Frederick Thomas “Fred” Winter CBE was a leading figure in British National Hunt racing for nearly four decades. Despite the fact that he “was not a natural steeplechase jockey”, at least not according to his brother, John, he rode 923 winners and became Champion Jockey four times. On his retirement from the saddle in 1964, Winter turned his attention to training and, in 24 seasons, saddled 1,557 winners and became Champion Trainer eight times. He also has the distinction of being the only man to have both ridden and trained two Grand National winners.
His first success in the National, as a jockey, came in 1957 aboard Sundew, trained by Frank Hudson. Sundew has run in the National in the two previous years, falling at the fourth last fence in 1955 and at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit, when ridden by Winter, in 1956. However, on their second attempt, Sundew and Winter made most of the running and drew away in the closing stages to win by 8 lengths.
Winter rode his second National winner, Kilmore, trained by Ryan Price in 1962. Ridden patiently, Kilmore made headway to chase the leader, Gay Navaree, at the fourth last fence. Winter produced the 12-year-old to lead jumping the final fence and he cleared away on the run-in to beat Wyndburgh – who, coincidentally, had also finished second to Sundew five years earlier – by 10 lengths.
Winter didn’t have to wait long to win the Grand National as a trainer. In fact, he did so at the first time of asking, with Jay Trump, ridden by American amateur rider Tommy Smith, in 1965. Amazingly, Winter won the National again in 1966, this time with Anglo, ridden by Tim Norman. The 50/1 chance jumped up into second place on the inside at Valentine’s Brook on the second circuit, took the measure of long-time leader Forest Prince jumping the last and strode right away to win by 20 lengths.
Winter later remarked on his good fortune, saying, “It was almost embarrassing standing in the winners’ enclosure again when you think of all the people who have been training horses for years and always had the luck go against them at Aintree.”