Racing vox pop: From Melling Road to Memory Lane... which National will live with you?

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Two moments of history. The void race of 1993, when I was frogmarched in front of the TV cameras in all the confusion to tell the world that it would get its money back. It was such a momentous occasion, absolutely unprecedented. The most joyous memory is Red Rum's third win back in 1977, when Ladbrokes were involved in the management team and Ginger McCain had been tremendously helpful in the build-up. I put the winner's sash round Red Rum's neck.



It was not when I won on Party Politics or last year on Earth Summit. It was when I pulled up Party Politics in the 1993 void National. Since winning the previous year he had been tubed to correct a breathing problem. Turning into the straight with a circuit to travel I thought I was going to get there too soon. He was absolutely running away over the Chair. Then we jumped the water and we were flagged down by officials. I was absolutely gutted. It was my worst moment in racing, one I will never forget.



The bomb scare year. I'd been at the meeting for 18 years but 1997 was my first as head groundsman and I walked right into it. My emotions were shock, and more than that, pure anger. I was out at Becher's when the news came and I stayed with the police right through helping with the search of the course. Further back I can remember Geraldine Rees being the first woman to get round. We were all gathered at the last fence just in case she fell, so we could help her back on and make sure she finished.



Seeing Moorcroft Boy land over the last in front in 1994 and thinking that at last I'd trained a National winner. And then realising, as two horses went past him, that I hadn't. For me, any emotions are magnified at Liverpool. My great-grandfather trained two National winners and I can remember watching my first National in 1952, when I saw two great jockeys, Arthur Thompson and Michael Scudamore, come to the last together. I would love to win, but the important thing is that my horses come back safely.



When Charles Dickens, trained by my father Michael, finished third to Red Rum and L'Escargot in 1974. There were some mixed feelings, because he had bad luck in running and we didn't know whether to be sad or delighted. But for me as a kid in a small yard he went from being just an ordinary horse to a really special one. I never won it but had some wonderful rides. Third on Corbiere was the closest, but Bonanza Boy jumped well there and Strands of Gold was cantering when he fell at Becher's.



The 1997 horror, of course. But the National should be about horses and people and the first I remember is 1957. Fred Winter won on Sundew but I was more concerned with Wyndburgh, who came second. I was at school and we had a sort of sweepstake of sweets and I won an absolute mountain. The first time I came to the course was when I rode in the Foxhunters in 1973. I can recall being amazed that the Melling Road was an actual street with houses, part of real life.