Grand National Famous Moments

Moifaa and the shipwreck

In 1904 Spencer Gollan decided to bring his newly purchased New Zealand-born jumping champion Moifaa to Liverpool to test the horse’s mettle against the world’s finest steeplechase horses at the Grand National at Aintree. At that stage Moifaa was the undisputed champion of hunt racing in New Zealand, and his progress had only been stopped when the handicappers had made it impossible for him to be competitive in his races.

At the turn of the century transporting horses was an extremely risky undertaking, with horses frequently injured or killed during ocean passages. Unfortunately Moifaa found himself in the midst of a storm that destroyed the ship carrying him. Legend has it the Moifaa swam 20 miles to a nearby island where he was soon recovered. He then went on to win the Grand National in the same year.

Moifaa was known as the King of England’s favourite horse, and when the King died, this brave thoroughbred gelding was chosen to lead the King’s poignant funeral procession carrying only an empty saddle.

Foinavon and the perfect odds

The 1967 Grand National featured a horse by the name of Foinavon, who was entered into the event largely to make up the numbers. In fact, the horse was so poorly regarded that his owner didn’t take the trouble to attend the race to watch his horse run. It took one of the more remarkable Grand National famous moments to turn the race on its head.

Foinavon faired poorly on the first circuit and a half, and looked set to finish amongst the stragglers when the unthinkable happened. At one of the smallest jumps on the circuit, the 23rd fence, two horses ran in front of the field causing a pile up at the fence with horses colliding, coming to a halt and refusing to carry on the race.

Foinavon, far behind the field, eventually reached the scene of the accident and calmly threaded his way through the mess before turning up the pace and eventually finishing the race 15 lengths ahead of the race favourite.

Whoever bet on Foinavon that day made a fortune! The horse entered the race at odds of 100/1. Perhaps even more astounding is that the horse’s win was no fluke – his time remains one of the fastest in Grand National history. In recognition of this Grand National famous moment the 23rd fence was renamed after Foinavon.

Whilst 100/1 winners are naturally few and far between, the Grand National is one of those race’s where anything’s possible. So why not place a Grand National bet today for a chance at beating the odds!