West Tip

West Tip

The son of Gala Performance, he was owned by Peter Luff and trained by Michael Oliver in Worcester. Nicknamed ‘Tippy’, he had been named after an Irish hurling team the West Tipps [West Tipperary].

In October 1982 near his stables he was involved in an accident with a lorry. Badly hurt, it was feared he might have to be put down but with the help of his trainers wife and vet Peter Thorne he made a miraculous recovery.

Just over a year later he was back running and won his first race over hurdles, his trainer was optimistic about his future over fences. He became a regular at the Cheltenham Festival appearing a record nine consecutive times.

Having won at Cheltenham he became the favourite for the 1985 Seagram Grand National where he was ridden by a young Richard Dunwoody. Dunwoody would of course go on to become a Champion Jockey however the partnership was unsuccessful on that day and West Tip fell second time around at Becher’s Brook.

Oliver’s confidence in West Tip paid off in 1986 when the twenty two year old Richard Dunwoody rode him to a hard won victory in the Grand National. At nine years old and in a field of thirty nine starters, in finishing order he beat Young Driver, Classified and Mr Snugfit to win at 15/2.

In all he would make six Grand National appearances, in 1989 at twelve years old he ran a cracking race to finish runner up to Little Polveir. West Tip became the most successful Grand National horse since the legendary Red Rum ten years earlier.

He was placed fourth on two occasions and in 1990 ridden by Peter Hobbs he made his last appearance in the race and was placed 10th.

West Tip’s racing career continued, in 1987 he was placed fourth in The Cheltenham Gold Cup, he also returned to Aintree on many occasions to join the Parade of Former Champions. Richard Dunwoody his regular jockey said of him “no other horse contributed to my racing career like he did” and in 1988 when he got married West Tip was one of the guests.

Retired at the age of fourteen, he was given to vet John Williams who was a partner of Peter Thorne, the vet who had helped save him after the lorry accident in 1982. He spent his ten year retirement at the Titterton family farm near Warwick and died in 2001 aged twenty four. Peter Luff his owner said “he was a talented, courageous and very special horse, who provided enormous pleasure and fun over the years”.