Randox Horse Tales | Ed Chamberlin’s favourite Grand National memories
In the second edition of Randox Horse Tales, we’re delighted to be able to hear from the face of ITV Racing, Ed Chamberlin.
Read on to find out about his earliest racing memory, his first trip to Aintree, and why 2010 was his favourite Grand National…
The Randox Health Grand National has always been a huge part of my life.
My earliest memory is watching Aldiniti’s famous win in 1981 alongside my grandfather in his tiny sitting room in Bruton, though the fairytale was lost on his seven-year-old grandson who was fuming after his 50p on Spartan Missile narrowly failed to deliver. I remember blaming the jockey, again blissfully unaware of the heroics in the saddle from 54-year-old John Thorne.
From that day on I was in charge of my grandfather’s ITV7 entry and the annual family sweepstake. I was hooked.
My first trip to Aintree was in the election year of 1992 when Party Politics was an appropriate winner. I absolutely loved that giant horse and loved even more the huge price he returned on the Tote.
The trip North became an annual excursion, at first via a Little Chef Lodge off the M6 to the Canal Turn, and then when student days were over, a hotel stay and badges to the main enclosure with much of the day spent desperately trying to get in camera shot behind Des Lynam.
To think on 8th April I am going to present the 2017 Randox Health Grand National on ITV is utterly surreal. I cannot wait.
Party Politics holds a special place in my heart but my favourite winner of all time has to be Don’t Push It in 2010.
I had given up hope of AP McCoy ever riding a National winner. Everyone knew his obsession with winning the race – the one big omission from his remarkable CV – and every year seemed to end in bitter disappointed. Blowing Wind’s fall and Clan Royal getting carried out at Becher’s Brook were the two golden opportunities that got away and it looked like victory would never happen.
On the Monday before the 2010 renewal I spoke to AP, who was leaning towards riding Can’t Buy Time in the big race. Thankfully Jonjo O’Neill persuaded him otherwise later in the week.
The race itself went like clockwork and the feeling on the run-in when Don’t Push It hit the front and AP’s elation when he crossed the line, are memories I will never forget. The rest is a haze! Knowing just what it meant to the greatest jockey we will ever see, and his family, made that the most special Grand National day I can remember.
A few weeks later, the party to celebrate was pretty special too!
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