Tim Forster

Tim Forster The late Tim Forster OBE – almost invariably known as “Captain Tim Forster” in racing circles – was a renowned pessimist. When asked for advice on how to ride Ben Nevis in the 1980 Grand National, he famously told American amateur rider Charlie Fenwick Jnr. “Keep remounting”. Despite his misgivings, Ben Nevis was left clear by the fall of Delmoss at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit and made the best of his way home to win by 20 lengths at grand national race odds of 40/1.

Forster had already trained one National winner, Well To Do in 1972, and in so doing become the first owner-trainer to win the iconic steeplechase since World War II. His third, and final, win in the National came courtesy of 50/1 outsider Last Suspect, owned by Anne, Duchess of Westminster and ridden by Hywel Davies, who put up 3lb overweight. Hardly the most resolute steeplechaser in training, Last Suspect only lined up at all because of the persistence of his jockey but, despite fiercely swishing his tail – a tell-tale sign of irritation – came with a withering run to overhaul the leader, Mr. Snugfit, in the shadow of the post and win by 1½ lengths.

Thus, Tim Forster became one of a select band of seven trainers to have won the Grand National three times. Honoured as the “last of the old-school trainers”, Forster died in 1999, at the age of 65, from cancer of the bone marrow, but was nominated for the Grand National Hall of Fame at Aintree Racecourse in 2013.

Grand National 2021? Yes Please

Grand National 2021? Yes Please If ever there was a year that was better best forgotten it just has to be 2020. Who amongst us doesn’t want to slam the door shut on this unexpected horror show of a year? Businesses closed, elderly and vulnerable shielding, hospitals spilling over, boozers turned into ghost towns, the list goes on. The only saving grace in all of this, is that I don’t have to see the mother-in-law for a few months, but still…

The cruelest twist of fate had to be the temporarily (though it seemed to go on forever) disappearance of competitive sport from our TV screens. Thankfully we did get to drink in the ever enthralling Cheltenham Festival, but directly after that it was lights out across the sporting world. Having the 2020 Grand National replaced by a virtual version was a bitter pill to swallow for many racing fans. To this day I think they should’ve gone ahead with the real deal (just without the crowds). It’s such a shame as many punters were practically already on the edge of their seats wondering whether Tiger Rolls was going to make it three in a row for trainer Gordon Elliot.  Of course now we’ll never know, but on the plus side we may well still know in 2021, so as they say, the best things come to those who wait. Many will of course be keeping an eye on sites like grand-national.uk (<- if owner, email me) in order to avoid missing out on the latest Grand National news, tips and free bet offers. Who can blame them!

So what does the Grand National 2021 have in store for us? Good question. First and foremost it will bring the nation together for a rare moment of sporting unity. Whether a professional gambler or casual punter we’ll all pause to appreciate this, the pinnacle of National Hunt racing. It may well be that the crowds are not on the course (time will tell!), but still, office sweepstakes and having a punt on a horse because it has the same name as your Nan will all be top of the agenda. And who are the bookmakers favouring to take the aintree Grand National crown in 2021? Well, it’s perhaps a little too early to say, but Tiger Roll is once again currently in the mix (20-1 with several bookies) , and several others such as Presenting Percy, Jett and the one and only Burrows Saint are also up there too. Considering what this year hold, at minimum the Grand National 2021 will by default almost, be a race to remember.