A man whose career was really set by the success he had aboard two horses. Jim Culloty rode many winners during his time as a jockey, but when you think of his name, you instantly think of Best Mate and Bindaree.
The latter named was trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and won the Grand National in 2002, with Culloty on board. This was his first Grand National success at the fourth attempt, while the jockey would go on to ride three more times in the race without success.
Born on December 18, 1973, Culloty was fortunate enough to experience winning the greatest two races in National Hunt horse racing, the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup. Not only that, but he managed to win both of those races in the same season, less than a month apart, to really put himself in the spotlight, not only in racing but in mainstream sport.
Jim Culloty Grand National Wins
- 2002 - Bindaree trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
|2005||Nil Desperandum||6||£10,500||Frances Crowley|
|2004||Just in Debt||Fence 23 - Unseated Rider||-||Martin Todhunter|
|2003||Maximize||Fence 19 - Fell||-||Henrietta Knight|
|2001||Village King||Fence 8 - Brought Down||-||Philip Hobbs|
|2000||Village King||Fence 20 - Fell||-||Philip Hobbs|
|1997||Full Of Oats||Fence 1 - Fell||-||Henrietta Knight|
Winning The Grand National On Bindaree
The one and only Grand National win for Jim Culloty came in 2002 when he rode Bindaree to success for Nigel Twiston-Davies. The race was one where Culloty needed to be at his very best for two reasons.
First up, early on in the race, at the very first fence, the leader fell and took out nine runners, almost a quarter of the field. Those in behind, which included Culloty and Bindaree, needed to be quick to avoid the trouble, which the pair did.
Then there was the finish, where we once again saw the best of the jockey. With 75 yards to go, What’s Up Boys was three lengths ahead of Bindree and tiring. Culloty saw his chance and went for it, dragging his mount up to the leader and going on to pass him and win the race by almost two lengths.
This was a great showing of character, both from jockey and horse, knowing they still had a chance, not acting as though they were beaten, and getting the best possible reward at the end of the contest.
A race full of drama that had everyone feeling wide-ranging emotions throughout, but one man kept his cool and went about his job, and that was Jim Culloty. Just weeks after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup, he landed the second big one in the space of a month with this victory, taking his name into the wider sporting history books, not just those associated with racing.
Cheltenham Gold Cup And Grand National Double
The majority of national hunt jockeys dream about winning two races in their career, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National. These are the centrepieces of the two big spring meetings in the calendar and happen within a month of each other.
In 2002, Culloty not only won them both but did so in the same season, capping off a great year. First up was the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, a race where he will forever be associated with Best Mate after they won three consecutive Gold Cups together, including this one in 2002.
After the highs of winning the Gold Cup at the end of the season, Culloty was still on the lookout for more, and that took him to Aintree to ride Bindaree. He won the 2002 Grand National, booking his first win in that race and a very special spring double, capturing the two big races in national hunt racing.
Fourth Person To Ride And Train A Cheltenham Gold Cup Winner
After a successful riding career, Jim Culloty retired from the saddle in 2005. He did so not long after Best Mate suffered a heart attack, with many wondering if losing that horse had taken away the fun from racing after having so many memories at the top level with him.
Culloty turned to training, and while he didn’t hit the big time too often, he did land another special feat. He trained Lord Windermere to victory in the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup and, doing so, became just the fourth person to ride and train a winner in the biggest race of the Cheltenham Festival.
Success on the two biggest stages, at Cheltenham and Aintree, will ensure the name Jim Culloty remains in racing for many years.