Here, we take a look at some of the most legendary Grand National jockeys and what it was that made them so famous.
Jockey George Stevens was born just six years before the first ever Grand National was run. Beginning his career in his mid-teens, the young George Stevens won 76 races over the 22 years from 1848 to 1870.
His most notable achievement is one that has never been bettered almost a century and a half after his death. George Stevens rode to victory in the Grand National five times between 1856 and 1870, on horses Freetrader, Emblem and Emblematic, and then on The Colonel in two consecutive years.
Thomas Olliver was almost as famous for his antics off the course as on it during his career. A renowned ladies’ man, lover of parties and man of very generous spirit, Thomas Olliver was often referred to as ‘Black Tom’ and spent some time in a debtors’ prison.
Despite this, he also managed to ride in 19 Grand Nationals, including the very first. This record was unbeaten until Tony McCoy rode his 20th Grand National on Shutthefrontdoor in 2015.
Olliver won an impressive three times in the Grand National, riding Gaylad (1842), Vanguard (1843) and Peter Simple (1853). He also finished close second a further three times, leaving him a total of just 4.5 lengths off taking home the most Grand National wins of all time.
Tony McCoy, also known as AP McCoy, captured the hearts and the betting slips of the nation in the 2015 Grand National.
Breaking Olliver’s record for most rides, McCoy was priced at an (astounding for such a race) 7/2 on Shutthefrontdoor. Unfortunately, on this occasion he only managed to finish fifth and went on to retire from racing two weeks later after 20 seasons.
At the date of his retirement, AP McCoy was able to boast of having set the record for the most career GB and IRE wins in jumps racing with 4,358 under his belt. He won the Grand National in 2010 on Don’t Push It and has also taken home two Cheltenham Gold Cups.
Bob Champion won the hearts of the world as he raced Aldaniti to victory in the 1981 Grand National. This victory was a particularly poignant one as Bob had been struggling with a vast array of harsh treatments for testicular cancer for the precious two years.
His triumph over both adversity and thirty Aintree fences won Bob Champion (along with Aldaniti) the Team Award at the 1981 BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony. He formed the Bob Champion Cancer Trust in 1983 and through it has raised millions to help other cancer patients.
Since the inaugural race of 1839, the Grand National has attracted some of the most well-known jockeys, looking to take home the big prize. The competition shows no signs of slowing down, so who knows which legends will emerge in the years to come?