|Ritz Club Handicap Chase (1985)
Grand National (1986)
|Last updated on March 7, 2009|
West Tip was a bay gelding bred in Ireland near Fethard, County Tipperary, by Joe Hayes. He was owned by Peter Luff and during his racing career he was trained by Michael Oliver at Elmley Lovett near Droitwich in Worcestershire.
In 1982, West Tip was injured in an accident involving a lorry, along the road from Michael Oliver's stables, which were near Hartlebury Trading Estate. It was a foggy morning and Oliver's string were waiting for the arrival of jockey Philip Hobbs to join them in riding out. As the horses were walking along Walton Lane, Hartlebury, a lorry which was taking an illegal shortcut overtook them, and West Tip, who was at the tailend of the string, spun around, resulting in a hook on the lorry tearing a gash in his hindquarters, which required over 70 internal stitches. It was feared that the horse would have to be put down, but thanks to the expertise of veterinary surgeon Peter Thorne, the horse made a complete recovery and went on to win on his racecourse debut at Warwick on 29th December 1982, at 50-1, ridden by Philip Hobbs. West Tip was left with a distinctive large scar on his hindquarters.
In 1985 West Tip won the Ritz Club Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He started joint-favourite for the 1985 Grand National but fell at Bechers Brook on the second circuit. West Tip returned to Aintree for the 1986 Grand National and started the 15/2 second favourite under a weight of 151 pounds. Ridden by Richard Dunwoody he was always amongst the leaders and jumped the last fence in second place behind the Scottish-trained outsider Young Driver. West Tip took the lead on the run-in and got the better of a sustained struggle with Young Driver to win by two lengths.
In subsequent runs in the National he finished fourth in 1987 and 1988, second in 1989, and tenth in 1990. On each occasion between 1985 and 1989 he was ridden by Dunwoody, and on his last appearance in 1990 he was ridden by Peter Hobbs. He was retired after the 1990 Grand National.
- Green, Reg (1993). The History of the Grand National: A Race Apart. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-58515-3.
- Racing mourns West Tip BBC.co.uk 25 July 2001.
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