Bob Davies was an incredibly talented jockey during his time in the saddle, though that didn’t translate to a large number of Grand National opportunities for him. He rode in the race just seven times in total and only actually completed the course three times from those.
Those three resulted in a win and a second place, so despite few opportunities, Davies did have success in the race. The win came on Lucius, who won the 1978 edition of the famous race by half a length, trained by Gordon Richards.
Born in 1946, Davies rode a very impressive 912 winners during his racing career, and as part of that, he won the jockey’s championship a total of three times, twice on his own and once shared with another rider.
Bob Davies Grand National Wins
- 1978 - Lucius trained by Gordon W Richards
|1982||Royal Mail (2)||Fence 6 - Fell||-||Stan Mellor|
|1980||The Vintner||Fence 17 - Pulled Up||-||M P Naughton|
|1978||Lucius||1||£29,148||Gordon W Richards|
|1977||Duffle Coat||Fence 1 - Fell||-||Michael Frederick David Morley|
|1973||Prophecy||8||-||David Hawken Barons|
|1968||Beecham||Fence 3 - Fell||-||David Hawken Barons|
Winning The 1978 Grand National On Lucius
The Grand National success for Bob Davies came in the most bizarre fashion. He was never supposed to have a ride in the race, but after an injury to another jockey, David Goulding, Davies was called up as an emergency ride by trainer Gordon Richards.
The moment that Davies got on board Lucius in the Aintree parade ring was the very first time he had sat on the horse. There was no doubting how good Davies was in the saddle, but there is always an adjustment period for jockeys on new horses, regardless of their talents.
In the opening part of the race, Davies was clearly cautious on his mount, not wanting to really put him in the race, it was more a case of surviving and seeing where they were later on. The answer was still in contention and travelling well, halfway round on the second circuit, and Davies began to really put Lucius into the contest.
With good ground on the day and what was a relatively even gallop, there were plenty of runners still left in the contest, and quite a few of them believed they could win. Lucius was one of them, and over the last, he was still in with a shout of winning. The field was now narrowed down to five runners, and as they approached the elbow on the run in, any of the five could still win.
Sebastian V was finishing fast, a guaranteed stayer, as was Drumroan, but neither were finishing fast enough to get to Lucius, with Bob Davies kicking him clear and driving him all the way to the line.
This was the only time that Davies would win the Grand National, though he did come close to winning the race again just a year later. With Lucius not running, he was booked to ride Zongalero in 1979 for Nicky Henderson. After a great ride around Aintree and clearly confidence from winning the year before, Davies managed to finish second on his mount, adding to his win a year earlier.
Three-Time Jockey’s Championship Winner
In terms of a single race win, the Grand National is certainly the biggest victory of Bob Davies’ career, but he also had some great seasons too, where he won the jockeys championship.
This began with sharing the title, this came in the 1968/69 season, he rode 77 winners and shared the title with Terry Biddlecombe, who rode the same number of winners.
After that, a further two victories came for Davies, and this time around, he was able to get them both done as the standout winner, clear of anyone else. He won in the 1969/70 season and the 1971/72 season, to give him three titles in total, part of what was a really excellent riding career.