Seagram Grand National Wins
- 1991 - ridden by Nigel Hawke trained by David Hawken Barons
If ever there was a horse winning the right race on the right day, perhaps Seagram’s win in the 1991 Grand National is one worthy of nomination. A dramatic final few yards saw the New Zealand bred runner come out on top by five lengths, landing a win for many punters, who latched onto his name and broke the hearts of those wanting to see history made on the day.
Foaled in 1980, Seagram would run in the Grand National twice, winning his first attempt and then pulling up at the 27th fence a year later. Trained by David Barons, Seagram was a mainstay in many top-quality staying chase events and certainly looked capable of being a horse who could ultimately end up being a National contender.
He went better than that and became a Grand National winner, as well as having plenty more success.
|1992||Fence 27 - Pulled Up||-||11-4||Nigel Hawke||David Hawken Barons|
|1991||1||£90,970||10-6||Nigel Hawke||David Hawken Barons|
Winner Of The 1991 Grand National
Seagram first ran in the Grand National in 1991. He was ridden by Nigel Hawke, who was one of 14 riders that were having their first attempt in the race, and it was a lucky start for the pair as they came out on top. The winning distance was five lengths, but that only tells half of the story here, in particular, what happened from the final fence to the winning line, which we will get to shortly.
Seagram was spoken about before the race, not for his form but for his name. The Grand National had a title sponsor, and by complete coincidence, this was Seagram, a Canadian distillery company, so many people backed the horse simply because he had the same name as the race sponsor.
He wasn’t the only runner spoken about before, though, there was a lot of talk about Garrison Savannah, who would eventually finish second. He was trying to complete a considerable double, coming here on the back of a Cheltenham Gold Cup win in March, trying to be the second horse to win these in the same year, the first for half a century.
It is for this reason that many see Seagram not only as a winner but as a winner that spoilt the party for a horse that was fancied. The way the ending played out certainly fed into this narrative too. Yes, in theory, it did happen, but don’t let that take anything away from the performance that Seagram put up.
Going to the final fence, Garrison Savannah was three lengths clear, and the big race double looked to be on. He jumped well and kicked clear again, the lead was five lengths on the run in, the big race double appeared to be in the bag.
Then came the drama. All of a sudden, Garrison Savannah almost stopped, he struggled with the weight on his back at the end of the race and finished in slow motion. This gave Seagram the chance, and it was one he took. From five lengths behind, he joined Garrison Savannah and then kicked clear to go and not only overturn the deficit but to actually win the race by five lengths.
From seemingly having no chance of winning the race, thanks to being a better stayer and taking advantage of Garrison Savannah not getting home, Seagram was the winner of the 1991 Grand National.
A Win for Coincidence Backers
As mentioned, the name Seagram was shared by both the sponsors of the Grand National and the winning horse. With an SP of 12/1 and some fancied horses ahead of him in the betting, you could be forgiven for thinking that this horse wasn’t a strong choice with punters.
However, given the race involved, that is certainly not the case. Many people look at the Grand National and try to pick out coincidence bets, names that mean something and other options when they are looking for horses to follow.
Those who looked closely enough will have seen the name race, with the Seagram sponsorship deal, and then seen the horse, enough for many to have chosen to bet on this runner. Those that did the work were undoubtedly rewarded, with a win in a dramatic finish and nice double-figure odds for their bets.
Seagram’s Early Years
Seagram began early life running over hurdles and chase fences, having some early success at a low level and slowly working his way through the rankings. Initially, the horse was seen over two miles and slightly longer, but it soon became apparent that he needed further, and it wasn’t too long until we saw him running over three miles.
He wasn’t winning big events as a young horse but was winning prolifically and slowly moving up the weights, which enabled him to get into a better quality of race, which is where he would end up for the main part of his career.
Seagram’s Big Race Wins
Seagram was not a prolific big race winner and won just two races which you can consider to be a big race, and they both came within just three weeks.
The Grand National success of 1991 was the biggest, but three weeks earlier, Seagram also won at the Cheltenham Festival. It wasn’t one of the premier events, but every race at Cheltenham is strong, he won the National Hunt Chase, which is a race over more than three miles, a true staying event and one you would expect to see Grand National horses do well in.
That race set him up perfectly for the Grand National, and he came good once more. The way in which he won the race was as dramatic as you will see for a race that has a winning distance of five lengths, and you have to credit the heart and battling qualities of both the horse and jockey for not giving up.
Seagram would go on to run in the Grand National again, without success, and not win any further big races he ran in, leaving the 1991 Grand National as his biggest day.