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Last Updated:  Friday, 4 April, 2003, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
National dream ends too soon
By Sophie Brown
BBC Sport at Aintree

If it is every racehorse owner's dream to win the Grand National, then to sell the victorious horse weeks before the Aintree spectacle must be a nightmare.

Little Polveir won the 1989 Grand National but did not run in the red and white colours of Mike Shone that he had carried for the whole of his racing career.

Shone held the largest share (35%) of the horse along with three partners but they took the decision to sell up just six weeks before Aintree.

"Some soldiers approached (Little Polveir's trainer) John Edwards and said, 'Have you got us anything you can sell us to that we could ride in the Grand Military at Sandown?', Shone told this website.

Jimmy Frost steers Little Polveir over one of Aintree's fearsome fences
Little Polveir on his way to victory in 1989
"What they were after was a horse nearing the end of its career that would be a safe conveyance.

"John had two 12-year-old horses that fitted the bill - Little Polveir and Castle Warden, which I also co-owned.

"We'd entered them both for the Grand National in the January. This was the February," said Shone, a Welsh-born businessman who is now based in Berkshire.

"Basically we decided that as the ground was hard as iron and therefore suited Castle Warden and not Polvier, the thing to do was to sell Polveir.

"Of course no sooner had we done it, it started to rain and rain and on the day of the National, it was as soft as you like."


The rest is history as 28-1 shot Little Polveir beat West Tip by seven lengths.

Shone missed out on winning the National but at least did not lose out financially.

"I backed it to win my share of the prize money but even so I obviously regret selling him.

"But I was very thrilled he won because of course we'd had him from four, when he was unbroken, until 12."

All National Hunt owners are aware of the ups and downs of the sport and Shone has had enjoyed plenty of the former.

Little Polveir's nine wins for him included a Scottish National victory while Castle Warden's 16 wins included several valuable chases.

Fair View was a Cheltenham Festival winner while Sugarally won the forerunner of the Racing Post Chase.

Shone has three horses currently in training - they include Nil Desperandum, who finished in the prize money at Cheltenham and who is set for novice chasing next season.

The horse's name aptly sums up the importance of optimism for National Hunt owners - after all, the next horse might just be a Grand National winner.

Links to more Grand National 2003 stories


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