Page last updated at 07:14 GMT, Friday, 19 February 2010

Dinner marks 25th anniversary of Grand National success


Archive footage of Hywel Davies surging through on Last Suspect to win the Grand National in 1985

A dinner to mark the 25th anniversary of a jockey's "epic ride" to win the Grand National is being staged later.

The event in Cardigan, Ceredigion, will celebrate Hywel Davies's win on 50-1 outsider Last Suspect in 1985.

Mr Davies, who is originally from the town, will be joined by former champion jockey Peter Scudamore and ex-world powerboat champion Jonathan Jones.

The dinner is one of a series of events planned to mark Cardigan's 900th anniversary this year.

The boxing dinner, along with plans to show the Grand National race from 1985 on a big screen, will be held at the town's newly revamped Guildhall.

Mr Davies's win on Last Suspect at Aintree was not celebrated in all quarters in the town, with bookmakers believed to have lost hundreds of pounds.

Hywel Davies on Last Suspect after the Grand National in 1985
He got his blood up the day of the national and just went
Hywel Davies speaking about Last Suspect

Among the guests at the dinner will be Mr Davies's friend, the eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore, whose horse Corbiere was third behind Last Suspect in 1985.

Four-time world powerboat champion Jonathan Jones, who is an old school friend of Mr Davies's from Cardigan, will also be attending, along with Neale Doughty, who won the national on Hallo Dandy in 1984.

Mr Davies, 52, who now runs a horse feed business in Lambourn, Berkshire, said: "People in Cardigan were great after I won the National, and it's a great honour for me that this event is tied in with the 900th anniversary of the town.

"It's great my old school friend Jonathan Jones, a four-time world powerboat champion from Cardigan, is going to be there, along with another of my friends, eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore."

Mr Davies said he could still remember the race in a great detail.

Last Suspect was the longest priced winner of the Aintree showpiece for nearly two decades.

But it took his jockey to persuade owner, the Duchess of Westminster, to let the 11-year-old run on the day, after he pulled up in his previous outing.

Mr Davies added: "He was a very classy horse. He had a lot of ability and he was a gentleman, but if he wasn't in the mood then he wouldn't go.

'Sporting history'

"In the last race before the National, at Warwick, we went about halfway round and he just pulled up and as a result his owner nearly didn't run him at the National.

"He was a careful jumper and had never fallen. He got his blood up the day of the National and just went.

"I kept him out of traffic on the first circuit and just rode him home on the second circuit."

Mr Davies ended his riding career in 1994 after 761 wins, with his son James continuing the family tradition in the saddle.

Dinner organiser Mike Lewis said Last Suspect's triumph was a "unique moment in Cardigan's sporting history".

He added: "We feel it's only appropriate his epic ride that day is marked by an event of this nature at Cardigan's Guildhall."

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