The Lamb: Grand National Legend
The story of The Lamb is one of the most incredible of all the Grand National legends. The grey was initially written off as a racehorse, and due to his diminutive size was not reckoned worthy of more than acting as a pet horse for the Irish vet who purchased him.
The Lamb soon showed that he was no pet. The spirited grey was too powerful and unpredictable for the vet’s consumptive daughter, and on several occasions the horse showed his true vocation by jumping out of his paddock.
The Lamb’s owner soon realised the value of the horse he had bought and sent the horse for training.
At The Races
The Lamb’s first years of racing featured victories in several flat races, confirming his potential. His first major victory was the Kildare Hunt Plate at Punchestown. He was soon noticed by the wealthy Lord Powlett and sent for further grooming as a champion with amateur jockey George Ede.
The Lamb won his first Grand National in 1868. The moment was heroic as Ede had suffered a life threatening injury earlier in the year, yet he pushed himself to compete and ultimately claim victory. The Lamb became a Grand National legend.
Ede’s improbable victory was not the end of the drama that was to characterise The Lamb’s racing career. Shortly after his 1868 Grand National victory The Lamb contracted a wasting disease, and was unable to race for two years as he battled for his life.
In 1871 The Lamb did the impossible. Still in recovery, the grey was brought in to compete in the Grand National. During the race he jumped Valentine’s Brook just as another horse fell, and was forced to clear both fence and horse. He went on to win the race by two lengths. The moment was tinged with sadness, as he won without his mentor and jockey George Ede who had been killed in a fall at a previous race.
The Lamb, Grand National legend, never won the event again. He placed fourth in 1872 beneath a heavy handicap, before tragedy struck in a steeplechase in Baden, Germany. The Lamb fell at a fence and was seriously injured.
The brave grey was unable to recover, and his distraught owner was forced to have his spirited champion put down. His record of being the only grey to win the Grand National stood until 1961, when Nicolaus Silver triumphed at Aintree.