Comply or Die

Horses | Last ran in 2011
Dam - Madam Madcap
Sire - Old Vic
Dam's Sire - Furry Glen
Born - 1999

Comply or Die Grand National Wins

  • 2008 - ridden by Timmy Murphy trained by David Pipe
Comply or Die 2008 in parade ring
Dan Heap, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A real Grand National legend, running four times in the race, winning it once and also finishing second a year later when trying to defend his crown. Comply Or Die was the typical National horse, a great jumper, strong stayer and at the end of his races, he had the ability to dig deep and find another gear, which ultimately took him to success.

Foaled on May 11th, 1999, Comply Or Die had won a Grade 2 Chase and shown his credentials as a staying chaser when Martin Pipe decided to end his training career, and his son David took over. Comply Or Die was a real flag-bearer for David Pipe in the early days, taking his career forward.

In 2008, the horse gave Pipe the biggest day of his career at that point, winning the big race at Aintree. It must have been a great relief, showing he could be on the biggest stage, just like his dad. The first is always special, but given the timing of it when David was just getting his career started, it was no doubt even more special.

Full Results

Year Result Prize Money Handicap Jockey Trainer
2011 Fence 28 - Pulled Up - 10-8 Timmy Murphy David Pipe
2010 12 - 10-5 Timmy Murphy David Pipe
2009 2 £190,980 11-6 Timmy Murphy David Pipe
2008 1 £450,640 10-9 Timmy Murphy David Pipe

Winner Of The 2008 Grand National

One element of the win in 2008 for Comply Or Die and the David Pipe team will forever be linked with the race, and that is the confidence they had in the horse. We not only saw that in the betting, where he was strongly backed throughout the day to eventually be sent off as 7/1 joint-favourite, but we have also heard the story from jockey Timmy Murphy.

When speaking about the race afterwards, Murphy told the world that David Pipe had said to him in the build-up to the race that Comply Or Die was simply a certainty to win. We all know that trainers can be bullish from time to time, but in big races such as the Grand National, that is simply something that doesn’t happen. Given the luck you need to win the race, as well as the class, it shows just what Pipe thought of his runner.

In the end, it turns out he was undoubtedly right because the horse won like a certainty, travelling beautifully throughout, jumping every fence in grand style, and having the power to kick clear and win the race at the end. Everyone involved with the race was winning it for the first time, David Pipe, in his second year as a trainer, it was the 11th attempt for Timmy Murphy and the 21st attempt for owner David Johnson.

Jumping in the lead at the final fence, Comply Or Die relished the challenge of getting home after the final flight and stayed on the best of any runner. He came away from the field and maintained his gap to eventually win the race by four lengths, ahead of King John’s Castle, who finished second.

Further Grand National Attempts

Comply Or Die would go on to run a total of four times in the Grand National, which really helped to cement his legacy in the race. When watching him win in 2008, it was clear that this was the type of race for him and that, assuming fitness would allow, he would be back.

In 2009, he finished second when trying to defend his title, going down fighting behind Mon Mome but unable to get close enough with a lot more weight on his back. A year later, he finished  12th and then in 2011, he was pulled up in the race, and after that run, he was immediately retired by owner David Johnson.

Four runs in total, three good runs, and a first and second placed finish as part of those, showing what an incredibly tough horse, this was.

Comply Or Die’s Early Years

Comply Or Die started life under Martin Pipe before he retired from the sport, and he made his mark in those early years before David Pipe took over control of the yard. Under Martin, he started under hurdles and won three out of five starts, and finished fourth at the Cheltenham Festival.

He then went over fences, winning a Grade 2, finishing second in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and then running in the Scottish Grand National as a novice, where he was pulled up after being sent off the 4/1 favourite.

He finished fourth in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury and was pulled up in the Welsh Grand National to round off his time under Martin Pipe, so even in the early part of his career, he was already a staying chaser.

Comply Or Die’s Big Race Wins

Comply Or Die won a total of eight times in his career, with the Grand National win in 2008 being the biggest of those. The second most significant win of his career came in the race before that victory when he went to Newcastle and won the Eidur Chase. This is a strong staying handicap over more than four miles, the ideal test to get ready for the Grand National and Comply Or Die won it by eight lengths.

Elsewhere he won a Grade 2 novice chase at Wincanton and a Class 2 novice chase at Cheltenham to round off the big wins this horse had. He ran in many better races but failed to win those, but his record does include placing twice at the Cheltenham Festival and in the Hennessy Gold Cup.