Rubstic

Rubstic

The smallest horse in a field of thirty four, he was trained by John Leadbetter and ridden by Maurice Barnes. The race that year would be remembered for all the wrong reasons as unfortunately there were two fatalaties. Sadly, due to falls, Alverton ridden by Jonjo ONeill and Kintai had to be put down after the race.

The race was delayed slightly as Jenny Hembrow only the second woman to ever take part, was unable to turn her horse Sandwillan to join the start and had to be led in by a stable lad. Unlike Charlotte Brew, the first woman to to take part two years earlier who had finished in fourth place Jenny’s mount fell at the first fence. Wayward Scot who was owned by Emilyn Hughes and trained specifically for the race by Ginger McCain also fell at the first, unseen by his owner who was busy playing in the F.A. Cup semi final against Manchester United.

Despite a bad mistake at the second Rubstic recovered and ran on. Chaos at The Chair caused by two loose horses, one of which decided to do a u turn, wiped out eight runners and caused the biggest pile up since Foinavon. Alverton went through the fence, crashing to the ground and Churchtown Boy fell on top of him probably causing a broken neck. Heartbroken jockey Jonjo O’Neill could do nothing to help him.

This incident was to lead to the Jockey Club’s decision to remove the railings around The Chair, which would allow loose horses to run around it rather than jump. Over the next decade with safety in mind a number of alterations were made to the fences on the course which encouraged more worried owners to enter their horses in the race.

In the final straight that day the ten year old Rubstic found a bit extra, a loose horse helped him to pull away from Zongalero. He won by two lengths from Zongalero with Rough and Tumble third and a National stalwart, The Pilgarlic fourth. From a field of thirty four, only seven horses finished the course.

Updated: November 28, 2011