Frank Nash, hero of two Champion Chases on Drinny's Double, dies at 79
Frank Nash, who enjoyed back-to-back wins of what we now know as the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Bob Turnell's Drinny's Double in the late 1960s among a career total of just 29 successes, died on Tuesday. He was 79.
'Bonky' Nash, a six-time stable lads' boxing champion in an era when the finals were held in the Albert Hall, had the bad luck to be at Turnell's at the same time as Johnnie Haine and Jeff King, and just as the trainer's precociously gifted son Andy was emerging, hence his lack of opportunity.
However, the Paul Mellon-owned Drinny's Double was "wild and very headstrong" according to Andy Nash, one of Frank's six children, and nobody else got on with him.
Nash had ridden just 22 winners, including one on the Flat while apprenticed to Sir Gordon Richards, when Drinny's Double got up in the last 100 yards to beat Pawnbroker in the 1967 National Hunt Two Mile Champion Chase.
Surprisingly perhaps, it was no springboard to better things as he had partnered just three more by the time the pair returned 12 months later to account for Border Grace.
Andy Nash recalled: "When Drinny's Double went back the second time Dad had been concussed the day before at Newton Abbot. Apparently Paul Mellon said that if Frank can't ride he doesn't run, so Dad rode and they won again. He always said, though, that the horse somehow knew he wasn't well that day."
Nash, who went 12 months before riding another winner, enjoyed his final success on Miss Step at Wincanton on Boxing Day, 1969. He went on to work for Peter Makin, with whom he stayed for 24 years, and for Roger Charlton.
Charlton said: "Frankie worked for us for over seven years and was a lovely guy. I'd known him a bit as Bonky Nash when he was riding for Bob Turnell and he was a very good horseman.
"He was always polite and respectful, and he was someone you would be always be happy to pass the time of day with. He'll be missed."
Nash leaves a wife, Wendy, and children Shelley, Andrew, Alison, Eamonn, Emma and Laura.