In terms of how popular and well-known Grand National winning trainers are, Steve Brookshaw is undoubtedly not towards the top of the list. Now retired from training, Brookshaw only actually had two runners in the Grand National but managed to strike gold with one of them.
It was perhaps the most famous Grand National of them all, the 1997 race, delayed due to a bomb threat on the course. Lord Gyllene was the horse, and it was a fantastic training performance from Brookshaw, not only to get him in the race with a chance but to keep him settled for 48 hours until the race was allowed to take place on the Monday.
In 2001, Brookshaw would return to the Grand National with No Retreat, but this runner was pulled up and unable to finish. It will be 1997 he is forever remembered for, though, perhaps not as the main person or element of that race, but certainly as the winning trainer of Lord Gyllene.
S A Brookshaw Grand National Wins
- 1997 - Lord Gyllene ridden by Tony Dobbin
|2001||No Retreat||Fence 16 - Pulled Up||-||Jason Maguire|
|1997||Lord Gyllene||1||£178,146||Tony Dobbin|
First Grand National Winner With Lord Gyllene
Lord Gyllene is not what you would call a typical Grand National horse. First of all, he was bred in New Zealand. When coming across to race in the UK, where he ran a total of 13 times, he was sent straight over fences and put into Grade Two company. A second on his first run showed that Brookshaw got this right and had a talented horse on his hands.
With good ground on the day, Lord Gyllene was able to do what he did best, run strongly, jump well and keep finding more to get away from his rivals. The winning margin was a huge 25 lengths but didn’t flatter him, he kept going and found himself miles clear of the others as they went over the last and kicked for home.
Although he didn’t win the start before the Grand National, Lord Gyllene had won a hat trick of races prior to that and gone up in the weights as a result of his success. This was key to getting him in the race but ensuring he was still well handicapped enough to run off a low weight.
Lord Gyllene was the National favourite in the lead-up to the race for many weeks with the antepost market. However, he drifted on the day of the race (Saturday) and again on the actual race day (Monday) to eventually have an SP of 14/1, which he made look silly with his victory.
The race in 1997 was a first National bid for Brookshaw, and given the circumstances around that day, you can only imagine what he would have been thinking. Every single trainer deserves a ton of credit for the way they handle their horses over the 48-hour period between the race being called off on Saturday and eventually taking place on Monday.
Not everyone got it right, but Brookshaw certainly did, given how well his runner won on Monday. While he may not have hit the headlines on too many other occasions during his career, Brookshaw got to stand in the winner’s enclosure at Aintree on that famous Monday, with the Grand National winner by his side.
With a horse that was not your typical runner in the race, a small trainer who wasn’t used to the headlines, and a wild 48 hours generally, never mind just in sport, this was a race that no one will forget in a hurry and one that Steve Brookshaw will always be seen as the winner of.
Famous Horses Trained by Steve Brookshaw
Here are some of the bigger names trained by Steve Brookshaw during his career.