A tough slog was the order of the day in 1994, heavy ground meant that just six of the 36 runners managed to complete. This was the first time we had new starting procedures in place after the race that never was in 1993.
Winner on the day was the Martin Pipe trained Miinnehoma, winning by just over a length, with Just So back in second and a huge gap back to the rest of the runners. Trainer Pipe had a dominant racing career before retirement, but despite so much success at a high level, this was his first and only victory in the Grand National.
Richard Dunwoody was the jockey on board, he was winning the race for a second time after West Tip led him to victory back in 1986. There was a local connection, too, with the owner. Liverpool comedian Freddie Star owned the horse, and he proved popular with punters on course for this connection, receiving a huge cheer when he returned victoriously.
|Result||Horse||Starting Price||Age||Handicap||Prize Money||Jockey||Trainer|
|1||Miinnehoma||16/1||11||10-8||£115,606||Richard Dunwoody||Martin Pipe|
|2||Just So||20/1||11||10-3||£43,354||Simon Burrough||H T Cole|
|3||Moorcroft Boy||5/1||9||10-00||£21,277||Adrian Maguire||David Nicholson|
|4||Ebony Jane||25/1||9||10-1||£9,235||Liam Cusack||Francis Flood|
|5||Fiddlers Pike||100/1||13||10-00||£4,218||Mrs Rosemary Henderson||Rosemary Henderson|
|6||Roc De Prince||100/1||11||10-00||-||Jonothan Lower||Martin Pipe|
What Happened In The 1994 Grand National?
Conditions really played their part on this contest, the going was heavy, and this was a real struggle for many runners. 36 started, just six finished the race, showing how tough it was to get around Aintree that day.
It will be no surprise to know that the runners came home at big intervals, with the exception of the front two. Miinnehoma was pushed all the way by Just So and eventually managed to beat him by one and a quarter lengths. After that, the margins were 20 lengths, 25 lengths, nine lengths, and a distance, which gives you an indication into the type of race we had, and how tough it was on those competing.
Moorcroft Boy was sent off as the 5/1 favourite for the contest after what was an incredibly strong season. He ran in nine top staying chase races on his way to the Grand National and was able to finish first or second in them all, showing great consistency.
The race really changed after the last fence, and with the favourite involved, there was a lot of drama for those watching. Moorcroft Boy jumped the final fence in the lead and was kicked two lengths clear at this point. However, he quickly tired, and after the race, he was found to have broken a blood vessel and choked up the run-in.
That left the front two to battle it out, with Miinnehoma always having the upper hand, despite Just So pushing him hard all the way. Richard Dunwoody deserves a ton of credit for the ride he gave him, and in particular, one moment during the second circuit. While out in the lead, the horse made a big mistake at Becher’s Brook, and Dunwoody nearly departed at that point. He didn’t and remained on board, and eased the horse back into a nice rhythm and remained towards the front, which was the place to be.
In a real slog around Aintree, Dunwoody earnt his fee that day and was rewarded with a second Grand National victory.
New Starting Procedures Stop A Repeat Of 1993
Ahead of the race, talk was about one thing, and one thing only, which was the false start and problems with the race a year earlier in 1993. That race was started incorrectly, with 30 of the 39 runners going forward and running in the race.
Procedures were not in place to tell the horses to stop, and horses and jockeys went around the course assuming that the race had started and raced all the way. We even had a winner, it took so long to try and get the message out, and for this reason, with the confusion around, starting procedures were changed.
People were inserted around the track and could go onto the course with flags to tell riders to stop from here onwards, the biggest change in a bid to prevent the same from happening again after 1993.
Perhaps the biggest news from it all, though, was a change in starter. Keith Brown, a man associated with the race for a long time, retired from the sport after troubles in 1993 and was replaced by Simon Morant, who had the eyes of a nation on him but did a great job in his first race.
There was no repeat, so it was job done on the day, and in terms of the rules that were changed, we have seen these become part of racing in the UK and ensure no repeats of the race that never was can happen again.
Local Winner Owned By Liverpool Comedian
Liverpool loves the Grand National, the area really comes together for the race, and in 1994, they had even more reason to celebrate because the winner of the race was locally owned. Miinnehoma wasn’t trained in Liverpool, but his owner was Freddie Star, a prominent comedian in the UK at the time, one that was seen regularly on TV.
He owned the horse and was at the track on the day, celebrating in style in his home city. While the horse was sent off at 16/1, showing he wasn’t overly popular around the UK, he was undoubtedly popular on the course and received a great reception from fans who had clearly backed him due to the ties with the city through his owner.
Moments Of Note
- The 1994 Grand National was the first one run with new starting rules in place to prevent a repeat of the 1993 race, which was unable to be stopped after a false start.
- Trainer Martin Pipe dominated the UK horse racing scene for many years, but this was the only time he won the Grand National.
- Just six runners out of 36 starters managed to finish the race.
- The winning horse had a connection to Liverpool through his owner. Comedian Freddie Star owned the horse, a prominent Liverpool figure known for his TV comedy appearances, and he celebrated in grand style when winning the race.