Notwithstanding his victory in the 2002 Grand National – which, of course, was a fabulous…
History records that Bindaree won the Grand National in 2002 to give Gloucestershire trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies his second win in the celebrated steeplechase after Earth Summit in 1998. However, Twiston-Davies, who had reportedly been left with ‘a bigger debt than Argentina’ after buying out former business Peter Scudamore and was experiencing a less-than-stellar campaign in 2001/02, revealed afterwards that he had intended to retire if Bindaree had not won.
In any event, ridden by Jim Culloty, Bindaree took the lead at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit and, although carried wide by a loose horse – ironically, his better-fancied stable companion, Beau – at the Canal Turn, maintained that lead until the final fence. At that point, he was headed by the well-fancied What’s Up Boys, ridden by Richard Johnson, who took a three-length lead, despite edging right, on the run-in. However, switched to the inside at the famous ‘Elbow’, Bindaree rallied to good effect in the closing stages, regaining the lead inside the final hundred yards to win by 1¾ lengths at odds of 20/1. In so doing, he made Jim Culloty one of a small, select band of jockeys to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season.
Twiston-Davies remained unconvinced regarding his future, although he did concede, ‘now that I have won the National again, I may keep a few boxes here at the house.’ Years later, he reflected on his second National success, saying, ‘He [Bindaree] is the horse who stopped me from retiring, and none of all this would be happening now if it weren’t for him.’