A colt foal born on the 50th anniversary of Foinavon’s 1967 Grand National triumph has been named in honour of the Irish thoroughbred, who claimed one of the most memorable wins in the race’s history.
The village of Compton in Berkshire, where Foinavon was trained and is buried, organised a celebration to commemorate his victory on 1st April .
During the early hours of the morning, one of the broodmare’s at the Ray family’s Oakingham Stud, which is based in the village, gave birth to a bay colt which they named after the racehorse.
While the foal is destined to tread a different career path — being bred for showjumping from Cornet Obolensky x Cassini II x Darco lines — the stud said they felt it was “more than fitting” that he was named in tribute to his famous neighbour.
“We were loading up the last of the trucks with horses heading to Arezzo in Italy when the foaling alarm went off,” said the stud’s Jack Stirling. “We have a group chat and everyone was pinging names back and forth — someone said Foinavon and we thought it was a brilliant idea.
“He won the most famous race in the world, so hopefully some of that luck will rub off!”
The stud plan to keep the colt, and are looking forward to seeing how he turns out as a four-year-old.
“It would be perfect if he turned out to be another famous horse for the village,” Jack added. “We haven’t seen much of him yet as we’ve been in Italy but we’ve been told he’s a cracking foal.”
The Oakingham Stud was one of the sponsors of Compton’s celebrations, which raised money for the Injured Jockey’s Fund.
The festivities included a dinner where Foinavon’s trainer John Kempton was presented with a framed photo of the new colt. The following day, the stud also welcomed John and David Owen, the author’s of Foinavon: The Story of the Grand National’s Biggest Upset, to meet the foal.
Jenny Pitman and Sir Peter O’Sullevan are among
Ahead of this week's Grand National, a poll
Grand National sponsor Crabbie’s has enlisted the support
Ridden by John Buckingham, Foinavon became one of the most memorable victors of the Grand National when he was the only horse to survive a chaotic pile up at the 23rd fence.
While 17 jockeys remounted, they couldn’t catch the nine-year-old son of Vulgan, who eventually took the race by 20 lengths over 15-2 favourite Honey End.
The comparatively innocuous hedge — at 4ft6” the smallest on the Grand National course — has officially been named after the gelding since 1984.
A rank outsider at 100-1, with no remarkable form on his record, Foinavon came to embody the notion that in the National, victory against the odds is always possible.
The 2017 Grand National will be held at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool at 5:15pm on Saturday 8 April and will be broadcast on ITV1. Our magazine preview of the great race is on sale now, in Thursday 6 April issue, and the report on all the action will be available in Horse & Hound, on sale Thursday 13 April.