Every racehorse trainer dreams of saddling a Grand National winner. To see their horse strutting around as champion after a hard-fought victory in the UK’s biggest horse race represents the pinnacle of achievement in the sport, and the reward for the long hard hours spent preparing their horse for the big day at Aintree.
Of course, this year the Grand National will look a little different, and it is unclear when the race will actually take place after the original date of April 4th was postponed because of the coronavirus crisis. But that will take nothing away from the magnitude of the Grand National when it does eventually get going. Once horse racing gets up and running again, the punters will be eagerly perusing the horse betting odds and the sport’s most successful trainers will be putting in every effort to make sure those horses are 100% ready for this showpiece sporting event.
Many of those trainers have never tasted victory in the National, but the cream of the crop all know what it feels like to saddle a winner in the season’s biggest race. Let’s take a look at a few famous active trainers who have tasted success in the Grand National.
Of all the active trainers on the horse racing circuit today, none boast as strong a record in the Grand National as Gordon Elliott. He has saddled the winning horse on three occasions, including the two most recent editions of the race, as Tiger Roll stole the show in 2018 and 2019. Elliott’s prior victory in the race came in 2007 when Silver Birch won the Aintree showpiece, ridden by Robbie Power.
Elliott will be hoping that Tiger Roll can secure an unprecedented third Grand National win in a row in the 2020 race, an achievement which would ensure that horse, trainer and jockey Davy Russell go down as legends of the sport.
You have to go all the way back to 2002 for Nigel Twiston-Davies’ most recent Grand National winner, but that does not detract from the trainer’s quality and capability of winning big races. 2002 was Twiston-Davies’ second win in the National, as Jim Culloty rode Bindaree to victory. Four years earlier, he saddled Earth Summit, who gave the trainer his first taste of Grand National glory.
While it’s been 18 years since Twiston-Davies was last victorious in the famous old race, he remains a top trainer and one to watch out for when it comes to potential winners at Aintree.
Willie Mullins has long been one of the biggest names in horse racing, and the trainer earned his first winner in the Grand National in 2005, as Ruby Walsh rode Hedgehunter to victory. For a trainer of Mullins’ quality, it’s perhaps a touch surprising that he does not boast more than one winner in the Grand National, but that speaks more of the difficulty of the race itself rather
than any failings on the part of the trainer.
Mullins will be keen to get a second title under his belt though, and his best shot in 2020 looks to be Burrows Saint, who is currently 12/1 to win the Aintree showpiece.
Paul Nicholls is another trainer with outstanding horse racing pedigree, and he secured Grand National success in 2012 with Neptune Collonges, ridden by Daryl Jacob. His horse was a 33/1 shot that day, but Nicholls and Jacob overcame the odds to taste that coveted feeling of Grand National victory.
At the time of writing, one of Nicholls’ 2020 entries, Yala Enki, is similarly priced at 28/1 to win the Grand National, so it may take a repeat of history if the trainer is to claim a second triumph in the famous race.