Mr Frisk will be remembered for winning in the fastest time ever run in a Grand National. He covered the course in 8 minutes and 48 seconds, the record still stands to this day. Owned by an American, Mrs Duffey, he was trained by Kim Bailey. A long, low horse with powerful hindquarters he was known as an exuberant jumper and at times could be something of a hooligan. The winter of 89/90 was particularly dry and Aintree was parched, Mr Frisk loved firm going and so the scene was set.
The amateur jockey Marcus Armytage, whose family were obsessed with a Grand National win, although not considering himself the best jockey in the family or a prime candidate for the race, was chosen to ride the eleven year old Mr Frisk. His sister, jockey Gee Armytage was already well known in racing circles and had become racing’s pin up girl after riding a double at the 1987 Cheltenham Festival.
Mr Frisk revelling in the conditions on race day stayed well and at Becher,s where Uncle Merlin unseated his rider he took his chance and went into the lead with no challengers in sight. Durham Edition ridden by Chris Grant who was biding his time, made a perfectly timed challenge between the last two fences.
Armytage had to squeeze every last ounce from Mr Frisk on the run-in and in an exciting finish, with both horses putting in fantastic performances he won by three quarters of a length with Durham Edition runner up, Rinus 3rd and Brown Windsor in 4th place.
Twenty horses finished the course that day and the winners price was 16/1. After the race jockey Armytage attributed the win to the horse and the Bailey team who trained him. Three weeks later the partnership was successful again when they won the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown and claimed the Double.
Mr Frisk spent an active retirement with Tracey Bailey who took him to intermediate standard as an eventer. Ironically, after surviving Aintree’s fences, in September 2000 he slipped in a country lane, fractured a hind leg and had to be put down, he was twenty one.
His jockey Marcus Armytage remained an amateur saying he was to heavy to ever become a professional, he retired in 2000 after riding his 100th winner in Dubai. Armytage became a member of the Daily Telegraph’s racing team and also wrote for Horse and Hound magazine.