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Pipe pays tribute after death of Grand National-winning owner Freddie Starr

Richard Dunwoody, Freddie Starr and Martin Pipe celebrate Miinnehoma's Grand National success
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Comedian Freddie Starr, who achieved a lifetime's ambition when his horse Miinnehoma won the 1994 Grand National, has died at the age of 76.

According to reports, he was found dead inside his house in the Costa Del Sol region of Spain on Thursday night.

The Merseyside-born comic, impressionist, singer and actor was a keen racing enthusiast best known for his association with the Martin Pipe-trained Miinnehoma, who landed the Aintree marathon by a length and a quarter from Just So under Richard Dunwoody.

It was a childhood ambition for Starr to win the race in his home city. "The dream is to see my horse go past the winning post," he said.

Miinnehoma won the 1994 Grand National for owner Freddie Starr
Starr was not at Aintree to witness Miinnehoma's great victory, being in the middle of rehearsals for a TV show. BBC presenter Desmond Lynam, with Martin Pipe in the winner's enclosure, interviewed him over the phone.

Speaking on Friday morning, Pipe said: "It's sad to hear the news. Freddie was a star of an owner, he really was. He sent us Miinnehoma in 1989 and his first words to me were, 'I want to win the Grand National'. I replied, 'The horse hasn't even jumped yet!'

"Freddie had a few other horses with us too. He came and stayed with us and there's a lovely picture on our website of Richard Dunwoody and Freddie with the trophy and me. We always enjoyed his company. He was great fun."

Martin Pipe: "He was great fun"
Pipe added: "Miinnehoma was a decent horse who had won a bumper for Owen Brennan before he came to me.

"He won four races over hurdles under Peter Scudamore and then went novice chasing, ending his season by landing the Sun Alliance.

"He finished seventh to The Fellow in the 1994 Gold Cup before winning the Grand National under a brilliant ride from Richard Dunwoody and went back to Cheltenham to finish third to Master Oats the following year."

Miinnehoma raced from 1989 to 1996, winning 11 of his 25 starts, and earning almost £250,000 in career prize-money.

Starr also owned the Owen Brennan-trained Kouros, who won the valuable Nottinghamshire Novices' Chase in 1987, ridden by the trainer's son Martin Brennan, beating former Triumph Hurdle winner First Bout by half a length.


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The dream is to see my horse go past the winning post
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