Aintree racecourse 1993. The Grand National that never was. What happened next was as unprecedented, as it was unexpected. The starter gestured the horses to form a line, and get ready to race. There was a lot of tension as jockeys vied for position on their mounts, and to a chorus of groans the runners were called back, after some horses had stolen a march.

For the second time they converged, as the starter Keith Brown ushered them towards the tape. Again they charged forward and this time, despite the starter’s pleas, there was no stopping the cavalry as thirty of the thirty-nine starters, thundered across the Melling road.

At the end of the race and amid great confusion, famous horse racing commentator famous Peter O’Sullevan declared, as the winner passed the post, “Esha Ness wins the National that surely isn’t.”

The legendary O’Sullevan would be proved right, as the race result was not upheld. Despite clocking the second fastest time in the great old races history, 50/1 shot Esha Ness and jockey John White were destined to make history of a different kind!
Punters who had waged almost 75 million were refunded their money, as for the first time in the famous race’s history, the result was declared void. It would not be staged again that year, so it meant there was no winner in 1993.

Whatever the reasons for the astonishing turn of events the 1993 Grand National, the following year’s renewal, would attract an even greater level of publicity than ever before, and as ever at Aintree, it certainly didn’t disappoint, with an Irish-bred horse taking centre stage.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own