Which trainer and jockey combination was placed in seven consecutive renewals of the Grand National?
Despite numerous safety improvements down the years, the Grand National at Aintree can still, justifiably, be called ‘the ultimate test for horse and rider’. Indeed, many jockeys and trainers spend their whole careers attempting to win, or at least be placed in, the celebrated steeplechase. Of course, some jockeys and trainers are luckier than others, but to be placed in seven consecutive renewals, with three different horses, is no mean feat. That was the achievement of Vale of Glamorgan trainer Evan Williams and his erstwhile – now retired – stable jockey between 2009 and 2014 inclusive.
Interestingly, all three horses carried the blue and pink colours of Worcestershire owners Mr. & Mrs. William Rucker. State Of Play started the extraordinary run of good fortune for his connections by finishing fourth in 2009, third in 2010 and fourth again in 2011. Next into the Aintree unsaddling enclosure was Cappa Bleu, who finished fourth behind Neptune Collonges in 2012 and went one better when third behind Auroras Encore in 2013. Finally, completing the unlikely septet came Alvarado, who filled fourth place behind Pineau De Re in 2014 and occupied the same position behind Many Clouds in 2015.