West Tip, owned by Peter Luff and trained by Michael Oliver, ran in the Grand National six times, winning once, in 1986, and finishing in the first four on three other occasions. Having won what is now the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 1985, the son of Gala Performance was sent off joint favourite for the Grand National and was in the lead when crumpling on landing at Becher’s Brook and parting company with a then 21-year-old Richard Dunwoody. Nevertheless, the partnership returned to Aintree in 1986 and West Tip, who started outright favourite, made amends for his previous faux pas, mastering Young Driver on the run-in to win by 2 lengths.


West Tip ran in the Grand National for the next four years running, finishing fourth behind Maori Venture in 1987 and occupying the same position behind Rhyme ‘N’ Reason in 1988, before finishing second, as a 12-year-old, to Little Polveir in 1989. On his last appearance in the National, in 1990, West Tip was ridden by Philip Hobbs, with Richard Dunwoody preferring the well-fancied Bigsun, on whom he put up 2lb overweight. Bigsun finished a well-beaten sixth behind the winner, Mr. Frisk, with West Tip even further behind in tenth.


West Tip made his final racecourse appearance, aged 14, in the Christies Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in March 1991. After a happy retirement, West Tip died in 2001 at the age of 24. Richard Dunwoody said of him, “I owe him an awful lot; no other horse contributed to my career like he did.”

Leave a Comment