History’s Ousiders: Foinavon and the 1967 Grand National.

Wherever you find yourself at 5 o’clock this Saturday afternoon, spare a thought for Foinavon.

Perhaps you’ll be ensconced at home where a small but significant sweep-stake has sparked the interest family members who are usually left unmoved by equine endeavour. Perhaps you’ll find yourself tucked safely away in the pub at the end of the road, a copy of the Racing Post marking you out as an individual of iron nerve who is willing to risk a whole fiver each way on a favoured quadruped. Perhaps you’ll actually be there at Aintree, you lucky devil.

Perhaps this is your year, when that 100-1 outsider will bring you fame, fortune, and a lifetime of regret for not having backed your instincts and put the whole pound on his nose.

Exactly fifty years ago this year, in 1967, it was John Buckingham’s year. As a loose horse ‘cut down the leaders like a row of thistles’ at the 23rd, Buckingham was far enough back atop Foinavon to navigate around the vast pile up.


Foinavon’s young trainer, John Kempton, would not have been able to believe his eyes had he been there that day - but the odds were too long even for him. He had chosen instead to ride the stable’s best hope, Three Dons, at Worcester.

So good luck to you, we say, and may the worst horse win from time to time.