The Grand National is less than three days away so I seem to be spending a lot of my time thinking about this unbelievable horse race.
The amazing achievements of some outstanding horses and their very brave jockeys, and in particular one very special partnership comes to mind. – The very touching story of Bob Champion and Aldaniti who won the Grand National back in 1981 against all odds.
Bob was diagnosed with cancer in July 1979, and with intense treatment and I’m sure a lot of will power he astonishingly recovered from this awful illness.
Aldaniti was a chestnut gelding born in 1970 and did not have the conformation desired in a potential top clas racehorse. He was rejected by his mother when he was a very young “baby” because she was short of milk, so he had to learn from an early age to get his nourishment from other sources.
Unfortunately, he was also prone to injuries. In fact, he came third in a race despite the fact that at the second jump he’d damaged a hind limb, causing a fracture. There were times that the vet wanted to put Aldaniti down, but with the determination of the team around him he went on to live a very full and successful life and passed away in 1997.
Looking at the history of both horse and jockey, I can imagine in 1981 few people really expected to see Bob and Aldaniti cross the finish line first, let alone completing both circuits of this very tough Grand National , so the cheers when they crossed the line were to put it mildly, deafening.
Not surprisingly, there triumph was made into a film called “Champions”, and John Hurt portrayed Bob. Aldaniti starred as himself, and the film came out in 1983.
Bob Champion has the name which is appropriate for what he has achieved and together with Aldaniti, they really were the “Champions of Champions”.