Miinnehoma Grand National Wins
- 1994 - ridden by Richard Dunwoody trained by Martin Pipe
When you look back over the years at various Grand National winners, some of them stand out, and they do so for very different reasons. Miinnehoma is one of those to stand out, and the reason he does is because of his connection to Liverpool.
Owned by local comedian Freddie Starr, there was a huge amount of warmth around when Miinnehoma won the 1994 Grand National in what were terrible conditions on the day. That didn’t stop the whole of Liverpool celebrating his win on home soil, with own Starr playing a big part in celebrations.
Foaled in 1983, this horse was the first and only Grand National win for legendary trainer Martin Pipe, which will come as a surprise to those who didn’t know he only had one National winner. Known for his handicap plots, in many ways, his training style was perfect for this race, but that didn’t repay him with more than one success in the race.
|Fence 21 - Pulled Up
Winner Of The 1994 Grand National
Miinnehoma won the Grand National in terrible conditions, with the race playing out as survival of the fittest in many ways. Just six runners managed to complete the course, the front two were miles clear of the remaining runners and battled it out up the run in, in what looked like a slow-motion finish, with Miinnehoma getting the better of Just So, who was one and a quarter lengths back in second.
More than 20 lengths separated the second and third, with the same again separating third and fourth, if a result told you about race conditions, then it is pretty clear how bad it was here given the result.
There was a big gamble on the day, which saw Moorcroft Boy be backed down to 5/1 favourite, carrying the support of many punters. His form chance was clear, winning the Warwick National in January and then finishing second to Master Oats in the Greenhalls Gold Cup in February, his chance was there for all to see. Despite those excellent runs, the handicapper allotted him bottom-weight, which was a surprise, but further enhanced his chances of a win.
Despite good support, especially on track due to the local connection, Miinnehoma was sent off a 16/1 chance, which seems crazy when you look back. Still, with so much of the market being dominated by Moorcroft Boy, something had to give.
In the race, Miinnehoma was travelling very well and towards the head of the race until a catastrophic blunder at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit. Jockey Richard Dunwoody managed to stay on the horse, keeping the partnership together, and that proved to be a key moment, one that Dunwoody deserves a ton of credit for.
After that, the momentum was lost, but Miinnehoma managed to stay in the race. At the final fence, he jumped in second play, behind the well fancied Moorcroft Boy. However, at this moment, the favourite broke a blood vessel and faded quickly, leaving Miinnehoma in the lead and Just So chasing him down. The race was between this pair, they were giving it their all after four miles in dreadful conditions and, coming up the run-in, looked to be going in slow motion.
A battling performance from the horse, and excellent jockeyship from Dunwood, led Miinnehoma to the winning line in first place.
In 1995, a year on from his success, Miinnehoma returned to Aintree in a bid to win the race again, but with different conditions and more weight on his back, the horse was pulled up at fence 21.
Miinnehoma’s Early Years
Miinnehoma started his racing carer with a big priced win, landing a national hunt flat race at 25/1. This was one of three runs with the Owen Brennan yard before being moved to Martin Pipe, where he would stay for the remainder of his career.
He started life brilliantly with Pipe, winning four races in a row, and seven of his first eight starts, moving quickly through the ranks. His first wins were in regular novice hurdles, but his final win of those seven was when he hit the big time, winning at the Cheltenham Festival.
Miinnehoma’s Big Race Wins
The first of Miinnehoma’s big race wins was in March of 1992. He went to the Cheltenham Festival and won the Sun Alliance Chase, a three mile chase for novice horses. After the injury, he’d run just twice over fences, winning both of them, so it was a gamble to throw him into such a big event with so little experience, but as the 7/2 favourite, confidence was clearly high, and the horse won by half a length.
His next big win would be the biggest of all, the 1994 Grand National. He finished 7th in the Gold Cup as his prep run for the race but clearly needed a tougher test of stamina, something he got at Aintree. Things could not have gone better for him on the day, with heavy ground going against many of his rivals and turning the race into even more of a staying test, precisely what he wanted.
It wasn’t the last big win of this horse’s career. Off for almost a year afterwards due to injury, the race was on to get Miinnehoma back for the Grand National a year later. To start the preparations for that, he was sent to the Grade 2 Newton Chase at Haydock. Despite a big rise in the weights and the fact he had been off for almost a year, Miinnehoma was as good as ever that day. He destroyed the field against him, winning the race by 20 lengths, which would set him up nicely for the Grand National.
Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, but in between, we did see him put up another excellent run, this time in the Gold Cup, where he finished third behind Master Oats. The win at Haydock would be a final trip to the winner’s enclosure for Miinnehoma, winner of the 1994 Grand National.