03.12.10 - THE GRAND NATIONAL
Bob Champion announces that Aintree Legends Charity race, supported by John Smiths, will run on John Smiths Grand National Day 2011
In 1981, in the year that Charles married Diana, Shergar won the Derby and Bucks Fizz won the Eurovision Song Contest, Bob Champion (recovering from testicular cancer) and Aldaniti (recovering from a serious leg injury) created a real life fairy story by winning the Grand National.
30 years later – and a few weeks before William marries Kate – Bob Champion will ride on that hallowed Aintree turf once again, on John Smith’s Grand National Day 2011, in a special Bob Champion Aintree Legends Charity race, supported by John Smith’s.
The race will be run on the flat as the first race on the John Smith’s Grand National card on Saturday, April 9.
Bob will be joined by a number of retired Grand National winning jockeys as well as some other legends of the weighing room. The line-up already includes the likes of Graham Thorner (1972, Well To Do), Ben De Haan (1983, Corbiere), Hywel Davies (1985, Last Suspect, Brendan Powell (1988, Rhyme ‘N’ Reason), Jimmy Frost (1989, Little Polveir), Marcus Armytage (1990, Mr Frisk), Carl Llewellyn (1992, Party Politics & 1998, Earth Summit), Tony Dobbin (1997, Lord Gyllene), Jim Cullotty (2002, Bindaree) and Peter Scudamore (eight-time champion jockey although he never won the National) and Charlie Swan (10-time Irish champion jockey).
The race will be run in aid of the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, which was founded in 1983 and which has so far raised £12 million – that’s approximately £400,000 for every fence of the National that Bob and Aldaniti jumped!
Bob Champion said: “The 1981 Grand National was a remarkable day, not just for me, but all of those around the world who gained hope from my victory in their personal battles against cancer. 30 years on and with the money this race raises, I want to continue to reduce the odds against cancer. I would also like to publicly thank Aintree and John Smith’s in advance as without their enthusiasm and support, this exciting race would not be possible.”
John Smith’s and Aintree launched the John Smith’s Grand National Legends in 2010, an initiative that celebrates the greats of Grand National history. Eight Racing greats were inducted last year after a public vote and the 2011 shortlist will be announced in the New Year.
Mark Given, Brands Director at Heineken UK, brand owner of John Smith's, added: “We are very pleased to support the Bob Champion Cancer Trust and I'm sure the Aintree Legends Race will make an excellent contribution to the John Smith's Grand National day card. The race has already attracted a fascinating line-up of jockeys and the spirit of the event ties in well with the John Smith's Grand National Legends campaign launched last year. ”
Julian Thick, Managing Director of Aintree, agreed: “We are absolutely delighted to host this exciting event on racing's biggest day. Bob's story is inextricably linked to the Grand National and we are honoured to be able to help his fantastic fundraising with what should be an interesting race on John Smith's Grand National Day.”
For further information please go to:
Facebook: Bob Champion
Bob Champion Cancer Trust: Lucy Wilkinson or Liz Ampairee
Lucy - Tel: 020 7924 3553 / 07973 133685 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz - Tel: 0773 333 1945 / email@example.com
Notes to editors:
Bob Champion and the Bob Champion Cancer Trust
Champions, the 1984 film starring John Hurt was a box office hit – and a special Bob Champion Aldaniti pack will be produced to commemorate the 30 year anniversary.
Aldaniti lived to the grand old age of 27, eventually passing away in 1997 at home in his field where he is now buried.
The Bob Champion Cancer Trust has raised £12 million since it was founded in 1983.
The Trust was initially set up to research testicular cancer and has now evolved into prostate cancer, a disease that is expected to overtake both lung and breast cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK by 2018.
Its success lies in the research field and owes much to its rapid assessment for funding i.e. the Trust can react quickly to a request not wasting valuable time and therefore making a difference by early investigation of potential advances.
· JOHN SMITH’S, the UK’s No 1 ale was installed as the Grand National favourite in 2005 after saddling up to sponsor the world’s most famous horse race in the first of three three-year agreements between brand owners Heineken UK and Aintree Racecourse.
· The 2011 John Smith’s Grand National meeting will take place from Thursday, April 7 to Saturday, April 9 in front of 150,000 spectators and a worldwide television audience spanning more than 140 countries and 600 million people.
· John Smith’s is horse racing’s biggest commercial sponsor, backing major flat and jump races at more than 30 courses including: the John Smith’s Cup at York; The John Smith’s Northumberland Plate and the John Smith’s Stakes at Newbury.