of horse racing even though many horses have since surpassed his name. 

His excellence at overcoming challenging Aintree, known for its gruelling distance and demanding obstacles, showcased his exceptional stamina and reflected on Ginger McCain's astuteness as a trainer. Indeed, Red Rum had to be trained daily at Southport Beach, where it was believed that running there would give it an advantage over other horses during this treacherous ordeal at Aintree.

More than just winning races, Red Rum's legacy also speaks to his fantastic consistency and toughness across seasons. It is very unusual for any steeplechaser to be so consistently good over several years as this capable racemare was; she won three times and was runner-up twice in five attempts at the most famous steeplechase event in the world today, The Grand National. For him, however, 'Grand National' became synonymous with "Red Rum" because it had become something more than a race. This article narrates how Red Rum rose from being just another racehorse into something extraordinary that captured people's hearts around Britain, raising the racing profile worldwide.

The Modern Legend That Is Tiger Roll

Tiger Roll's place among the great horses ever seen competing in the Grand National epitomises the continued appeal and immense difficulty associated with one of horse racing's most famous traditions. When he triumphed consecutively in both the 2018 and 2019 editions of the contest, becoming only second horse to achieve such things in the history of the race, it was clear that his speed and stamina were unmatched by any other competitor. Of course, this was only possible with careful planning from his trainer, Gordon Elliot. Such an achievement demonstrates Elliot's understanding of Tiger Roll's abilities and proves how well he knows the horse as a jockey.

A few significant moments defined Tiger Roll's rise to prominence:

  • 2018 Grand National Triumph: A performance that showed extraordinary speed and staying power, using tactical genius to outwit the field.
  • 2019 Grand National Victory: Ensuring his place among the greats, Tiger Roll became the first horse since Red Rum to win successive Grand Nationals. This feat underlined his domination within racing.
  • Cross-Discipline Success: Apart from his Grand National accolades, it is worth mentioning that he also won at the Cheltenham Festival; this shows how adaptable he was regardless of what type or distance race they put him into.
  • Public Favourite: The popular taste embraced him as more than a sporting hero after he became one for winning over lots of hearts, mainly because people loved his fighting spirit and endurance. 

Tiger Roll has profoundly affected horse racing and the Grand National as a link between its historical tradition and contemporary appeal. Similarly, his joyous victories still inspire anyone who comes near this sport, including fans outside it, cementing him with an unbeatable legacy – a legend for modern times.

Aldaniti: A Tale of Conqueror of Life

The life journey of Aldaniti in the horse racing fraternity exemplifies the resilience that can overcome even the most formidable hurdles. In the early 1980s, Aldaniti and his jockey, Bob Champion, stood out as unlikely partners united by shared misfortune and an unwavering desire to achieve greatness. Both horse and rider were in poor health when they joined forces for a victory, which would go down on record among the Famous Grand National Horses.

Aldaniti's adversity was a career-threatening injury. His future in racing was uncertain at best after a severe leg injury. However, thanks to an astonishing recovery process, he returned to racing and participated in the Grand National. This comeback coincided with Bob Champion winning the personal battle against cancer. The jockey and horse epitomized resilience and hope that captivated hearts within and outside racecourse grounds. Their win in the 1981 Grand National was more than just another victory; it represented human endurance over equine spirit, a narrative beyond the boundaries of sports.

Corbiere: The Light during the 80s

Corbiere became one of those lights during this period—the eighties—in horse racing history, characterized by its unique challenges and uncertainties. Corbiere achieved particular distinction when he won The Grand National in 1983 under Jenny Pitman's tutelage. Besides being listed among Famous Grand National Horses, this triumph symbolized resilience amid economic and social changes experienced throughout the decade.

The success of Corbiere at the grand National Race is noteworthy on several counts:

  • Tactical Brilliance: In his management by Ben de Haan Corbiere used an inside track strategy whereby he avoided the Aintree Canal Turn, which is known for its complications, before finally emerging as victor over leading competitors who had somehow failed to plan themselves as well as this brilliant horse who took over the race.
  • National Pride: At a time when Britain was experiencing a multitude of problems, the country could be proud of Corbiere's victory. It taught people that even tough times could not break down their spirit and made them realize that any situation could be overcome.
  • Inspiration for Others: Corbiere's achievement inspired future jockeys, trainers, and racing enthusiasts, who learned that with hard work, determination, and the right strategy, anyone could become successful in life.

Corbiere is not only remembered as a Grand National champion but also as a symbol of hope during Britain's pivotal era.

Bob Champion & Aldaniti: The Inspirational Couple

The partnership between Bob Champion and his horse Aldaniti became more than just two racetrack characters; it became an iconic figurehead against all odds. Aldaniti, on one side, was recovering from an injury that had threatened his career, something Champion himself underwent when he was battling cancer. Out of this context arose an incredible journey whose climax came at the Grand National, earning them recognition among Famous Grand National Horses.

Bob Champion's fight with cancer and subsequent will to return to racing became an inspiration for many. His loyalty to Aldaniti, though they were given zero odds of winning, portrayed the resilience of the human spirit. But this partnership was not just about a race; it was also a display of belief, total commitment and mutual trust between riders and horses.

The 1981 Grand National win is more than a sports achievement; it is a story of valiance involving human beings and horses. It acted as motivation, illustrating that even when faced with tribulations, men or animals can rise above them if they unite on common goals and remain steadfast in their resolve.

Bob Champion & Aldaniti: An Inspirational Duo

Foinavon: The 100/1 Surprise Winner

In the Grand National history records, there are few underdog stories quite like Foinavon's. Foinavon was a 100/1 outsider when he managed to win the 1967 Grand National, which will always be remembered as one of horse racing's most unexpected and improbable achievements. This remarkable feat made Foinavon a household name and put him among the Famous Grand National Horses.

A chaotic turn of events can characterize the 1967 Grand National. Foinavon won that race because several horses fell at the infamous fence called "the Foinavon Fence." Amidst confusion amongst leading horses, John Buckingham and his mount forded it with great care before passing it with some advantage as they were trying to retain their lead. This radically changed what was happening in this staging of horseracing competition, perfectly epitomizing the spirit of unpredictability that is so eminent in Grand National.

Foinavon's success showed his ability to keep going no matter how hard things get and that anything can happen in the Grand National. His name would always be linked to this race, thus symbolizing change and its profound meaning for all who run for their lives at this event.

Neptune Collonges: The Grey Giant

Neptune Collonges left an indelible mark on the Grand National in its 2012 edition, being described as a majestic grey horse. Trained by Paul Nicholls, the imposing steed would eventually become part of Aintree's Famous Grand National Horses after becoming the first grey horse to win there since over half a century ago.

Yet Neptune Collonges' achievement stood out beyond merely breaking gray horse droughts; it epitomized power, planning, and sheer determination. In such a notoriously unpredictable race, this showed the exact opposite by pointing towards a very careful preplanning and skill of Daryl Jacob on his back. The 2012 Grand National illustrated how Neptune Collonges handled the challenging Aintree course with surgical precision and unbowed spirit as he surmounted these daunting fences.

But more than that, Neptune Collonges will forever be remembered because of its grey hide and intimidating figure in racing circles worldwide. Its triumph rekindled the magic of grey horses at the Grand National, which makes us understand that in horse racing history, history can be altered, and new legends established.

Amberleigh House: Continuing the Red Rum Legacy

Amberleigh House is synonymous with the Grand National as it played its part in continuing Red Rum's legacy. Under trainer Ginger McCain, who had also trained Red Rum to three victories, Amberleigh House took to Aintree. However, his journey was a personal quest and a way of paying homage to one of the Famous Grand National Horses.

Amberleigh House's win in 2004 was a master class in stamina and tactics. With jockey Graham Lee aboard, he negotiated the difficult track with grace worthy of any strategist known for winning races by cleverly managing resources, as Red Rum did during his triumphs. This helped confirm Ginger McCain as an expert on training winners at Aintree and also gave Amberleigh House credibility as the true heir to Red Rums' name.

Amberleigh House's story says that in the world of horse racing, traditions and legacies continue. He was following in the footsteps of Red Rum, who had been one of its most celebrated horses; thus, he became a part of this history that dates back many years ago as that which still lingers within these circles of people with such enthusiasm up to date.

“Miinnehoma”: The 90s Icon

The 1990s brought Miinnehoma, an icon who had his place in Grand National folklore until the decade ended. Ridden by Richard Dunwoody and trained by Martin Pipe, it was highly significant for Minnesota to win the race held on Saturday, April 9th, 1994, as, at this time, it was considered one of the most famous Grand National Horses in history.

That year's victory marked both skill and determination. Aintree's course had formidable obstacles and long-distance races, which were tough for a horse, but Miinnehoma's steady running pace enabled him to conquer all his rivals comfortably. This success also represented a triumph due to experience since Richard Dunwoody, their rider, knew all the bends on the course well enough.

This win symbolized more than just a race – it embodied everything that makes the Grand National popular among fans even today. Its legacy endures as a marker for excellence during a period when racing in Britain underwent extensive changes, reminding us how close we are to making moments happen on such occasions.

Miinnehoma: The 90s Icon

Mr Frisk: Record-Breaking Performance

Records come in horse racing, and Mr. Frisk obliterated them all during the 1990 Grand National event. Marcus Armytage rode Mr Frisk into equine immortality on April 7th,1990, while his trainer was Kim Bailey, turning him into Famous Grand National Horses after winning with record time.

Sometimes referred to as "a natural flyer," that horse was faster than any other. In 1990, running in the Grand National, Mr. Frisk's time was a stunning 8 minutes and 47.8 seconds, beating the previous record by an incredible margin. His rivals were left to need help with his relentless pace far behind him. His performance was so reckless that even ardent racing fans were stunned, putting him among some of the best performers in sporting history.

Mr Frisk's name is forever associated with speed and bravado, confirming that records are meant to be broken, especially within horse racing circles.

Ballabriggs: The McCain Family Success Story

The Ballabriggs issue marked another chapter for the famous steeplechase from Aintree, during which Donald McCain Jnr., whose father Ginger trained Red Rum to his three victories over this distance, won. Ballabriggs' win in the 2011 Grand National Trainer by Donald McCain Junior meant they had continued their family success story in this race.

Ginger McCain was connected with Aintree because he trained Red Rum, which resulted in victory three times during the course. This historical background made Ballabriggs' win more meaningful, demonstrating how entrenched the family had become within this sport's culture. Under Jason Maguire's guidance, Ballabriggs showed what he could do as he tackled both hard and challenging parts of the course.

Ballabriggs's victory in 2011 not only meant that the horse was victorious but also marked a tribute to McCain's family era of Aintree. This underscores that, in the Grand National world, tradition and excellence often intertwine. It also provides a storyline that resonates with fans and enthusiasts.


The Grand National- an event that has held millions captive- has produced some horses whose names will forever remain in the annals of history. Each horse's tale, from Red Rum, who is unforgettable, to Mr Frisk, who holds the record for being the fastest winning time, and from Aldaniti's win with Bob Champion to Ballabriggs' comeback, is an enduring testimony about the spirit of Grand National.