Bobbyjo an Irish bred and trained 9 year old won the 1999 Martell Grand National in a time of nine minutes and 14.1 ridden by jockey Paul Carberry. Bobbyjo had won the Irish Grand National the previous year and was thought to be the best contender to end a drought for Irish trained runners, who had not produced a winner for 24 years.
Owned by Irish businessman Bobby Bourke he was trained in Ratoath, Ireland by the wnning jockeys father, Tommy Carberry. In another strange twist of Grand National ‘fate’, Tommy Carberry had ridden the last Irish winner L’Escargot, 24 years earlier.
1999 saw a number of rule changes for the National, with numbers 41-43 made reserves, who could then replace a runner withdrawn by noon on the eve of the race. A new rule also banned any horse from running in the Grand National and another race at the same Aintree meeting. In the past, horses had been entered in races on the Thursday or Friday of the meeting as well as the Grand National on Saturday, although this had become rare by 1999.
The favourite, Fiddling The Facts, started the race at 6/1, with Call It A Day ridden by the experienced jockey Richard Dunwoody and Double Thriller joint second favourites at 7/1. It was Dunwoody’s 14th Grand National ride and also his last as he later retired on medical advice. Double Thriller and his jockey Joe Tizzard parted company at the first fence.
Fiddling The Facts was in the leading group of six horses by the end of the first circuit and ran well until he fell at Becher’s Brook second time around. Eudipe ridden by Tony McCoy also fell at Becher’s and was sadly fatally injured.
With a group of six horses in contention at the final fence,jockey Paul Carberry steered Bobbyjo to win by ten lengths. Blue Charm, who had led for much of the race was overtaken and came in second at 25/1, with Call It A Day third and Addington Boy in fourth position. After the race Carberry leapt from the horse and described the win as “a dream come true”.
It began an upturn in the fortunes of Irish trained runners in the following decade. In February 2001 Bobbyjo broke a knee at Fairyhouse Racecourse and sadly had to be put down a month later, the racecourse has now named a new steeplechase in his memory.
Pos | Name | Jockey | Age | Weight | Starting price
1st | Bobbyjo | Paul Carberry | 9 | 10-00 | 10/1
2nd | Blue Charm | Lorcan Wyer | 9 | 10-00 | 25/1
3rd | Call It A Day | Richard Dunwoody | 9 | 10-02 | 7/1
4th | Addington Boy | Adrian Maguire | 11 | 10-07 | 10/1
5th | Feels Like Gold | Brian Harding | 11 | 10-00 | 50/1
6th | Brave Highlander (IRE) | Philip Hide | 11 10-01 | 50/1
7th | Kendall Cavalier | Barry Fenton | 9 | 10-03 | 28/1
8th | Earth Summit | Carl Llewellyn | 11 | 11-00 | 16/1
9th | StMellion Fairway (IRE) | Jimmy Frost | 10 | 10-02 | 200/1
10th | Samlee (IRE) | Rod Farrant | 10 | 10-00 | 50/1
11th | Nathan Lad (IRE) | Andrew Thornton | 10 | 10-02 | 14/1
12th | General Wolfe | Norman Williamson | 10 | 11-01 | 18/1
13th | Suny Bay (IRE) | Graham Bradley | 10 | 11-13 | 12/1
14th | Back Bar | Dean Gallagher | 11 | 10-00 | 200/1 | 1-1/4
15th | Strong Chairman | Robert Thornton | 8 | 10-00 | 50/1
16th | Merry People | Garrett Cotter | 11 | 10-00 | 200/1
17th | Avro Anson | Tony Dobbin | 11 | 10-00 | 40/1
18th | Coome Hill | Stephen Wynne | 10 | 10-11 | 25/1