The story of Bob Champion and Aldaniti’s comeback from serious illness and injury is the stuff of legend – and a popular film. Lucy Higginson finds out how it all started and their continuing legacy
Few stories in racing have captured public imagination like that of Bob Champion piloting Aldaniti to victory in the 1981 Grand National. The jockey had very nearly lost his life to cancer; the horse had fought back from major leg injuries and a recommendation that he be put down. Their win was the stuff of fairy tales, and indeed inspired a number of books and a hit movie.
But Bob Champion’s life is much more than that of a cancer survivor who clawed his way back to win the National. A fine horseman who worked hard to become a top jockey with some 500 or so winners to his name globally, his life has been shaped by his love of racing.
And the affection the horse world has for him has helped him become an unassuming hero of cancer research, helping to raise huge sums for the Trust that bears his name.