Back in the Saddle

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Thirty-one years since upsetting the Grand National with 40-1 invader Ben Nevis, America’s Charlie Fenwick will return to Aintree Racecourse to ride in the Bob Champion Cancer Trust fundraiser. The flat race will be carded as the first race on the John Smith’s Grand National card April 9,

Fenwick, who retired in 1994 with 105 American steeplechase wins, reports that he’s not as fit as he was in 1980 but he’s getting there.

“I’m honored to be asked and excited for the new adventure. Bob Champion has had these sort of races before but never one for Aintree winners. I’m told that at 63 I’m the oldest rider in the race. The race is on April 9th and on April 9th I will be fitter than I am now,” Fenwick said. “Having said that, my weight and level of fitness is far better than when this was announced four weeks ago. We all have to carry 12 stone (168), and this morning I would have had a half-pound to spare if I rode naked with no tack. So I have more work to do. I’m riding regularly and will be riding more in March. I also plan to ride in, at least, one flat race before going to England. I have none of my gear, but a valet in England assures me that will be no problem.”

Fenwick will join Champion, who overcame cancer to win the Grand National on Aldaniti, as well as other British riding greats. The lineup includes 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 Culloty (2002, Bindaree). Non Grand National winners, Peter Scudamore (eight-time champion jockey) and Charlie Swan (10-time Irish champion jockey) will also ride.

The Bob Champion Cancer Trust was founded in 1983, it has raised over 12 million pounds.

Beaumont Martin has organized a trip to Aintree for anyone interested. The foray will depart Baltimore April 6 and leave London April 10. For more information, email Martin at [email protected].

For inspiration, watch Ben Nevis and Fenwick charge to the historic 1980 Aintree victory on the ST Publishing YouTube Channel.