My co-author Richard Pitman was involved at the very sharp end of what many view as the greatest ever finish to The Grand National. It happened in 1973 when Richard rode the giant black Australian steeplechaser, Crisp.
Crisp was the two-mile champion in England and had never been tried over the four-and-a-half miles of the National. He was burdened with 12 stones (a weight no longer allowed in British steeplechases) and was carrying 23lbs more than Red Rum. For those unfamiliar with the outcome of the race, it’s best heard direct from Richard. In the 40th anniversary year we sat down outside Uplands, the yard of the famous Fred Winter who trained Crisp. Richard told me all about the experience of his life.
Just a note for watching the video: Crisp does not come properly into view until the shot changes to head-on and you see the grey horse on the left just leading him at that time – Crisp is the horse on the right, the inside. As the video progresses you see him drawing farther and farther away. It’s impossible to convey the enormity of his achievement, especially back then before the modern and substantial modification of a number of the toughest fences and the shortening of the race.