Carvill’s Hill – Coral Welsh National Winner – 30 Years Ago


23 December 2021

The winner of the Welsh Grand National 30 years ago was the imposing Carvill’s Hill, whose performance that day was one of the best by a staying chaser since Arkle.  Trained by Martin Pipe, ridden by Peter Scudamore and carrying top weight of eleven stone twelve pounds, he bounded straight into the lead and built up a twelve length advantage by the end of the first of the two circuits of the Chepstow track.  A few of his opponents reduced the gap to four lengths halfway along the back straight, only for Carvill’s Hill to accelerate away from them effortlessly.  Galloping on remorselessly he won by 20 lengths, which would have been more but for an error at the final fence.  The future Grand National winner Party Politics was second; Bonanza Boy, twice triumphant in the Welsh National was fourth; and Esha Ness, destined to “win” the void National of 1993, was fifth.   

Carvill’s Hill had won 15 of his 22 races before this stunning display and was made a short-priced favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  His position in the market was cemented by another easy victory at Leopardstown.  However, despite – or perhaps because of his great size – his career was punctuated with jumping lapses and niggling back injuries.   

The 1992 Gold Cup was memorable for the tactics of a 150/1 no-hoper that was ridden to contest the lead with Carvill’s Hill and prevent him from dominating, which he preferred.  It probably wasn’t necessary, for the big horse blundered at the first fence and made other mistakes, to finish a well beaten last of five finishers.  He had collected more injuries as a result of those errors and, despite every attempt by vets and physios, never raced again.  But however disappointing that final run was, nobody who saw his Welsh National win could doubt the magnificence of his accomplishment that day. 

Chepstow Racecourse

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