Winner of the 2002 Martell Grand National, Bindaree, has taken his new found stardom in his stride

Bindaree and his Yorkshire lass Sam Wood were the star attractions at the post-Martell Grand National party at Nigel Twiston-Davies’s stable above the Cotswolds village of Naunton on Sunday morning (7 April).

“Sometimes ‘Bindy’ can be a grumpy old git,” explains 22-year-old Sam, from Whitby. “But most of the time he is the complete gentleman, particularly when he’s in his box.”

Bindaree was unfazed by all the attention. He had little interest in the clicking cameras and was unmoved by stream of strangers who were continually patting and stroking his bright chestnut neck.

“He can be really stubborn when he wants to be,” adds Sam. “I think that is why he never goes down without a fight – just like on Saturday.”

Sam rides him daily on the gallops when he is usually accompanied by Beau, who parted company with Carl Llewellyn at the fence before the Chair. It was ironic that the riderless horse who nearly stopped Bindaree between the last two fences should be his training companion.

Sam continues: “There’s not much of a gentleman about ‘Bindy’ when you get on his back. He is very keen up the gallops and won’t let another horse near him. He will go faster and faster so as not to let anything past him.”

Jim Culloty, who deputised for the injured Jamie Goldstein, rode Best Mate to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory 23 days earlier and joins a select band of three jockeys who have completed the Gold Cup-Grand National double in the same season (John Burke, 1976; Gerry Wilson, 1934; Tommy Cullinan, 1930).

Nigel, who won the 1998 Grand National with Earth Summit, dropped a bombshell after the race by announcing that he would have retired if Bindaree had not won.

“I am still considering retirement,” he says. “I haven’t got the good horses, except for Bindaree and Beau. It is 50-50 whether or not I pack up. The bottom yard is going to be sold but now that I have won the National again, I may keep a few boxes here at the house.”

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