Kim Bailey has been around the racing industry as a trainer for many years. He has won big races, including the Grand National, a win that came in 1990 with Mr Frisk. He’s also had success with other big races too, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle.
Bailey’s known more for having a strong book of staying handicappers rather than top-quality graded horses, so the Grand National has always been a race he’s targeted. This has been enough for him to win the race once, which came right at the start of his period where he became a well-known man in the world of racing in 1990.
While other victories have come and stood out along the way, his victory with Mr Frisk both came on the biggest stage and at a time when it really helped to push his training career forward.
Kim Bailey Grand National Wins
- 1990 - Mr Frisk ridden by Mr Marcus Armytage
First Grand National Winner With Mr Frisk
Mr Frisk won the 1990 Grand National, and not only did he win the race, but he broke the race record in the process. His victory, which was timed at eight minutes and 47 seconds, completely smashed the previous record, held by Red Rum from his victory in 1973.
Mr Frisk landed the record by an impressive 14 seconds, and from that point, until 2013, when the race distance was changed, no other horse was able to get close to the time set by Mr Frisk. Now, the Grand National is shorter in distance, so if anyone in the future beats the time, they are not doing it over the same length, so the record set by Mr Frisk is one that can never truly be claimed by anyone else, it is his record forever.
One of the big positives for Mr Frisk on the day was the ground. This was unusually classed as firm, which we don’t get too often in spring, but Mr Frisk was at home on it, whereas others found it too hard for them. This was one of the reasons why the horse was seen as a popular each-way choice on the day of the race and supported by many.
The horse hadn’t won a big race in the build-up to the Grand National, but Kim Bailey was confident that he would go into the race and do himself justice. Amateur jockey Marcus Armytage was booked for the ride and would compete in his second Grand National.
Armytage put the horse in a strong position from the very beginning, and when the race entered the second circuit, he was in a clear lead alongside Uncle Merlin. Then came the most significant moment of the race, Uncle Merlin fell at Becher’s Brook, and all of a sudden, Mr Frisk was clear by 15 lengths. Given a quick breather by his jockey, Mr Frisk lost some of his advantage, and Durham Edition was the horse chasing him down. Over the final fence, the second-placed runner was on his way, closing the gap, but Mr Frisk and Armytage found more, they dug deep and managed to hold on for the win.
The winning distance was three-quarters of a length, with a long gap back to the other runners. Mr Frisk would return in 1991, with Armytage on his back once more, but the pair didn’t make it round, pulling up at the 22nd fence.
To round off a remarkable few weeks for Kim Bailey and Mr Frisk, the horse was given one more run after his Grand National win in 1990, he went to Sandown for the Whitbread Gold Cup, where he won his second big title in three weeks when landing that race. Strangely, Durham Edition was second behind him here, too, so he had seen the back of Mr Frisk on two occasions in two huge races in just the space of three weeks.
Kim Bailey deserves a lot of credit for the second victory. Many trainers would instantly give their horse some time off after winning a big race, but Bailey was open to another opportunity, which he found, got the horse ready, and then sent him back out to run, coming home with another big prize.
Famous Horses Trained By Kim Bailey
Here are some of the bigger names trained by Kim Bailey during his career.