Bobbyjo Grand National Wins
- 1999 - ridden by Paul Carberry trained by Thomas Carberry
Winner of the Grand National in 1999, Bobbyjo was the horse to end a run of no Irish winners in the race. Prior to this, they had not won the race for 24 years, which is remarkable given the number of runners they send and the quality of their horses and trainers.
It took a father and son combination to break the deadlock, with father Tommy Carberry training the winner and his son Paul Carberry doing the riding. They won with ease, too, coming away from the field to record a winning distance of 10 lengths, not only did the Irish finally get a winner, but they got one in style.
Foaled on May 5th, 1990, he ran in the Grand National twice, winning his first and then returning a year later, when he could only finish 11th under the same Carberry duo.
Alongside winning the Aintree Grand National, Bobbyjo also claimed the Irish National, a win that came a year before his Aintree win and that set him up for the big Grand National push.
|2000||11||-||11-6||Paul Carberry||Thomas Carberry|
|1999||1||£242,600||10-00||Paul Carberry||Thomas Carberry|
Winner Of The 1999 Grand National
The 1999 Grand National didn’t really have the same hustle and bustle we are used to, as just 32 runners went to post for the race, so the field was down by almost a quarter. A 10/1 chance, there was plenty of optimism ahead of the race that Bobbyjo would go close, despite the fact that the Irish hadn’t won the race for so long.
Much of that went back to the Irish Grand National win, a race where Bobbyjo would beat Papillon, who won the Grand National in 2000, so it was certainly a strong indicator for this race, providing two future Aintree winners.
On the day, Bobbyjo showed his jumping ability and really took to the Aintree fences, jumping around with ease. Paul Carberry was sat pretty on his mount, and although there was many in with a chance on the second circuit, it was clear to see how well Carberry and Bobbyjo were going.
When it came to the finish, challengers quickly faded away, especially when the race moved on to the final fence. A huge jump from Bobbyjo and then the momentum to storm up the Aintree finish was enough for him to shoot away from his rivals, with Carberry kicking clear in great style.
In the end, the winning distance was ten lengths, a great jumping performance, a sign that this horse stays the trip very strongly, and a very impressive success that finally gave the Irish the winner they had been looking for.
A year later, Bobbyjo would return to Aintree for the 2000 Grand National, but he could only finish 11th in that contest, behind Papillon, who won the race. Unfortunately, the weight on the back of Bobbyjo proved his undoing, he was badly handicapped and never seemed to have a realistic chance of winning, despite being a previous winner.
The Bobbyjo Chase
A key race in Ireland was named after this Aintree Grand National winner in 2003. The Bobbyjo Chase takes place every February at Fairyhouse and is run over a distance of 3m1f. Crucially, this is a race that takes place after the Grand National weights have been released, which makes the race one of the biggest trials for the big one to take place in Ireland, as horses can run well here without penalty, and also have plenty of time to recover before Aintree in April.
The race held Grade Two status in the past but is now a Grade Three contest and is one where you will often see fancied National horses from Ireland head as they build up to Aintree. Given that the race is named after Bobbyjo, it shows just how popular he was as a horse and the legacy he has left on the Irish Grand National scene.
Bobbyjo’s Early Years
Bobbyjo didn’t get off to the best possible start with his racing career and really struggled. This was over much shorter distances than he needed, though, which certainly didn’t help.
It wasn’t until his 10th career race that Bobbyjo got his first win on the course, this came in a handicap hurdle at a low level over two and a half miles. Things got better when he went chasing, though, he won three of his first six starts over the bigger obstacles, showing this was going to be his future.
On top of that, he also finished second in a Grade One chase at Punchestown to really put himself into the picture for big races, which would eventually come.
Bobbyjo’s Big Race Wins
The first big race won by Bobbyjo was a Grade Three handicap at Fairyhouse, and five months later, he would return to the track and win the Irish Grand National, the first really big win of his career.
After that, things went quiet, but the horse was being trained with the Aintree Grand National in mind, so the stable wanted to keep a little bit back. He even went back over hurdles at one point, winning easily off a much lower handicap mark but not affecting his chase mark.
Then came the big one, his 1999 Aintree Grand National win, one that took him into the limelight of racing, an impressive ten-length win and one that was celebrated massively in Ireland, given their drought in the race.
That was the last time he would be in the winners enclosure, rounding off with the biggest win of his career being the last win he would have.