What's Up Boys rose to notoriety after winning the difficult Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, but he was swiftly dubbed the "housewives' choice" when the once-a-year betting public realized he was a grey and was vying to be the first grey to win in over forty years. He did eventually win, but not until after much controversy and debate about whether or not he should even be allowed to run in the first place because of his age.
He was forced to retire from racing at the age of thirty-two due to bone spurs in his foot that resulted in him being unable to walk without pain. However, he did make one more appearance at Royal Ascot before finally calling it quits.
Since then, several other Greys have been given a chance to show what they can do, but none have been as successful as What's Up Boys in capturing the hearts of British race fans. The most recent example of this can be seen with the fact that a sixteen year old Grey named Dandy Dan won the prestigious event last year.
It's possible that more Grays may soon be given a chance to prove themselves too, as two more dogs have been entered into this year's competition. They are called Slow Man and Quick Silver and they are both fifteen years old.
The winner earns a cool PS500,000—a sizable sum for most horse racing owners—and with all the spin-offs and public appearances at the Grand National winner may make afterwards, many can brag about their profits in this way as well. The second place winner gets $80,000 and the third $60,000.
The owner of the winning horse is awarded a prize money equal to 2nd and 3rd places combined. The owner of the second placed horse receives $20,000 and the owner of the third placed horse takes home $10,000.
In addition to the main race there are several other events at the Grand National including the Apprentice Trainer's Championship, Juvenile Champion Stakes, Listed Nursery Race, Novices' Chase and the Top Jockey Challenge. The apprentice trainer is given one week to train three juveniles who will take part in these races. The apprentice who trains the juvenile that finishes first wins; second place goes to his or her partner and third place goes to the trainer of the last finishing juvenile.
The owner of the jockey who rides the winning horse receives a bonus if he or she has not won the Grand National before. There is no such thing as a "retired" jockey so if they win again they can always go back into training.
That's because the trophy handed to the winning jockey in the 2021 Grand National was designed by a Hillsborough goldsmith. Randox commissioned Cara Murphy to create the trophy for the major race at Aintree on Saturday. The winner's prize money has been increased to £750,000 this year.
The trophy is made from silver and is as heavy as it looks. It stands over two feet high and is surrounded by 85 diamonds with a total weight of 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz). The base price of the trophy was £20,000 but it sold for just under £30,000 when it went on sale last month. It was expected to sell quickly and so far it has more than met its reserve price.
The trophy will be shipped to Japan later this year where it will be used to decide the champion jockey of that country. The winner will take home $150,000.
Murphy said she was "really excited" to have been asked to design such an important piece of equipment for a major race. She added: "I've always loved art deco designs and I think the GNP trophy has some real style about it."
It's not the first time that a goldsmith has created a trophy for an English race meeting.
Grand National Winners from the Previous Year
Victory would put Hemmings, who was born in Woolwich, the most successful owner in Grand National history. It has never been won more than three times. Hemmings can win the world's most famous race for the fourth time. He won before with Hedgehunter in 2005, Ballabriggs in 2011, and Many Clouds in 2015.
He also owns two Gold Cups - the other major British horse racing award - and one Green Flag Award for environmental awareness.
Hemmings bought his first horse at the age of eight and started training them himself. He had always wanted to be a trainer but didn't know if it was possible since there were no training schools back then. So he just worked on horses owned by others until he saved enough money to buy his own animal. Since then he hasn't looked back: he has gone on to become one of the most successful owners in Grand National history.
Trevor Hemmings made his fortune in the motor trade. When he was only 30 years old, he became Britain's youngest self-made millionaire. In addition to owning several horses, he also invests in other sports activities such as boxing and darts.
He has never had any serious accidents while riding horses and believes that experience is key to being a good rider. That's why he always chooses experienced people when he sets out to train new horses or place riders in races.
As you can see, these lads thoroughly deserved their honor.
Jim Culloty, Best Mate's jockey, has shocked racing by quitting for health reasons. The Irishman, who partnered the horse to three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup triumphs, also won the 2002 Grand National on Bindaree. He is the first rider to be forced to retire from all four major British races due to injury.
Culloty was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004 and has been unable to ride since then. The 37-year-old said he was retiring because of the disease which affects the brain and spinal cord and causes problems with vision, movement, sensation, and speech.
"I've had a great career and achieved a lot," he said. "But I need to start looking after myself now."
Best Mate, who was trained by David O'Brien at Ballymena, County Antrim, received help from several riders during his successful career, which began in 1995 when he finished third in his debut race. In 1996 he won two of three starts before winning the Gold Cup on his first attempt. He went on to claim another Gold Cup in 1998 and the Cheltenham Festival in 1999. His other victories included the King George VI Chase, the Scottish Classic Trial, and the Welsh National. Best Mate retired after finishing fourth in the 2005 Grand National behind Sea Lord, Moonlight Cloud, and Davison.