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Three-time Grand National-winning owner Trevor Hemmings dies at the age of 86

Trevor Hemmings: owner of Ballabriggs (left) and Hedgehunter has died at the age of 86
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Trevor Hemmings, whose famous green, yellow and white colours were carried to Grand National glory by Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds, has died at the age of 86.

The much-respected owner and billionaire businessman was one of jump racing's most familiar and biggest supporters and his death was confirmed in a statement released by Preston North End, the football club owned by Hemmings since 2010, on Monday night.

The memorable victories of Hedgehunter in 2005, Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015) etched Hemmings' name into Grand National history as the joint-most successful owner ever in the race, but he also enjoyed great success with a host of other high-profile jumps stars for many of Britain and Ireland's top trainers.

The news prompted an outpouring of tributes from across the racing industry with Oliver Sherwood, the trainer of Many Clouds, describing Hemmings as "a legend in jump racing" and "Mr Aintree".

Trevor Hemmings (left) with jockey Jason Maguire (centre) and Donald McCain after winning the 2011 Grand National with Ballbriggs

Tributes were awash on social media with Aintree tweeting: "Desperately sad news to hear of the passing of three times Grand National winning owner and true friend of Aintree and @TheJockeyClub, Trevor Hemmings. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time."

The Nicky Henderson-trained Trabolgan became Hemmings' first Grade 1 winner when landing the 2005 RSA Chase before the superb Albertas Run, trained by Jonjo O'Neill, provided Hemmings with wins at three Cheltenham Festivals, including a Ryanair Chase double in 2010 and 2011.

Sir Anthony McCoy, who rode Albertas Run in each of his four Grade 1 victories, wrote: "Desperately sad news that Trevor Hemmings has died. I'm very proud to have worn his iconic colours on many wonderful days. He was a great friend to many but a greater friend to our sport and that of his beloved @pnefc thoughts with all his family and friends."

Trainer Alan King said: "I was shocked and saddened when I heard the news. Trevor was a great supporter of the game. I've been lucky enough to train for him for the last 14 or 15 years and it was always an honour to have a few horses for him.


Trevor Hemmings obituary: from working-class Lancashire lad to billionaire tycoon


"We had a Cheltenham Festival winner with Old Benny and Pangbourne won the bumper on Grand National day, which was another thrill. He'll be greatly missed across the whole of the industry."

Last year's Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloth Cap, also trained by O'Neill and named after the headgear invariably worn by the owner, was sent off the 11-2 favourite to give Hemmings an unprecedented fourth Grand National victory in April but was pulled up before the third-last fence.

Hemmings scaled back the size of his racing operation last September, selling 56 horses after being hit hard financially by the Covid-19 pandemic, yet he still enjoyed a superb season on the track with 24 winners from 101 runners giving him a 24 per cent strike-rate.

Vintage Clouds became the last of 12 Cheltenham Festival triumphs when striking in the Ultima Handicap Chase in March, while Lake View Lad, Sayce Gold and Cloth Cap also provided Hemmings with Graded victories in the last 12 months.

Many Clouds: won the 2015 Grand National at odds of 25-1 under Leighton Aspell

In addition to his Grand National triumph, the Oliver Sherwood-trained Many Clouds provided Hemmings with some of his most memorable days on the course with victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2014 before tragically passing away in the immediate aftermath of his second Cotswold Chase victory in 2017.

Hemmings sent his horses to dozens of British and Irish trainers over the years but enjoyed his most regular success with West Yorkshire-based handler Sue Smith. Together, they shared 131 winners from more than 800 runners.


Watch: Many Clouds wins the 2015 Grand National


Social media tributes


Read more on Trevor Hemmings:

Trainers salute 'Mr Aintree' following death of National legend Trevor Hemmings

Trevor Hemmings: I got on well with Ginger but he and I would have clashed

The remarkable facts and figures behind Trevor Hemmings' racing achievements

Trevor Hemmings: hard-nosed in business but patience of a saint with his horses (Members' Club)


 

I'm very proud to have worn his iconic colours on many wonderful days. He was a great friend to many but a greater friend to our sport
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