Rough Quest won the 1996 Grand National by a distance of 1 1/4 lengths in a time of 9 minutes 0.8 seconds. The horse was trained by Terry Casey in Dorking Surrey and ridden by Irish jockey Mick Fitzgerald. Twenty seven horses ran in the 1996 National with seventeen completing the course, sadly one runner Rust Never Sleeps, had to be put down. The winner received a prize of £142,534.
Ten year old Rough Quest suffered from a fragile constitution and was diagnosed with a muscle enzyme disorder, his diet was changed to one high in carbohydrates and vitamin E, unlike the high protein diet usual to racehorses. Despite this condition he had won the Racing Post Chase at Kempton in February and was second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup two weeks prior to the Grand National. Sent off as the 7/1 favourite he would become the first favourite to win the race for fourteen years.
Another fancied horse was Young Hustler on his third National attempt, however after running well throughout the race, he eventually finished fifth. Superior Finish was ridden by Richard Dunwoody, the most experienced and successful rider in the race, he snatched third place on the line.
Encore En Peu, ridden by David Bridgwater went clear after the second last on the final circuit, with Rough Quest in second place. Racing towards the Elbow, Rough Quest took the lead, there was evidence that Encore Un Peu had to be reeled in to avoid a collision. A stewards inquiry, only the second in Grand National history to be held against a winner, was called.
The possibility that Rough Quest had crossed and impeded Encore En Peu on the run in was investigated, however the stewards upheld the result and Rough Quest was the winner of the 149th Martell Grand National.
Second placed David Bridgwater on Encore En Peu later said “It was the right result on the day. If I’d have got it in the steward’s room it wouldn’t have felt like I’d won a Grand National”.
A stewards inquiry was also held into third place but the result was also confirmed. After the inquiry, in a post race interview winning jockey Mick Fitzgerald infamously commented “I’ve not enjoyed 12 minutes for as long in a long time. I think sex is an anti-climax after that”.
Rough Quest returned for the 1996/7 season winning the Lympne Novice Hurdle at Folkestone, however he could not recapture his previous form and won only one more race, before he was retired in 1999. In spite of a career ravaged by injury he had put trainer Terry Casey’s name firmly on the map.
Pos | Name | Jockey | Age | Weight | SP
1st | Rough Quest | Mick Fitzgerald | 10 | 10-07 | 7/1 F
2nd | Encore Un Peu (FRA) | David Bridgwater | 9 | 10-00 | 14/1
3rd | Superior Finish | Richard Dunwoody | 10 | 10-03 | 9/1
4th | Sir Peter Lely | Mr. Chris Bonner | 9 | 10-00 | 33/1
5th | Young Hustler | Chris Maude | 9 | 11-07 | 8/1
6th | Three Brownies | Paul Carberry | 9 | 10-00 | 100/1
7th | Life Of A Lord | Charlie Swan | 10 | 11-06 | 10/1
8th | Antonin (FRA) John Burke | 8 10-00 | 28/1
9th | Over The Deel | Mr. Tim McCarthy | 10 | 10-00 | 33/1
10th | Vicompt De Valmont | Philip Hide | 11 | 10-01 | 22/1
11th | Captain Dibble | Tom Jenks | 11 | 10-00 | 40/1
12th | Riverside Boy | David Walsh | 13 10-00 | 66/1
13th | Over The Stream | Andrew Thornton | 10 | 10-00 | 50/1
14th | Greenhill Raffles | Martin Foster | 10 | 10-00 | 100/1
15th | Into The Red | Richard Guest | 12 | 10-00 | 33/1
16th | Lusty Light | Warren Marston | 10 | 10-11 | 14/1
17th | Sure Metal | Donald McCain, Jr. | 13 | 10-01 | 200/1