Bob Champion

Aldaniti - Grand National
Coral

Bob Champion & Aldaniti - Liverpool - Bob Champion was recovering from Cancer Aldaniti was recovering from serious leg injuries could both these crocks survive the gruelling Grand National Course never mind win it.

The year was 1979 and Bob Champion top jockey for Josh Gifford having ridden over 350 winners was diaganosed with Cancer. Known as a tough fighter he now had the battle of his life. Originally told that he would need 3 courses of Chemotherapy he eventually had to endure 6 courses.

Throughout his illness he constantly checked on one of his favourite horses Aldaniti whom he passionately believed he could win the Grand National on.

At the time of Bob Champion's illness Aldaniti was 9 years old and was considered by many to be a tough old fashioned steeplechaser who could win the National. Click Here to bet with Paddy Power Now.

A combinatination of leg injuries kept forcing Aldaniti to long lay offs.

Despite all of his problems Aldaniti kept fighting back and Bob Champion fought his battle with cancer with the dream of winning the National on this horse has his main inspiration.

30th August 1980 saw Bob Champion win his first steeplechase come back race. Bob went on to win more races and in February 1981 Aldiniti made his comeback race at Ascot starting at 14/1 and not really expected to do much he won easily.

Aldaniti 4 April 1981

Grand National, 4 April 1981, Bob Champion, Aldaniti,

So on 4 April 1981 Aldaniti started the Grand National with Bob Champion on board at 10/1 second favourite behind the magnificent Spartan Missile. Having been advised to take it easy Bob soon found that he couldn't hold Aldaniti back and at the first fence they almost went down, Aldaniti was standing too far off the fence when he nipped it and stumbled, at the second fence he stood even further back and landed on the fence. However Aldaniti was a quick learner and by the third he was treating the fences with the respect they deserve and he started to pull away.

By the second last it was Aldaniti from Royal Mail with Spartan Missile having a lot of ground to make up, but Royal Mail made a mess of the second last and Aldaniti was out on his own.

The dream was on and Bob Champion couldn't see how he could fail, while Spartan Missiles Jockey John Thorne had other ideas and was pushing Spartan Missile hard. With just a furlong to go he looked to have the legs of Aldaniti Bob Champion picked up his whip and Aldaniti responded gamely and by the post had 4 lengths on Spartan Missile. The two old crocks had done it and the fairy tale came true.