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1999 Grand National

The 1999 Grand National (known as the Martell Cognac Grand National Chase Showcase Handicap (Class A) Grade 3 for sponsorship reasons) was the 152nd official renewal of a horse race that took place at the Aintree Racecourse on April 10, 2000 and was won in a time of 9 minutes 14.1 seconds and by ten lengths by 10/1 shot, Bobbyjo, ridden by Paul Carberry. The winner was trained by Tommy Carberry at his base in Ratoath, County Meath, Ireland and ran in the red colours with yellow sleeves, cross of lorraine, green and yellow striped cap of London based Irish businessman Bobby Bourke. Thirty-two runners took part of which eighteen completed the course without mishap but Eudipe became the seventy-third horse to be killed in the race when suffering a fatal fall at Becher's Brook.[1]


Leading Contenders

Fiddling The Facts was made the 6/1 favourite on the day of the race after a series of impressive, albeit not victorious runs during the season. The mare had been third in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury the previous November and followed that by finishing second in the Welsh Grand National, Singer & Friedlander Grand National Trial and Greenalls Grand National Trial in the build up to the National itself. The horse was partnered by 1996 Grand National winning rider, Mick Fitzgerald and moved into the leading half dozen as the field approached the race course for the end of the first circuit. They remained prominent until falling at Beecher's Brook on the second circuit when lying seventh. [2]

Call It A Day had won the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown the previous April and prepared for the National by finishing second in the Midlands Grand National three weeks before Aintree. With double National winner Richard Dunwoody in the saddle, Call It A day was sent off at 7/1 and moved into contention on the second circuit to form part of a group of eight with a chance turning for home and took the final flight half a length down in second place. Within strides he had been passed by the eventual winner and although he rallied on the run in he finished ten lengths and a neck down in third place. [3]

Double Thriller was a hunter chaser who had run impressively to finish fourth in the previous month's Cheltenham Gold Cup, being installed as favourite for the National in the process. His restrictive odds on raceday led most in attendance on course on race day to oppose him with the result he drifted to 7/1 co second favourite at the off. Joe Tizzard took the ride but their partnership came to an end at the first fence. When the racecourse commentator called the horse's exit it was unusually met with a huge cheer from the crowd who had backed against him. [4]

Addington Boy had been one place behind Double Thriller in the Gold cup, having earlier finished third in the Irish Hennessy Cognac Gold cup at Leopardstown in February. Adrian Maguire took the ride on the 10/1 shot who was among the leading eight turning for home but was unable to quicken into the last fence, finishing over seventeen lengths behind the winner in fourth. [5]

Bobbyjo had won the 1998 Irish Grand National and was the believed to be the best contender to halt a twenty-four year drought for Irish trained runners in the National. The horse was unusually prepped in a minor hurdles race and remained freely available at odds as long as 40/1 until race day when his priced was slashed down to 10/1 at the off. Paul Carberry took the ride and steered the horse wide of his rivals at the final flight to lead up the run in and score by 10 lengths. [6]

Eudipe had finished second in the 1998 Scottish Grand National and fourth in the Welsh Grand National but it was her win in the Anthony Mildmay and Peter Cazelet Memorial Chase at Sandown in January that attracted the attention of punters. Her 10/1 starting price also had a lot to do with her being partnered by champion jockey Tony McCoy, which countered the three huge negatives of the horse being a seven year old, French trained and a mare and no horse of her age, sex or nationality had won the race for over forty years. She was travelling well, at the rear of a leading group of twelve runners when she fell heavily and fatally at Becher's Brook on the second circuit. Eudipe was the seventy-third equine fatality in the history of the race. [7]

Other popular fancies in the market were 1998 Scottish Grand National winner, Baronet, 1997 and 1998 Grand National runner up Suny Bay, 1996 Sun Alliance Chase winner Nahthen Lad, 1998 Grand National winner Earth Summit and the Peter Marsh Chase winner General Wolfe.

Finishing order

Position Name Rider Age Weight Starting price Distance or fate
Winner Bobbyjo Paul Carberry 9 10-00 10/1
Second Blue Charm Lorcan Wyre 9 10-00 25/1 10 lengths
Third Call It A Day Richard Dunwoody 9 10-02 7/1 a neck
Fourth Addington Boy Adrian Maguire 11 10-07 10/1 7 lengths
Fifth Feels Like Gold Brian Harding 11 10-00 50/1 5 lengths
Sixth Brave Highlander Philip Hide 11 10-01 50/1 14 lengths
Seventh Kendall Cavalier Barry Fenton 9 10-03 28/1 18 lengths
Eighth Earth Summit Carl Llewellyn 11 11-00 16/1 a head
Ninth St Mellion Fairway Jimmy Frost 10 10-02 200/1 short head
Tenth Samlee Rod farrant 10 10-00 50/1 14 lengths
Eleventh Nahthen Lad Andrew Thornton 10 10-02 14/1 2 lengths
Twelfth General Wolfe Norman Williamson 10 11-01 18/1 a distance
Thirteenth Suny Bay Graham Bradley 10 11-13 12/1 1 and a quarter lengths
Fourteenth Back Bar Dean Gallagher 11 10-00 200/1 5 lengths
Fifteenth Strong Chairman Robert Thornton 8 10-00 50/1 1 and a quarter lengths
Sixteenth Merry People Garrett Cotter 11 10-00 200/1 3/4s of a length, fell 29th, remounted
seventeenth Avro Anson Tony Dobbin 11 10-00 40/1 4 lengths
Eighteenth Coome Hill Stephen Wynne 10 10-11 25/1 24 lengths last to finish
Non Finishers
Fence one Double Thriller Joe Tizzard 9 10-08 7/1 Fell
Fence 4 Baronet Richard Johnson 9 12/1 10-02 Fell
Becher's Brook -6 Mudahim Brendan Powell 13 10-00 100/1 unseated rider
Beecher's Brook -6 Tamarindo Timmy Murphy 6 10-04 66/1 fell
The Chair -15 Cavelero Sean Curran 10 10-00 50/1 Pulled up when saddle slipped after a mistake at 14
Fence 18 Commercial Artist Tom Jenks 13 10-02 200/1 pulled up after 17 when tailed off
Fence 19 Cyborgo Conor O'Dwyer 9 10-11 50/1 pulled up tailed off
Becher's Brook -22 Fiddling The Facts Mick Fitzgerald 8 10-03 6/1 Fav fell
Becher's Brook -22 Eudipe Tony McCoy 7 10-10 10/1 fell fatally
Becher's Brook -22 Frazer Island Richard Guest 10 10-02 200/1 fell
Becher's Brook -22 Camelot Knight Chris Maude 13 10-00 200/1 Brought down by Frazer Island
Becher's Brook -22 Choisty Mr Robert Widger 9 10-00 200/1 Hampered and unseated
Fence 25 Castle Coin A S Smith 7 10-00 200/1 hampered and unseated when tailed off
Fence 27 Bell's Life Glenn Tormey 10 10-00 66/1 pulled up when tailed off

1999 innovations

1999 saw the conditions of the race change with the introduction of new rules for the forty-eight hour declaration stage. This brought in a system where horses numbered 41-43 were made reserves for the race and allowed to get into the final forty should any runner withdraw by noon on the eve of the race. The rule was not required this year as less than forty declared to run. A ruling was also introduced banning the practice of running a Grand National and any other race in the three day meeting. This brought to an end the practice of horses running over the National course on the Thursday or Friday before running in the National on Saturday, although by 1999 such instances had become very rare.[8]


Winning jockey Paul Carberry told reporters after the race "'I thought he had a good chance when the ground dried up. I got a good start and was handy the whole way. I was able to get a breather into him whenever I wanted. He jumped very well and I sat as long as I could. Going towards the second last Adrian (Maguire, on Addington Boy) came in a bit, so I switched to the outside. I knew he would quicken and quicken. I got a great jump at the last, and from the elbow I didn't look back. I knew that he would keep going and nothing would get to him. It's a great feeling, but it'll take a while to sink in."

Second jockey Lorcan Wyre said "Down at the start he {Blue Charm} was whipping round a bit, and I thought we might even fall at the first. He gave me a tremendous ride but didn't quite see it out at the end."

Tony McCoy was stood down by the doctor after the race suffering from bruised ribs but none of the riders required hospital treatment.


The BBC retained the rights to broadcast the entire Grand National meeting live on BBC1 for the fortieth consecutive year culminating with a Grandstand Grand National special on the Saturday, hosted for the final time by Des Lynam, who moved to rival broadcaster ITV before the end of the year.

The commentary team for the second consecutive year consisted of John Hanmer, Tony O'Heir and Jim McGrath the latter of whom was calling home the winner for the second time. [9]

Racing UK broadcast the race into betting shops and sports social clubs across the United Kingdom with commentary taken from the Race course itself. Graham Goode called the winner home. "Come down towards the final fence. On the oustide on the left as we look at them, here comes Call it a day. On the inside, Blue Charm, Addington Boy, Brave Highlander and Bobbyjo isn't out of it either. That's on the wide outside as they come inside the final furlong now. And it's gonna be Ireland! It's Bobbyjo, pressing hard, Blue Charm on the inside. Call It A Day and Addington Boy. They come to the elbow and it's the well backed Bobbyjo, the Irish National winner and the Carberry family in full flight here. As Bobbyjo comes storming away with the 1999 Martell National. As they race up towards the line. Bobbyjo, Paul Carberry in his fifth National ride. He looks round. It's a salute. It's triumphant. It's Bobbyjo to a very close second place, Blue Charm and Call It A Day, then Addington Boy."

Television pictures were broadcast from fixed cameras situated at Becher's Brook, The Canal Turn, Anchor Bridge Crossing and the Grandstand, as well as a tracking cam fixed to the roof of a car travelling alongside the runners. Additional cameras also covered the race from a helicopter, inside fences and from the perspective of the riders through cameras in the caps of Briand Harding and Stephen Wynne. [10] These additional pictures were not used in the original broadcast of the race but were used during a detailed replay of the race in which Richard Pitman advised viewers what happened to their horse.


  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sport/316383.stm |title=Bobbyjo wins the National |publisher=BBC News |date=1999-04-10 |accessdate=2010-06-23}}
  2. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/racing-facts-support-hendersons-national-case-1085899.html Facts support Henderson's case. Independent newspaper article April 8th 1999
  3. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/racing-call-it-a-day-is-of-national-interest-1082531.html Call it a day is of National interest. Independent newspaper article March 23rd 1999
  4. http://www.grand-national-world.co.uk/gnw/the_race/1988_to_date/1999gnat/1999gnindex.html Grand National World 1999 Preview
  5. http://www.grand-national-world.co.uk/gnw/the_race/1988_to_date/1999gnat/intheframe.html Grand National World Horses in the frame review
  6. http://www.tbheritage.com/HistoricSires/JumpSires/JSimag/bobbyjo.html T B Heritage review of Bobbyjo
  7. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2010/feb/18/grand-national-betting-tricky-trickster Guardian article Tricky Trickster Record of seven year olds February 18 2010
  8. http://www.freewebs.com/grandnationalanorak/nationalchanges.htm Changes to Grand National conditions
  9. http://grandnationalanorak.webs.com/thebbc.htm Grand National commentary teams since 1960
  10. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/horse_racing/7329031.stm BBC jockey cam of Stephen Wynne


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