The start of the 90s heralded a bright, exciting and increasingly modern decade, one we all remember for many fond memories. Mr Frisk won the 1990 Grand National in record time for trainer Kim Bailey, while fellow 11-year-old Seagram won the following year. We kick off our Top 5 Grand Nationals of the 90s with the 1992 renewal though, and a famously topical winner.
1992 Grand National - PARTY POLITICS
The 1992 Grand National was staged just five days before the 1992 UK General Election, which resulted in a fourth consecutive win for the Conservative party, led at the time by John Major. A week beforehand, Nick Gaselee’s Party Politics - ridden by Carl Llewellyn - stormed to victory in the Grand National. Going off at an industry SP of 14/1, he was a popular choice of the once-a-year punters. Party Politics was chased hard by Romany King under Richard Guest, but Llewellyn secured a trio of assured jumps at the final three fences to keep up the momentum and score by over two lengths. Favourite Docklands Express was in the hunt throughout, but weakened into fourth late on, with Laura's Beau staying on into third.
1994 Grand National - MIINNEHOMA
Martin Pipe did it all during his time as a trainer, indeed he changed the game with his legendary achievements, including winning the Grand National in 1994 with Miinnehoma. The ground was testing that day and at the business end of the race, it was a very tactical game between the jockeys, each trying to conserve energy and press “Go” at just the right time. Coming over the last, Adrian Maguire asked Moorcroft Boy to go on and win his race, going about a length up on strong-travelling Miinnehoma under Richard Dunwoody. Miinnehoma soon asserted control as they approached the elbow. At that point, the lightly-weighted Just So came with a tremendous late bid down the outside. Miinnehoma had to work hard, but managed to hold off the runner-up in a thrilling finish.
1995 Grand National - ROYAL ATHLETE
In 1995, the remarkable Jenny Pitman secured her second Grand National win with Royal Athlete, having been the first woman to train a winner of the race 12 years earlier. A long time between drinks for Pitman, but this one was well worth the wait. Welsh National and Gold Cup winner Master Oats went off as a well-fancied favourite on the day, but could only plug-on into 7th place. Instead, it was the towering figure of 1992 National winner Party Politics who produced the biggest challenge, coming away from the pack to chase down Royal Athlete. A diminutive but zippy Royal Athlete was not to be denied, though. Despite a couple of messy jumps, he had more than enough in reserve to hold on for a famous win at a big price.
1998 Grand National - EARTH SUMMIT
Earth Summit loved the mud and with the rain that fell upon Aintree before the 1998 Grand National, came an avalanche of late money in the betting market for Nigel Twiston-Davies’ ten-year-old. Earth Summit had won the Welsh National back in December and landed the Scottish version as a novice, so the pedigree to perform well at Aintree was there for all to see. Of course, you never can be completely sure how a horse will adapt to the demands of the unique test of the Grand National. Backed from 10/1 into an industry SP of 7/1, there was huge confidence in the horse on the day and with Carl Llewellyn chasing his second win in the race, the result seemed ominous. Rounding for home, it was only Earth Summit and Suny Bay left in contention, the rest dropping away on the attritional ground. Suny Bay ran an outstanding race under a huge weight of twelve stone, but Earth Summit just ploughed on remorselessly to land a proper gamble to the cheers of the Aintree faithful.
1999 Grand National - BOBBYJO
Bobbyjo was trained by Tommy Carberry in Ireland ridden by the masterful Paul Carberry. The previous year, Bobbyjo won the Irish Grand National and in the build-up to the 1999 Aintree Grand National, hopes were high in Ireland that this nine-year-old could land them the race for the first time in 24 years. The horse was well fancied on the day and approaching two out, Bobbyjo was one of seven horses still firmly in contention. At the last fence it was anyone's race. Carberry switched his mount to the outside, asked for a big jump - got it - and the horse just sprung to life, with the help of a huge cheer from the crowd, when asked to go and win. The additional few furlongs was no trouble for this strong stayer and he stretched clear by ten lengths. Bobbyjo ended the 90s in style and got the monkey off the back of Irish trained runners, who would go onto land five of the next ten renewals of the world’s most famous horse race.