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Grand National Legends

The Grand National has produced many legends over the years. Stories of personal triumph like jockey Bob Champion's win in 1981 to legendary horses such as Red Rum and the amazing 100/1 shot Foinavon who stunned the world with a National win in 1967.

The team here at 'Grand National Free Bets' has taken a look at some of the memorable riders and horses that have captivated our hearts over the years...

Red Rum

An Aintree legend, Red Rum is the only horse to win the race three times and is the greatest Grand National horse of all time.

Trained behind a used car showroom in Southport, and galloped on the beach by his trainer Ginger McCain, 'Rummy' may not have had a conventional preparation for Aintree but that did not stop him making an impact on the National like no horse before or since.

He beat gallant Australian horse Crisp to win the 1973 Grand National, and followed that up a year later with another win and finished runner-up in both 1975 and 1976.

He entered racing folklore the following year when coming home in front to one of the greatest welcomes seen in Liverpool, uniquely gaining a third National at the age of 12.

McCain, now training in more upmarket surroundings of the Cholmondley estate in Cheshire, won the Grand National again in 2004 with Amberleigh House.

After his retirement Red Rum returned to Aintree many times to lead the parade of horses before the race.

He died on October 18th 1995 at the age of 30 and is buried at the finishing line with his head facing the winning post.

The Red Rum statue takes pride of place at the entrance to Aintree, a fitting tribute to the race's most famous legend.

Aldaniti and Bob Champion

The National isn't just about horses.

The brave jockies play a huge part in any National success and there could be none braver than Bob Champion who in 1981 had the ride of his life on Aldaniti to win the race.

In 1979, att thirty-one, Bob discovered he had cancer. He was told he might only have a few months to live and went through months of chemotherapy.

What kept him going was the dream of winning the Grand National.

In 1981 his dream came true but Bob's battle with illness was just one part of an amazing story.

Aldaniti, the horse on which Bob won the National, had also recovered from crippling injuries.

Together the Jockey and Horse overcame all the odds to pull off one of the most emotional Grand National wins ever.

Bob later paid tribute to the horse in his autobiography "Aldaniti is unbelievably tough.

I always knew he would gallop until he dropped and I'm convinced that if, during the race, I had pointed him at a twenty-foot brick wall he would have gone straight through it.

He was exhausted at the end but however tired he would have kept galloping for ten miles. His guts won the race. Nothing else".

The Irish

Irish Horses, trainers and jockeys have long played an integral part in British racing but the lack of Grand National success was becoming more than a joking matter going into the 1999 race.

There had been only one Irish-trained Grand National winner in the 40 years before 1999, but all that was about to change.

Bobbyjo, trained in County Meath by Tommy Carberry and ridden by his son Paul, landed a big gamble to capture that year's Grand National and start a very definite change of luck for the Irish.

Papillon captured the 2000 race for another father and son team - Ted and Ruby Walsh - while Monty's Pass' success in 2003 and Hedgehuneter's victory last year mean that Irish challengers have won four of the last seven runnings.

The first Irish-trained winner was Matthew in 1847 and there have been another 19 since then.