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Aintree racecourse looking NE Taken from Lord Sefton Stand. (photo credit Ruth E - CC BY-SA 2.0)
Aintree racecourse looking NE Taken from Lord Sefton Stand. (photo credit Ruth E - CC BY-SA 2.0)

by CL Cimino

The 2020 Grand National was a hugely anticipated event in the United Kingdom. However, the famous racing event got canceled, like all other major sports events in the world, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. For online horse betting fans who had been expecting some real fun and enjoyment, the cancellation of the Grand National was a big blow. But for the good of all people, it was a necessary action.

1- Devon Loch’s defeat on the brink of victory

E.S.B. won the 1956 edition of the race but he didn’t become the reason for the incredible popularity of this Grand National. Instead, it was Devon Loch who failed from the brink of victory and hence gained great infamy in the history of the competition. To do a Devon Loch even became a metaphor to describe a sudden failure.

Devon Loch was performing brilliantly on the racing day and everybody was expecting an easy victory for him. His chances of victory further improved when two top contenders Must and Early Mist fell early in the race. There looked no question of defeat for Devon Loch on the final stretch as he had been leading by a great margin. However, he did something that shocked everyone at Aintree Racecourse that day. Suddenly and inexplicably, he belly-flopped to the turf and thus gave E.S.B. the chance to claim victory.

Jockey Dick Francis could not believe this shocking turn of events and cried bitterly. No one could provide a good explanation for this unexpected behavior of an amazing horse, though a lot of people gave their theories on the matter.

2- Foinavon’s miracle win

People would find it very hard to believe if you tell them that slowness can also be a virtue for a racehorse competing in one of the most prestigious races like the Grand National. However, this proved to be true in the 1967 Grand National when Foinavon won the race because he happened to be the slowest of all that day.

No one was slightly excited about the prospects of Foinavon when the racehorse began the race at odds of 100/1. Three jockeys had turned down the offer to ride Foinavon before John Buckingham agreed to be the jockey.

The chances of the Cyril Watkins owned horse increased dramatically when something very unexpected happened during the race. A horse named Popham Down caused a huge pile-up at the 23rd fence and almost the whole race came to a standstill. Foinavon was so far behind the others that he remained unaffected and avoided the chaos. It didn’t take long for him to establish an unassailable lead in the race. Many horses gave chase but by then the race had slipped from their hands. Foinavon easily won the 1967 Grand National.

There a lots of interesting articles in our sections on Horse Racing and Steeplechase.

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