A squadron of fine horses carried the famous green, yellow and white silks of Trevor Hemmings to victory over the years. We pick out six of the best for one of the most passionate owners in the National Hunt sphere:
A back-to-back winner of the Ryanair Chase, Albertas Run was the king of the intermediate distance in the early 2010s. Winner of the 2008 Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Chase over an extended three miles, connections obviously targeted Gold Cup glory with their charge. However, he could not live with the likes of Kauto Star over three and a quarter miles, but dropped back in trip, he won over two miles and five furlongs at the 2010 and 2011 festivals before being narrowly denied a hat-trick in 2012.
Laid out for the 2011 Grand National following his Kim Muir win at the previous year’s Cheltenham Festival, Ballabriggs realised a long-term plan in style for Hemmings and trainer Donald McCain. Prepped with two wins in novice hurdles before an odds-on defeat on his only chase spin prior to Aintree, Ballabriggs recovered from a blunder to prove too good for Oscar Time, in what was to be the final – and most important – win of his career
Hemmings thought he had reached the pinnacle of the sport as he watched Hedgehunter canter home by 14 lengths to give him a first National win in 2005. Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh, Hedgehunter relished the Aintree test before proving his class the following season with a second place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, before returning to finish a gallant runner-up to Numbersixvalverde in the National under top-weight.
One of the most popular horses of the last decade, Many Clouds’ gutsy length-and-three-quarters defeat of Saint Are in 2015 saw him triumph off the highest weight since Red Rum’s 1974 victory. Bouncing back from a Gold Cup disappointment, Many Clouds gave jockey Leighton Aspell his own piece of history as he won back-to-back Aintree renewals. Many Clouds failed in his title defence the following year, but looked a genuine contender for the 2017 Gold Cup only to suffer a fatal internal haemorrhage after an epic battle with Thistlecrack in the Cotswold Chase.
Trabolgan looked set for super stardom in the staying division when winning a vintage SunAlliance Chase in 2005, with no less than future Grand National winner Comply Or Die in second. A Hennessy win under top-weight in November that year merely underlined the high expectations, but then injury intervened, with an initial tendon problem stretching into three years off the track and an impossible task in trying to regain his best.
The Last Fling
Winner of 14 of his 55 starts, Sue Smith’s charge tended to get it very right or very wrong. A four-time Haydock winner, including the Peter Marsh and what is now the Grand National Trial in 2000, The Last Fling suffered a fatal fall in the 2002 Grand National, in what was his third attempt at the race. He has a race named in his honour at Haydock, recognising his popularity on the northern circuit.