1986 Grand National

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1986 Grand National
Grand National
Location Aintree Racecourse
Date 5 April 1986
Winning horse Republic of Ireland West Tip
SP 15/2
Jockey Northern IrelandRichard Dunwoody
Trainer Michael Oliver
Owner Peter Luff
Conditions Good to soft
External video
Replay of the 1986 Grand National in full YouTube

The 1986 Grand National (known as the Seagram Grand National for sponsorship reasons) was the 140th renewal of the world-famous Grand National horse race that took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, on 5 April 1986.

The race was won by nine-year-old 15/2 second favourite West Tip, ridden by jockey Richard Dunwoody.[1] in a time of 9 minutes, 33 seconds for a prize of £57,254. The winner was owned by Mr Peter Luff and trained in Droitwich, Worcestershire by Michael Oliver.[2]

Build-up, leading contenders and the race[edit]

One hundred and nine horses were entered the 1986 Grand National of which fifty six stood their ground and declared to run [3] For health and safety reasons only a maximum field of forty could take part so the sixteen entrants given the lowest handicap mark by handicapper, Captain Christopher Mordaunt [4] were forcibly withdrawn from the race. These included former competitors, King Spruce, Onapromise and Colonel Christy [3]

The previous year's runner up, Mr Snugfit was installed as the 13/2 favourite [5] despite having been injured for a time during the season and having run unimpressively in his last four starts. Phil Tuck took the mount, as he had done last year.[3] with last year's favourite, West Tip was again heavily supported at 15/2 with many of his supporters feeling that he had been unlucky when falling at Becher's Brook while disputing the lead last year. His jockey on that occasion, Richard Dunwoody was released from his retainer on Port Askaig to take the mount on the second favourite.[6] Four months before the National, West Tip had been defeated by the impressive chaser, Door Latch, considered by the racing press as owner, Jim Joel's best chance of winning the race in his almost thirty years of trying. Richard Rowe took the mount on the 9/1 chance trained by former champion jockey Josh Gifford.[7] The remaining public support was placed in former winners, Corbiere and Last Suspect who would both set off at 14/1 in company of their riders in victory, Ben de Haan and Hywell Davies.[8]

Aside from these main contenders the majority of the remainder of public support was placed with The Tsarevich, former twice runner up, Greasepaint and 1984 winner Hallo Dandy at 16/1. Mark Dwyer was considered to have the best chance of the seven riders taking part in their debut National on board 18/1 shot Knock Hill. Among the other six debut riders was future winner Steve Knight, riding Tracy's Special.[8]

Unusually there were no riders taking part with experience of more than six previous rides in the race with Steve Smith Eccles, on board Classified and Paul Barton, on Fethard Friend both taking their seventh mounts [8]

Starter, Michael Sayers was starting his third National and had some difficulty communicating instructions to Czech rider, Vaclav Chalupka, on board the top weight, Essex who did not speak English [9] but still managed to dispatch the forty competitors at the first attempt.

Richard Rowe's race ended early when Door Latch exited at the first fence while Corbiere fell at the fourth. Last Suspect was always well to the rear before being pulled up at the eighteenth fence but both West Tip and Mr Snugfit were well in contention in a leading group of eight crossing the Melling Road towards the second last fence. West Tip had cruised up into second place at that point behind the 66/1 outsider, Young Driver with Classified, The Tsarevich and Sommelier the other challengers with Mr Snugfit having dropped back to eighth. West Tip moved upsides Young Driver after jumping the final fence and always looked comfortable on the run in despite only defeating the outsider by two lengths.[10]

Finishing order[edit]

Position Name Jockey Age Weight SP Distance
1st West Tip Richard Dunwoody 9 10-11 15/2 Won by 2 lengths
2nd Young Driver Chris Grant 9 10-0 66/1 20 lengths
3rd Classified Steve Smith-Eccles 10 10-3 22/1
4th Mr Snugfit Phil Tuck 9 10-7 13/2 F
5th Sommelier Tom Taaffe 8 10-0 50-1
6th Broomy Bank Peter Scudamore 11 10-3 20-1
7th The Tsarevich John White 10 10-7 16-1
8th Monanore Tom Morgan 9 10-0 22-1
9th Little Polveir Colin Brown 9 10-3 66-1
10th Greasepaint Tommy Carmody 11 10-9 16-1
11th Northern Bay Philip Hobbs 10 10-0 33-1
12th Hallo Dandy Neale Doughty 12 10-8 16-1
13th Kilkilowen Ken Morgan 10 11-3 25-1
14th Imperial Black Reg Crank 10 10-0 66-1
15th Rupertino Gareth Charles-Jones 11 10-0 66-1
16th Why Forget Ridley Lamb 10 10-7 35-1
17th Gayle Warning Mr Sandy Dudgeon 12 10-9 50-1 Last to complete


Fence Name Rider Age Weight Starting price Fate
1 Door Latch Richard Rowe 8 11-0 9-1 Fell
1 Port Askaig Graham McCourt 11 10-5 35-1 Fell
2 Lantern Lodge Tony Mullins 9 10-7 100-1 Fell
4 Corbiere Ben De Haan 11 11-7 14-1 Fell
6 (Becher's Brook) Dudie Kevin Doolan 9 10-0 100-1 Unseated Rider (3) remounted & Fell
8 (Canal Turn) Plundering Simon Sherwood 9 10-1 25-1 Fell
9 (Valentine's Brook) Mount Oliver John Bryan 8 10-0 500-1 Fell
9 (Valentine's Brook) Tracys Special Steve Knight 9 10-6 150-1 Fell
10 Acarine Robert Stronge 10 10-13 33-1 Brought Down
10 Another Duke Paul Nicholls 13 10-4 200-1 Fell
10 Master Tercel Dermot Browne 10 10-7 150-1 Fell
10 Ten Cherries Adrian Sharpe 11 10-0 66-1 Fell
15 (The Chair) Drumlargan Tommy Ryan 12 11-6 40-1 Fell
15 (The Chair) Essex Vaclav Chaloupka 8 12-0 100-1 Pulled Up
17 Doubleuagain Charlie Mann 12 10-0 500-1 Knocked Over
17 Late Night Extra Mr Tim Thomson-Jones 10 10-2 500-1 Pulled Up
18 Last Suspect Hywel Davies 12 11-2 14-1 Pulled Up
19 (open ditch) Ballymilan Colin Hawkins 9 10-0 50-1 Unseated Rider
19 (open ditch) Tacroy Andrew Stringer 12 10-1 200-1 Unseated Rider
23 (Foinavon) Knock Hill Mark Dwyer 10 10-1 18-1 Pulled Up
23 (Foinavon) St Alezan Craig Smith 9 10-2 150-1 Brought Down
26 Ballinacurra Lad Graham Bradley 11 10-8 22-1 Fell
27 (open ditch) Fethard Friend Paul Barton 11 10-2 35-1 Pulled Up

[10] [11] [12]

Media coverage and aftermath[edit]

The official attendance of 75,637 was an increase of over 10,000 on the previous year and 20,000 on the year prior to that. While the Aintree Executive pointed to this as a mark of the recent success in saving the racecourse from being closed, some elements of the press stated that these figures were still some way short of those estimated in the 1920s-50s. In doing so however the press failed to point out that spectators had been able to watch the race for free if they took position on the country side of the Melling Road in those days while they were now charged admission in the modern era.[13]

The race was broadcast live by the BBC as part of its regular Saturday afternoon Grandstand programme in a Grand National special, as it had done every year since 1960. The commentary team for the fifteenth consecutive year was John Hanmer, Julian Wilson and lead commentator Peter O'Sullevan who was calling his forty-first Grand National on Radio or Television.[14] The programme itself was presented by Des Lynam who also leased the horse Another Duke to run in his colours. This presented the prospect of him having to interview himself if the 200/1 outsider were to win, until they departed the contest at the tenth fence. Jockey, Paul Nicholls later commented that "He cleared Becher's like a dream then fell at a little one. We [He and Des Lynam] still have a laugh about it" [15][16] In addition to its Television coverage, The BBC also broadcast the race live on Radio Two as part of its regular Saturday Sports Programme, having broadcast every National since 1927 with Peter Bromley calling home the winner.

In the post race interview with Lynam, Richard Dunwoody explained how the horse had almost been killed years before in a road accident. "He needed 90-100 stitches and lost an awful lot of blood...It's a miracle he's here today, never mind winning the race." [17]

West Tip has the advantage by 3 lengths from Young Driver. Young driver is striding back, but West Tip is going to hold him back in the National, and as they come to the line, West Tip has won the National!

BBC Commentator Peter O'Sullevan describes the climax of the 1986 National


  1. ^ "Previous Grand National Winners". Grandnational.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  2. ^ A Race Apart, Reg Green, 1987, page 368-9
  3. ^ a b c Grand Nationals of the 1980s, Christopher Simpson
  4. ^ Sporting Life Souvenir Magazine, 9 April 1988, page 4
  5. ^ "1986 Grand National Results". grand-national.me.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  6. ^ A Race Apart, Reg Green, 1987, Page 367
  7. ^ Sporting Life Souvenir Magazine, 9 April 1988, Page 19
  8. ^ a b c A Race Apart, Reg Green, 1987, page 369
  9. ^ Sporting Life Souvenir Magazine, 9 April 1988, page 11
  10. ^ a b "West Tip 1986 Grand National Aintree". YouTube. 2013-04-29. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  11. ^ The Grand National : the history of the Aintree spectacular, by Stewart Peters & Bernard Parkin, ISBN 0-7524-3547-7
  12. ^ "Grand National Anorak |". freewebs.com. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  13. ^ Sporting Life Souvenir magazine, 4 April 1987, page 19
  14. ^ "Grand National Anorak |". freewebs.com. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  15. ^ "Paul Nicholls: The Alex Ferguson of horse racing - Telegraph". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  16. ^ "Owners Looking for Success in the Grand National". Bettingpro.com. 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  17. ^ AP (1986-04-06). "West Tip Wins National". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 

External links[edit]