Corbiere

Horses | Last ran in 1987
Dam - Ballycashin
Sire - Harwell
Dam's Sire - Vulgan

Corbiere Grand National Wins

  • 1983 - ridden by Ben de Haan trained by Jenny Pitman

It is fair to say that in many people’s eyes, Corbiere is a bit of a Grand National legend. You can’t do too much more in the race than he has. He’s won the contest, which came in 1983, and he’s also placed twice in it, with third placed finishes in 1984 and 1985, before running in it a further twice, to take his total runs in the race to five.

There aren’t many that can match him, brilliantly looked after over a five-year period by trainer Jenny Pitman, getting to the race for five years in a row is a great training feat, regardless of his performances. Foaled in 1975, Corbiere was an eight-year-old when he ran in the race first and won, while his last race came as a 12-year-old.

Prior to winning the Grand National, Corbiere landed the 1982 Welsh National, a great trial for the big race and another win under his belt. Although he did that and won some other nice prizes, it is, of course, the Grand National that he is best known for.

Full Results

Year Result Prize Money Handicap Jockey Trainer
1987 12 - 10-00 Ben de Haan Jenny Pitman
1986 Fence 4 - Fell - 11-7 Ben de Haan Jenny Pitman
1985 3 £6,876 11-10 Peter Scudamore Jenny Pitman
1984 3 £6,936 12-00 Ben de Haan Jenny Pitman
1983 1 £39,483 11-4 Ben de Haan Jenny Pitman

Winner Of The 1983 Grand National

Jenny Pitman and Corbiere 1983Ground officially described as soft, though it was seen to be much heavier, was in place for the 1983 Grand National. Forty-one horses went to post, with just 10 of them managing to complete the course, showing how difficult it was to get around.

Corbiere was sent to the front, put in a prominent position from the start, and he kept up there for the entire race. Heading into the race, Corbiere was in great form, a win in the Welsh National was followed up by another win at Doncaster and a great second placed effort at the Cheltenham Festival. Stamina was proven, too, running over similar distances in the past, so there was little doubt that this horse would get home, something he used to his advantage.

After a strong start, which continued on the second circuit, those who were capable of challenging Corbiere were slowly beginning to fall away. Ben de Haan kicked for home with two fences to go and took a clear lead over his rivals. Two good jumps further added to that, and as he left the final flight in the distance, it looked as though Corbiere would go on to win the race nicely.

Up the home run, there was no failure but plenty of drama. Corbiere did manage to win the race, but Greasepaint emerged as a strong challenger from the elbow, and Corbiere needed to dig deep and find enough to keep ahead. For one moment, it looked as though he would be overpowered, but Corbiere eventually ran out as the winner by three quarters of a length.

The victory is all that will be remembered, but in the end, this was very close. Corbiere was tired at the end of the race, though the ground played a big part in that, but fair play to the horse for digging deep and keeping ahead.

Placed Efforts In 1984 and 1985

Corbiere jumping BeechersThe win was the highlight of Corbiere’s career, not just with the Grand National, but his success in the race kept on coming, though this time, he was placing in the race, not landing another win.

The first placed effort came in 1984, a year after his win when Corbiere was again ridding by Ben de Haan and would come third in the race. The horse who finished second behind Corbiere in 1983, Greasepaint, would again fall short, but this time finish in front of Corbiere by coming second, while the winner was Hallo Dandy.

Ground was good on the day, which didn’t give Corbiere the advantage that he had a year earlier, and on top of that, he was allotted top weight on 12 stone to carry, so a lot more on his back. The third placed effort was still a very credible run by the horse, who was still in his prime and had a clear love for Aintree racecourse and the Grand National.

A year later, in 1985, and Corbiere was back for more. This time he would have a different pilot on board, with Ben de Haan injured in the build-up, though the replacement was Peter Scudamore, so certainly not a bad one!

He was strong in the market for this race, mainly because people had begun to fall in love with the horse after recording a win and third placed finish in the past two renewals of the race. He had top weight again, so plenty on his back, but that didn’t stop him from putting together a strong round, performing well under such a big weight.

Sent off at 9/1, three fences from home, we had a similar story to the two previous years, Corbiere was in contention, and Greasepaint was chasing him. These two led at this stage, with Corbiere two lengths ahead, but things would eventually come to an end. Mr Snugfit came to challenge while Last Suspect was going well, and Corbiere was beginning to stay on again.

In the final 100 yards of the race, a dramatic ending saw Last Suspect come through and win the race, coming with a late charge that Corbiere couldn’t match, leaving him to finish third, with Mr Snugfit between them. Greasepaint would again finish behind Corbiere, he was fourth with another credible run.

This was the last time that Corbiere would place in the race, though he would go on to run a further two times in it. A year later, he was back for more in 1986, and Ben de Haan was back on board. However, the pairing didn’t get far this time around, falling at the fourth fence to bring a sudden end to their race.

A year later, in 1987, we would see Corbiere in the Grand National for the last time. He was a 12-year-old at this point and wasn’t expected to be involved in the finish. He did manage to complete this time but could only finish 12th in the race, and this would be the last we saw of him in the Grand National.

A genuine legend of the race, with five runs, one win and a further two places, a CV that stands up against the very best we have seen run in the Aintree showpiece.

Corbiere’s Big Race Wins

The Grand National provided the backdrop for Corbiere’s biggest day when he won the race in 1983. That was the biggest win of his career and came at a time when he was thriving, clearly in his prime.

The run began with another big race win for him, and that was the Welsh National at Chepstow. He won this in December 1982, the first time he really entered the picture as a genuine Grand National contender.

Further races would showcase his potential as a Grand National runner, one that could take part in the very best staying races on the calendar. However, he didn’t really add anything to his winning tally afterwards other than the Grand National.

He won by three quarters of a length that day, a win that looked as though it could have been by a bigger margin, but ultimately, the horse dug deep when needed to land his biggest success.