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Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Aintree to honour eight Grand National legends

John Smith's Grand National, Aintree, Saturday, 1615 BST
Coverage BBC One/BBC HD/BBC Radio 5 live/online, with other races also across the BBC 8-10 April. Highlights: 0030, BBC Two

By Frank Keogh

Eight Grand National greats are to be honoured in new awards launched by Aintree racecourse.

Five were selected by a public vote via the official Aintree website and three were nominated to be included in the Hall of Fame-style initiative.

The nominations were made by a panel of racing experts who were asked to consider the star performers - equine and human - from the 1830s through to the present day.

The eight legends are:


Ginger McCain and Red Rum - Won the Grand National for a record three times in the 1970s and was second twice.

Manifesto - Ran in the National eight times, finishing third on three occasions and fourth once, in addition to two victories. He was 16 when he last ran in the race, finishing unplaced in 1904.

John Buckingham and Foinavon - Buckingham won the National on his first ride in the race when he guided 100-1 shot past fallen horses in famous pile-up at 23rd fence which now bears horse's name.

Jenny Pitman - First woman to train a Grand National winner when Corbiere won in 1983 and triumphed again with Royal Athlete 12 years later.

Sir Peter O'Sullevan - The 'Voice of Racing', who is now aged 92, commentated on 50 Grand Nationals for the BBC. His charitable trust raises money for the protection of horses.


Edward Topham - Took over the management of Aintree racecourse in the mid-19th century and his family dynasty remained in control through three generations for 125 years.

George Stevens - Jockey won the race five times from 1856 to 1870. His final dramatic victory was on The Colonel who gunned down The Doctor by a neck in a thrilling finish.

Captain Martin Becher - A leading 19th century jockey, he was famous for once falling into the brook, with which is name is now associated as the famous Becher's Brook.

Aintree managing director Julian Thick said: "The Grand National always seems to produce a great story and we have been delighted by the public response to this vote.

"We also felt it was important to recognise the contributions made in the very early days of the race, with Captain Becher and Edward Topham playing a huge part in creating the race we know today and George Stevens' record as a jockey unlikely to be surpassed."

Aintree and the meeting's sponsors are also seeking nominations for 'People's Legends' - ordinary members of the public who have contributed to the famous race's history.

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see also
Dream Alliance is a Grand chance
23 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Mullins trio pull out of National
03 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Great race with a Grand tradition
30 Mar 01 |  Grand National
Broadcast legend reaches milestone
03 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
The National's grand history
28 Mar 02 |  Grand National 2002
Pitman's winning lines
07 Nov 03 |  Horse Racing
Horse Racing results on your mobile
15 Feb 10 |  Horse Racing

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