Which horse won the 1993 ‘Grand National that never was’?

The ‘Grand National that never was’ took place in 1993 and was so-called because, although seven horses completed the course, the result was subsequently declared void and the race was never re-run. Oblivious to a second false start, the majority of the 39-strong field set off on the first circuit of the National Course and, despite frantic efforts by all and sundry to stop the race, it was not until the sixteenth fence, the Water Jump, that many of the jockeys became aware that they had been recalled by the starter and pulled up.

Even so, fourteen horses headed out ‘into the country’ for a second time. They were eventually led home by Esha Ness, owned by Patrick Bancroft, trained by Jenny Pitman and ridden by John White, who was first past the post at odds of 50/1. Ironically, had the result been allowed to stand, Esha Ness would have recorded the second-fastest time in the history of the National. However, following what the late Sir Peter O’Sullevan called, ‘the greatest disaster in the history of the Grand National’, the race was nullified by the stewards and bookmakers were forced to refund tens of millions of pounds.

In horse racing what is a flag start?

In horse racing, a flag start is employed when it is impossible, for whatever reason, to use starting stalls or a starting tape. In emergency circumstances, including, but not limited to, starting equipment failure, less than the requisite number of stalls handlers being available or the ground being sufficiently soft to prevent the manoeuvre of starting stalls, any race may be started by flag, subject to approval by the starter or stewards. During a flag start, the starter mounts the starting rostrum and, when he wants the horses to walk forward, he signals to the jockeys by raising his flag. Horses in the front rank must only walk, or jig jog, until the starter lowers his flag, thereby effecting the start of the race.

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