Mr. Frisk may have been hard pressed to win the 1990 Grand National, eventually holding on by just three-quarters of a length from the luckless Durham Edition but, in so doing, set a record time that will never be beaten. At least, not unless Pegasus exists beyond the realms of Greek mythology and is fully effective over 4 miles 2 furlongs and 7 yards – the official distance of the Grand National since 2016 – on rain-softened ground.
Mr. Frisk clocked his record time, of 8 minutes 47.80 seconds, on going officially described as “firm” but, since 2012, the National Course has been routinely watered so that the going is never, nor will be again, faster than “good to soft”. So, even with the distance of the Grand National reduced by half a furlong, following a change to the position of the start, for safety purposes, in 2013, his triumph will almost certainly never be repeated. In fact, the fastest time since 1990 was the 8 minutes 56.80 seconds recorded by Many Clouds in 2015.
Owned by Lois Duffey, trained by Kim Bailey and ridden by Marcus Armytage – the last amateur rider to win the Grand National – Mr. Frisk chased the leaders for the first two-and-a-quarter-mile circuit and, having moved into second place at halfway, was left in front when erstwhile leader Uncle Merlin blundered and unseated his rider at Becher’s Brook second time around. Thereafter, he didn’t see another horse and, although closed down on the run-in, had just enough left in reserve to deny trainer Arthur Stephenson a National winner on his seventieth birthday. Rinus finish third, although 20 lengths behind the front pair.