Grand National: Amazing story of outsider Tipperary Tim who defied odds in historic race

Grand National 2022: All You Need To Know

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One year on from an incredible, history-making Grand National, the greatest race on earth returns this afternoon for the 174th time. Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the iconic race last year when she surged to victory with Minella Times over the Aintree fences. The race took place in near silence, with fans not yet allowed back in the grandstands.

And the year before that, in 2020, the Grand National was cancelled entirely while the country was in the midst of the first lockdown.

A field of 40 runners will go to the post at 5:15pm this afternoon, with Blackmore hoping to emulate last year’s heroics.

She faces a tough battle, however, with Any Second Now, Delta Work and Snow Leopardess all among the tipsters’ picks.

Jockeys and fans alike will be hoping Saturday’s race is no repeat of the 1928 renewal, which remains one of the most astonishing days in racing history.

Rank outsider Tipperary Tim lined up at the post with odds of 100/1, a long way off 5/1 favourite Master Billie.

Ridden by amateur jockey William Dutton, simply crossing the finish line would have been an achievement.

Such was the pessimism towards Tipperary Tim that one of Dutton’s friends was heart shouting before the race: “Billy boy, you’ll only win if all the others fall!”

Little did he know that that is exactly what would happen.

The 42 horses set off in unfavourable conditions, with mist setting in over the Aintree course.

As they approached the Canal Turn on the first circuit, Easter Hero became the first horse to take a tumble, sparking a major pile-up.

The majority of the horses were caught up in the commotion.

Tipperary Tim and his rider — a solicitor-turned-jockey — were one of just seven to avoid the chaos.

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With just one fence to go, only three horses remained.

Great Span appeared the most likely to win, with Tipperary Tim and Billy Barton behind.

Yet his saddle slipped, putting Billy Barton in the lead with the finish line in sight.

He fell with just a matter of metres to go, and Tipperary Tim galloped home to claim a historic victory.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PgtxXhroR-Y

Billy Barton’s jockey, Tommy Culinan, managed to remount and eventually completed the race on his 33/1 horse, making him one of only two riders to finish the race.

Tipperary Tim’s winning owner, Lord Harold Kenyon received £5,000 and the historic cup — worth a further £2,000 — equivalent to roughly £420,000 in today’s money.

The surprise victory made him a superstar overnight, and he soon adorned the covers of cigarette packets up and down the country.

Joseph Dodd, the horse’s trainer, was sent a congratulatory telegraph from none other than Winston Churchill, then-Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Tipperary Tim, meanwhile, lived in rented stables at Marbury Lodge in Cheshire for the rest of his life.

Marbury Lodge sits on an estate owned by Lord Kenyon at the time, and Tipperary Tim was buried there when he died.

His victory was just a number of memorable moments from the greatest race on earth.

A 2021 poll by bookmaker’s William Hill named Red Rum’s record-breaking third win in 1977 as the most memorable moment in the famous race.

The poll of some 2,000 Britons named the 2010 renewal as the second greatest moment — when AP McCoy finally triumphed at the 14th attempt.

In third place was the 1981 race, when the Aintree crowd was reduced to tears by one of the most heartwarming moments the sport has ever seen.

Cancer survivor Bob Champion rode Aldaniti, a horse all-but banished to the racing scrap heap, to a shock 10/1 victory.

Their remarkable story was later turned into award-winning film Champions, which starred legendary actor Sir John Hurt.

Coverage of the main event at Aintree begins at 2pm and runs until 6pm, with the race due to begin at 5:15pm.

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