Robbie Power was the triumphant rider of Silver Birch in the 2007 Grand National, when, as a substitute rider having only his second ride in the race, he fought out a furious three way finish to win by three-quarters of a length from Mckelvey, with Slim Pickings coming in third.
Power was only 25 when he won the Grand National, and even though he was born to a family with a rich history of show jumping; his father being one of the most renowned show jumpers in the UK until 1989; there was still a hint of self doubt in his win, stating: ‘I never thought that this was a dream that could come true,’ even though he gave Silver Birch a masterful ride.
Power began his show jumping career soon after his father’s career ended following a freak accident, and not long after won the Championship at Dublin amongst other awards. He soon set his mind on becoming a jockey, and won his first race in 2001 at the Punchestown Festival in Ireland, on Younevertoldme. After this victory he became professional and won the Hennessey Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Bob What.
He was a consistent winner, landing victories at the Galway Plate and the Munster National, as well as even more wins at Puchestown and Leopardstown. During this time he worked for Paddy Mullins’ stable, and was the leading claimer in Ireland, but soon attracted interest from the UK. 2005 wasn’t to be his best year, and it was the year of his National debut, where he only managed to land 18th place in 21 finishers. The same year a broken foot cost him the winning ride on Newmill in the 2006 Champion Chaser at the Cheltenham Festival.
However his luck changed when he was partnered with 33-1 outsider Silver Birch for the 2007 Grand National. Silver Birch had come second in the Cheltenham Cross-Country Chase under Jason Maguire, but he was committed to Idle Talk for the National, so Power picked up the spare ride.
In the 2009 Grand National, Power again ran Silver Birch who unfortunately fell at Bechers the second time round. Power said: ‘It’s disappointing, he just got a bit too close to Bechers, caught the top and just couldn’t get his front end out. But the old lad was travelling really well and jumping for fun and he ran a big race.’
2010/11 saw Power return right to his very best, riding two winners at Grade 1 level for Jessica Harrington. The first to strike was Oscars Well in the Navan Novice Hurdle in December and less than a fortnight later he rode Bostons Angel to success in the Fort Leney Novice Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting. He then went on to win his first race at Cheltenham, again on board Bostons Angel when he won the 2011 RSA Chase.
He paired with Killyglen in the 2011 Grand National but unfortunately fell at the 27th. With a repeat appearance on Killyglen again in 2012 things didn’t improve for Power who was unseated by the 16/1 horse at fence 8.
For 2013 Power was on Joncol, a much fancied long shot for the National, but couldn’t complete the race, pulling up at the Open Ditch at fence 19.
Photo Credit | Meteorshoweryn