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Grand National Winning Horse Dies Aged 30

In 1996, jockey Mick Fitzgerald famously described winning the Grand National as being "better than sex". His comments were made on live television following the race! He had just ridden the magnificent Rough Quest to victory in a memorable Grand National. This month, sadly, Rough Quest has passed away at the grand of age of 30. He was the oldest surviving winner of the Grand National.

The 1996 Grand National

Rough Quest was the son of Crash Course and won the Grand National at the age of 10. There were tense moments after the race as there was a steward’s enquiry. It was thought that Rough Quest may have cut across another horse on the run in but the result was eventually allowed to stand. He had won the Racing Post Chase shortly before the Grand National and had finished second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. These performances had meant that he had been the favourite for the big race. He became the first favourite to win for 14 years.

A Great Retirement

The horse never appeared to fully recover from his exertions at Aintree. He
only recorded one more victory in his career and was discovered to be suffering from a muscle enzyme disorder. He was retired at the age of 12.

Rough Quest was owned by Andrew Wates and trained by Terry Casey. Wates had found the horse in Ireland when Rough Quest was a keen 4-year old. Following his retirement, he enjoyed a few years hunting before living at Wates’ home in Surrey for the next 15 years where he became part of the family. Wates has described Rough Quest as being a tough individual who was strong and a fantastic mover.

Rough quest recently developed an infection and was really struggling and so the decision was made to put him to sleep.


Prior to Rough Quest, Minnehoma was the oldest surviving National winner. He died in 2012 at the age of 29. Minnehoma was ridden to success in 1994 by Richard Dunwoody and was owned by comedian Freddie Star. He made several appearances in the race’s parade of former winners. The horse was trained by Martin Pipe and remained in his yard following his retirement from racing where he was cared for by the same stable lad until his death.

So who is now the oldest surviving Grand National winner following the passing of Rough Quest? That honour would go to Lord Gyllene the 1997 champion who is 28 years old.


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