Grand National to host The Bob Champion - Legends Aintree Charity Race
PUBLISHED: 12:27 25 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:05 20 February 2013
You can support former jump jockey Bob Champion at a special event during this year's Grand National programme
It is a day Bob Champion will never forget. The champion jump jockey won many big races throughout his career but nothing can compare to the moment 30 years ago when he jumped over the final fence at the famous Aintree Racecourse and took the top prize in the Grand National.
It was an incredible feat under any circumstances but what made his victory even more poignant was that not only was his horse, Aldaniti, recovering from a serious leg injury but Bob was in remission from testicular cancer.
He had battled the disease for several years and his success was viewed by many as a great triumph over adversity.
Bob said: I still remember it very clearly and what a fantastic day that was. The adrenaline was really going. I feel proud, too, that people took real heart from that achievement and it encouraged other people to be determined to fight cancer.
Even now I still get letters from people who tell me that my actions have helped to keep them positive.
To mark this important milestone Bob has organised a special one-off race being held on April 9th, as part of the Grand National. The Aintree Legends Charity Race will feature ten previous winners of the iconic annual meeting including Marcus Armytage, who came first twice, as well as 1972 champion Graham Thorner and Jim Culloty, who took the top spot in 2002.
Bob, who retired from training horses more than ten years ago, will be heavily involved on the day and keeping a close eye on the competitors alongside other racing stars Jonjo ONeill, Mick Fitzgerald and Richard Dunwoody.
The event, which will be the first race on the Grand National card, will raise money in aid of the Bob Champion Cancer Trust he founded in 1983. The trust, which has raised 12 million since it was started, was initially set up to research testicular cancer. But it has now also begun groundbreaking research into prostate cancer.
Just 18 months before Bobs diagnosis there was no cure for testicular cancer. When he started his chemotherapy the survival rate had risen to 50 per cent. Its now an encouraging 90 per cent. This is in no small part down to the work of the trust.
The jump jockey wants people to raise as much money as possible to help cancer sufferers by sponsoring the individual riders in the race.
He said: We need as many peoples support as possible and it will be worth it to see all of those successful riders go against each other. This will be a serous race and the teasing on who is going to win has already started. They will all be very competitive.
The 1981 Grand National was a remarkable day, not just for me, but all of those around the world who gained hope from my victory in their personal battles against cancer. Thirty years on and with the money this race raises, I want to continue to reduce the odds against cancer.
How you can help
You can sponsor a rider in The Legends Aintree Charity Race in a number of different ways.
Or send a cheque and message to
The Bob Champion Cancer Trust, 6 Old Garden House, The Lanterns, Bridge Lane, London, SW11 3AD,
or for card payments or more information call 0207 924 3553.
Bigger and better
Record numbers are expected at this years John Smiths Grand National event. Organisers of the renowned Aintree Racecourse meeting, now in its 164th year, said they are expecting more then 150,000 people over the three days making it the biggest yet and follows the success of last years winner Tony McCoy. He won the world famous race on his 15th attempt and was then awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
Emma Owen from Aintree Racecourse, said: Not only is The Grand National Meeting one of the first spring events in the social calendar, it is also undoubtedly one of the most exciting events of the year, so there is always a real buzz about it.
Couple that with the attention that AP McCoys win brought to the event, combined with an even bigger and better Liverpool Day to start proceedings, and were confident this years event will be one to attend and remember. Theres an extra special feeling about the John Smiths Grand National Festival this year.