The fantastic thing about the Grand National is that you don't have to be a millionaire to own a winning horse, or a Champion trainer to enter one or the world's greatest jockey to ride one. In fact, this race is always about the work horse, that underdog who we get behind and cheer on hoping for the fairytale ending to an incredible story. Just think of Bob Champion and Aldaniti!
[Racecard According To Pete]
This year, more than a few are hoping that According To Pete can achieve the impossible and become a Grand National winner for his owner Peter Nelson, a mechanic from Helperby in Yorkshire. You see, According To Pete isn't some big investment that he made or a horse that he picked up to win the National.
According To Pete is a horse that he loves and that he bred on a one-acre scrap of land next to his MOT servicing garage in his village. When the local newspaper round closed down, he took it over and converted the stable next to where According to Pete was born, into the “paper shop”.
When speaking to The Telegraph, Nelson fondly recalls “When I was a boy, I used to muck out the pigs for two bachelor farmers in the village and help them out with the milking. They never paid me but when they died they left me a five-acre paddock where I keep some of the horses. Proper people they were in those days.”
Nelson, 71, went on to say “A team of us from Helperby always used to go to Wetherby on Boxing Day and I'd watch them go round the parade ring and think what it would be like to own the winner of the Rowland Meyrick and then I'd wake up and think to myself ‘you'll never own a horse you daft bugger'.
But on Boxing Day three months ago According to Pete won the Rowland Meyrick at 33-1, fulfilling one ambition and nearly bankrupting the local bookmaker.
“For a simple silly bugger like me just to have a runner is beyond my wildest dream,” he explained. “I can't believe I have and I keep thinking I'll wake up. It's an honour and I'd like to see him win for his sake. I'd like the horse to be remembered.”
With that kind of fantastic Grand National story behind him, I'm tempted to go stick a fiver each-way on him!