The 1993 Grand National was described by Peter O’Sullevan as the, “greatest disaster in British National history” after the second false start was not seen or heard and caused the race to be voided.
In a very bizarre race where the starting tape got wrapped around Richard Dunwoody’s neck and another horse’s legs, the race was voided to the outrage of everybody.
The race was already disrupted by an earlier false start and animal right’s protesters. They littered around the track waving flags and making a nuisance of themselves. This was why so many jockeys did not stop when they saw officials waving flags; they thought they were animal rights protesters.
Others, like John White, said that, “I could see there were only a few horses around, but I thought the others had fallen or something.” A fair argument although they would have had to pass at least nine horses who were waiting for another restart.
The ‘race that never happened’ was won by 50-1 Esha Ness. Trained by Jenny Pittman, she was outraged to realise that, “this is no Grand National, even though we have won it.”
Not only did Esha Ness win the race, he did it in a record time of 9 minutes and 1.4 seconds. An incredible effort for no reward.
Richard Pittman originally stated on television that any horse that did jump the first fence should be able to restart; about 9 horses this would have been. However, the Jockey’s Club was forced to void the race after so many jockeys had finished the race.
The bookmakers were also hit very harshly by the voided race. These big events are worth so much to them, yet in 1993 they had to repay over £75 million due to bets that were placed and had to be returned. I feel sorry for the punters who bet on Esha Ness; especially if they bet around £50.
The real issue here was due to the false start being waved 100 yards behind the horses. This does not give any of the jockeys a chance to know that a false start has occurred. I am little unsure of the logic behind positioning the flag there.
The crowd were particularly angry, as expected. They shouted at the jockeys to get them to stop and even booed the ones that finished. With 300 million people watching on television, the 1993 Grand National was defined as one of the most infamous disasters of British sport.
Starting Price: 50/1
Age: 10 years
Owner: Mr. P. Bancroft
Jockey: John White
Weight Carried: 10 st.
Runners: 39/ 7
3rd: Romany King
4th: The Committee