Bob Champion is celebrating his 40-year anniversary since he and Aldaniti won the Grand National by completing 40 walks
Grand National-winning jockey, Bob Champion has created the ‘40 for 40 challenge’ to mark 40 years since he and Aldaniti won the world’s most famous race. Recognising the 191 days he spent in hospital undergoing treatment for testicular cancer, Bob has targeted 191 miles. He started by walking two circuits of the National course on 11th April and will finish in Findon, Aldaniti’s racing home on 15th May. The exact route can be found here.
Bob said: “I’d always thought Aldaniti could win the National and wanting to ride him in that kept me going. When I finally got out of hospital, I was 8st 6lbs – and could have been a Flat jockey – but worse than that, I couldn’t feel my hands and feet, which is terrible for a rider. It was like they were in concrete, and I’d lost a lot of lung capacity. Owners didn’t want me anymore, they thought I was gone.”
The Bob Champion Cancer Trust was founded in 1983 after Bob and Aldaniti won the 1981 Grand National. The Trust raises funds for the Bob Champion Cancer Research Laboratory, which is part of the largest male dedicated research facility in Europe. The charity also supports the research team at the Bob Champion Research and Education Building at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, Norfolk. This year, like many other charities they have not been able raise to their usual levels owing to the COVID pandemic.
Aldaniti had also faced adversity having broken down four times. Bob stated: “I knew if we could get him to the start line, he could win,” and he did.