Not a jockey that was really known for having big race winners, but certainly one who could ride a winner with ease, especially in the north. Tony Dobbin was a stalwart of the Northern circuit during his time and spent much of his career as a stable jockey to Nicky Richards, another big name in Northern racing.
Born on May 1, 1972, Dobbin rode more than 1,200 winners during his career, a fantastic achievement showing both his class and longevity. A handful of big race wins came along the way, but none more so than his Grand National success in 1997.
Aboard Lord Gyllene, trained by Steve Brookshaw, Tony Dobbin came away from a strong field to win what should be an incredibly competitive race with ease, recording a winning distance of 25 lengths on a big day for the sport.
Tony Dobbin Grand National Wins
- 1997 - Lord Gyllene trained by S A Brookshaw
|2008||Point Barrow||Fence 17 - Pulled Up||-||Pat Hughes|
|2006||Direct Access||Fence 19 - Pulled Up||-||Nicky Richards|
|2005||Just in Debt||9||-||Martin Todhunter|
|2004||Gunner Welburn||Fence 20 - Pulled Up||-||Andrew Balding|
|2003||Killusty||Fence 22 - Fell||-||Charles Egerton|
|2001||Listen Timmy||Fence 16 - Pulled Up||-||Alan King|
|2000||Listen Timmy||Fence 17 - Pulled Up||-||Alan King|
|1999||Avro Anson||17||-||Julie Camacho|
|1997||Lord Gyllene||1||£178,146||S A Brookshaw|
|1994||Ushers Island||Fence 3 - Unseated Rider||-||Howard Johnson|
Winning The Grand National On Lord Gyllene
When you think back to 1997, you will remember the abandonment of the Grand National due to a bomb threat on the course, you will remember the race being run on a Monday and may remember Lord Gyllene being the winner. However, with so much going off, the winning trainer and jockey are often overlooked, Steve Brookshaw, the trainer, and Tony Dobbin, the rider.
Given everything that happened over the 48 hours that weekend, both of these two deserve a ton of credit for what they achieved. Brookshaw managed to keep his horse settled and calm after the race was called off on the Saturday and then raring to go again on the Monday.
Jockey Dobbin was riding a race in exceptional circumstances. A huge race like the Grand National, but with a very small crowd in attendance and a strange atmosphere around the day. He needed to focus and concentrate on the race, and that he certainly did. Dobbin knew the horse and let him do his thing, which was to run strongly, jump well, and keep pulling out more when anyone wanted to challenge.
By the time the pair got to the final fence, the race was in the bag, but they kept going, storming clear up the run-in to record a huge winning distance of 25 lengths. This should be a competitive handicap, it certainly looked it on paper beforehand, but Dobbin and Lord Gyllene blew the race apart to win with ease.
The race was Dobbin’s second attempt at the Grand National, though his first only lasted three fences before he was unseated back in 1994. He’d also not really had a big race winner before, too, so to do what he did, in the style which was shown, while also managing to keep calm, was very impressive.
The 1997 race will be remembered for all kinds of reasons, so much so that the winning jockey is often forgotten about or overlooked when people look back. Don’t let that fool you, though, Tony Dobbin played a huge part in the win for Lord Gyllene and showed everyone that he was ready not only to become a strong rider in the north but anywhere in the UK and Ireland.
Stalwart Of Northern Racing
Dobbin will always be remembered for what he brought to the Northern racing circuit. He teamed up with Nicky Richards, and you would often see the pair have at least one winner during the winter months at racetracks in the North of England and Scotland.
They were formidable and made each other better, Richards had an excellent pilot he could rely on, and Dobbin had a string of good horses to ride. The majority of Dobbin’s big race wins came in the north, alongside winning the Grand National at Aintree, he also won the Melling Chase, Liverpool Hurdle and Aintree Hurdle at the same course. He won the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle twice to round off a very strong resume for the top half of the country.
Dobbin would retire from race riding in 2009 and went out with a winner on his final ride, typically up north, at Carlisle racecourse. He retired to become an assistant trainer to his wife Rose Dobbin, both were former jockeys and have now taken up training horses, with success around the Northern circuit, as you would expect.