The 1996 Grand National is probably remembered as much for what happened after the race as it is for the race itself. We had a relatively small field going to post here, just 27 runners, and the race was won by the favourite, Rough Quest.
However, afterwards, a stewards enquiry took place, just the second in Grand National history, though, after much deliberation, the result was unchanged, and Rough Quest was awarded the prize officially.
|Bishops Hall||1||Unseated Rider||22/1||10||10-1||Mr Marcus Armytage||R H Alner|
|Bavard Dieu||1||Unseated Rider||50/1||8||10-1||Jason Titley||Nick A Gaselee|
|Party Politics||3||Fell||10/1||12||10-11||Carl Llewellyn||Nick A Gaselee|
|Chatam||5||Refused||40/1||12||10-3||Jonothan Lower||Martin Pipe|
|Rust Never Sleeps||13||Pulled Up||20/1||12||10-00||Trevor Horgan||Donal Hassett|
|Brackenfield||19||Unseated Rider||100/1||10||10-00||Guy Lewis||Paul Nicholls|
|Far Senior||22||Pulled Up||150/1||10||10-00||Tim Eley||P Wegmann|
|Wylde Hide||24||Unseated Rider||12/1||9||10-00||Francis Woods||Arthur Moore|
|Son Of War||24||Unseated Rider||8/1||9||11-00||Conor O’Dwyer||Peter McCreery|
|Deep Bramble||29||Pulled Up||50/1||8||10-1||Tony McCoy||Paul Nicholls|
What Happened In The 1996 Grand National?
Going into the 1996 Grand National, Rough Quest had shown everything needed to be a champion, the only question was if he would be able to handle a race this tough on the back of a busy recent schedule. The race would be his third in just over 30 days, tough on any animal, but he took it in his stride.
On the back of a Racing Post Chase win and an excellent second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Rough Quest was backed by punters and was eventually sent off as the 7/1 favourite for the contest. As the second circuit developed, he caught the eye, jumping well, being held onto by jockey Mick Fitzgerald, and gradually he moved through the field.
Second at the final flight, but with plenty of running left in him, when they jumped that, Fitzgerald pressed the button and took his mount forward. He was finishing much faster than the eventual second Encore Un Peu and took over to win by one and a quarter lengths.
In terms of the weights for the race, there is no doubt that Rough Quest was well in. He carried just 10st 7lb, with the weights done before he hit form, had the weights been done after his Gold Cup second, he would have had another stone on his back.
The front two were well clear of the rest, with Encore Un Peu 16 lengths clear of the third placed Superior Finish and will feel unlucky given the way in which the closing stages played out. After the horses crossed the finish line, that wasn’t the end, but eventually, the stewards made their decision.
Controversial Stewards Enquiry After The Race
For just the second time in Grand National history, a stewards enquiry was called after the race. Interference between the first two home caused this to happen, with the winner Rough Quest going over and forcing second placed Encore Un Peu to pull back and avoid a collision.
Time was taken, with the stewards looking at all angles they had on the TV pictures, it was clear that Rough Quest went across his rival. However, it was also noted that he was finishing far quicker, and regardless of the interference, there was a case to be made that Rough Quest would have still won.
Eventually, the stewards agreed with that viewpoint and allowed the result to stand as it was. There was a lot of talk afterwards about that outcome, with many suggesting that had the race been a regular one through the week, the result would have been changed. Due to the size of the race and the eyes watching, stewards were more inclined to keep things as they were and not get involved, according to many people.
Winner Arrives In Perfect Form
Many horses who win a Grand National do so with a big plan in place for the entire season. Horses are kept fresh for the race and are primed for the day. Rough Quest had none of that but could not arrive in better form.
He won the Racing Post Chase in February at Kempton, an ideal prep run, but trainer Terry Casey wanted to do more with him, so he ran in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He finished second, so fully justified his entry in the race, but those two, plus the Grand National, were in a period of just over 30 days, which certainly made things tough for the horse.
That didn’t bother him, and in great style, after two very strong runs, Rough Quest won the Grand National on his third run in just a few weeks.
Moments Of Note
- The 1996 Grand National saw a stewards enquiry into the race for just the second time in its history.
- Winner Rough Quest took the race just 16 days after running in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and finishing second, a huge effort.