In 1956 one of the most dramatic Grand National incidents took place when Devon Loch, 45 metres from the finishing line and in the lead, suddenly appeared to jump and fall over.
Devon Loch, owned by the Queen Mother and riden by Dick Francis apparently got spooked by the noise of the crowd as he romped toward the finishing line and simply stopped running.
According to Francis he was a nervous horse and there was nothing anybody could have done to stop it. What did the Queen Mother say? – “Well, that’s racing”
This incident is not unique however. In 1903, Ambush II, owned by King Edward VII was running in a field of 23 runners and was taking a great lead when he fell at the last fence.
The race then came down to two similarly named horses – Drumcree and Drumree until Drumree just stopped mid-race and against his jockey’s protests simply refused to move and paved the way for Drumcree to take the title!