Ben Nevis was one who stands against my recommended Grand National Betting System, in that he was aged twelve, he also took victory for the Stars and Stripes as the horse was American owned, and ridden!
Much like Red Marauder’s victory 21 years later the going was bottomless, and from thirty starters only four would finish. As to be expected in such slow going the Camiri – Ben Trumiss horse won in a relatively slow time of ten minutes seventeen seconds.
Ben Nevis had started his career inauspiciously as a Yorkshire point to pointer, managing one win and two falls from his first three outings. He was then scooped up by an American horseman called Redman C Stewart Jnr (what a great name!) who took the horse to the States where it trained on to win a host of major jumps races, including the Maryland Hunt Cup on two occasions.
Once more Ben Nevis was sent over the Atlantic, and once again showed a disliking to something in the British Isles by failing to record a single victory in the dozen races of his Grand National training campaign! Despite this run of poor form he had started a fancied 14/1 for the 1979 National (going it favoured), but was put out of the race in traffic at the Chair.
One year later he lined up for the 1980 National having suffered from the cough in the days running up to the race, aged 12 and only lowered 4lb in the handicap on the ’79 weights, things did not look good and the layers made his Grand National betting price 40/1!
After the race the trainer reported he would not have ran the horse, but for all the supporters flying over from America. However no-one told Ben Nevis that he wasn’t fancied, it picked the running up on the second circuit, dealt well with the heavy going and took the race by a decent margin.
Racing historians should note that John Francome was second on Rough and Tumble, as close in the placing’s as the Champion Jockey ever got to taking the Grand National. Ben Nevis retired to live a life of leisure back in the sunshine of Maryland!
Starting Price: 40/1
Age: 12 years
Winning Distance: 20 lengths
Owner: R. C. Stewart, Jr.
Jockey:Mr Charlie Fenwick
Weight Carried: 10st 12lbs
2nd: Rough and Tumble
3rd: The Pilgarlic