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  Saturday, 7 April, 2001, 21:36 GMT 22:36 UK
Aintree hero 'almost quit Britain'
Richard Guest celebrates his Grand National victory
Richard Guest celebrates his Grand National victory
Jockey Richard Guest speaks exclusively to BBC Sport Online's Frank Keogh after his Grand National triumph on Red Marauder.

Richard Guest has revealed he was on the verge of quitting England and heading for America because of his frustration at racing's rulers.


They were saying that by not moving a lot on the horse, they couldn't tell if I was trying
Richard Guest

Guest won a remarkable running of the Grand National with a thrilling ride on 33-1 chance Red Marauder.

But as he talked about his triumph, he admitted that winning the Aintree spectacle appeared impossible just a couple of years ago.

The 35-year-old handed in his jockey's licence after being found guilty under the non-trier rule, a guideline which infers the jockey did not try his hardest on a horse.

"I thought that was it. I was going to go to America and set up with some horses there," revealed Guest.

"They were saying that by not moving a lot on the horse, they couldn't tell if I was trying.

"They didn't believe me, but I think I've got the point across now. They know I'm not up to anything sinister."

Guest and Red Marauder clear the last open ditch
Guest and Red Marauder clear the last open ditch

He admits the decision to run the Grand National in such heavy going, caused by days of downpours, was "borderline" and that it is unlikely the race will ever be run in worse conditions.

"There was a great deal of apprehension beforehand," he said.

"The one thing about soft ground is if you have a fall, you do walk away. We knew we had to be sensible, and I think we were."

Guest was left in the unlikely position of being one of only two jockeys who could win for most of the race after a series of loose horse calamities and a pile-up at the Canal Turn.

It left Red Marauder's rider alongside Timmy Murphy on Smarty, and a trail of casualties in their wake.

"We were looking after one another, and gave each other a bit of encouragement. It's a formidable race," said the mud-drenched rider.


I won't just give a horse a smack, because then it moves better
Richard Guest

As some people questioned the decision for the race to go ahead, it is ironic that Guest - who has veered away from whipping tired horses - should triumph.

He is a genuine horseman, who appears to totally respect the animals in his care.

"I won't just give a horse a smack, because then it moves better," he said.

Guest was once best man at the wedding of former top jockey Graham Bradley, who had indicated in a BBC Sport Online interview ahead of the National that his friend was very keen on Red Ark.

But Red Ark was a non-runner, and another Red won this most remarkable of Nationals.

"Red Ark jumps brilliantly, but couldn't stay like this horse does," said Guest.

" We ran him here at 2m 5f on Friday. I said he would have a chance in the National.

Guest finished with mud on his face, but won the race
Guest savours victory

"We were lucky we had two strings to our bow - one who liked fast ground and one who liked soft."

Guest did insist on a price for the interview - the exhausted jockey, who had not touched a drop of alcohol since 1 January, wanted a large glass of water.

And after sipping the much-needed drink and watching the race again in a quiet corner, Guest made himself available.

Which just proves that nice guys do come first - sometimes.


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