The Grand National is England’s most watched horse race and one of the worlds greatest spectacles. Each year 40 horse tackle the impressive Aintree race course for the honour of being the national champion.
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Charles Swan is the greatest Irish-based jump jockey ever to be denied a victory in the Grand National. He was Ireland’s champion jump jockey nine times and was the first in Ireland to ride 150 winners in a season, and the first to reach 1,000 winners. Yet eight attempts at the National, and his best placing was fifth place on Lastofthebrownies in 1990, which was his debut in the race.
Born on January 20th 1968, Charlie cried the first time he watched the Grand National on the television – he was just seven years old and he was watching his father Captain Donald Swan crash out at the fourth after leading from the start, on his own horse Zimulator, a 100/1 outsider. His father had him riding a pony at the age of four, and had him helping to break in horses by the age of eight – he rode his first winner Final Assault at Naas in March 1983, at the age of fifteen, after which followed a four year apprenticeship with trainer Kevin Prendergast, where he rode 57 winners on the Flat and shared a flat in Kildare with Kieren Fallon.