Marcus Armytage Nowadays best known as racing correspondent at the ‘Daily Telegraph’, Marcus Armytage was, nonetheless, an accomplished amateur jockey, who rode 100 winners between 1981 and 2000. Indeed, ‘Mr. M. Armytage’, as his name appeared on the race card, recorded three victories at the Cheltenham Festival, winning the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup on Tug Of Gold and the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup on Keep Talking in 1992 and the latter race, again, on Christmas Gorse in 1994.

However, Armytage rose to prominence when, in 1990, he rode Mr. Frisk to win the Grand National and, in so doing, became the last amateur jockey to win the celebrated steeplechase. On unseasonably firm going, the eleven-year-old tracked Uncle Merlin as far as Becher’s Brook on the second circuit, at which point the leader parted company with his jockey, Hywel Davies. Left in the lead, Mr. Frisk made the best of his way home and, although challenged by Durham Edition on the famously long run-in, held on well to win by three-quarters of length in a new course record time. Even more remarkably, Mr. Frisk and Armytage turned out again for the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown Park three weeks later and won again, making all the running to beat Durham Edition by eight lengths.

Born in Oxford in 1964, Marcus Armytage is the son of late dual Scottish National-winning trainer Roddy Armytage, who was based in East Isley, near Lambourn, Berkshire. Armytage Jnr. was still a student at Eton College when he had his first ride in public, failing to complete the course on the 13-year-old Brown Jock, trained by his father, in the Peter Cazalet Challenge Trophy Chase at Plumpton on November 21, 1981. However, his father did provide him with his first winner, Rocamist, in the Shutlanger Chase at Towester on February 15, 1984.

Eddie Ahern Eddie Ahern is a former Group One-winning jockey, whose career effectively ended in May, 2013, when he was found guilty, by a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary panel, of three serious breaches of the Rules of Racing and ‘warned off’ for ten years. Aherne, 35, was supported by the Professional Jockeys’ Association (PJA) in his appeal against the decision and the severity of the punishment handed down, but lost.

Born in Co. Tipperary in 1977, Ahern rode his first winner, Ardlea House, at Dundalk in November, 1994, a month or so shy of his seventeenth birthday. Three years later, in 1997, he became Irish Champion Apprentice with 36 winners. Two years later still, in 1999, he rode his first Group One winner, Preseli, trained by Michael Grassick, in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. The following year he achieved his best seasonal total in Ireland, 46, but in 2002 moved to Newmarket, increasing his tally to 84, 107, 111, 120 and 140 winners in consecutive seasons.In September, 2011, Ahern rode his second Group One winner, Duncan, trained by John Gosden, who dead-heated with Jukebox Jury in the Irish Field St. Leger at the Curragh.

However, the previous January, he had already ridden the horse on which he would be found guilty of not obtaining the best possible placing, Judgethemoment, trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, in the lowly Class 6 Felbridge Handicap at Lingfield. In the two-mile contest, Ahern set off like the proverbial ‘scalded cat’, spreadeagling the field, but his mount inevitably weakened in the final half-a-mile, dropping out to finish last of the seven runners, beaten 35ΒΌ lengths and fully15 lengths behind the sixth horse home. Ahern claimed that he had simply ‘misjudged’ the pace, but the BHA did not accept that he ‘could have made an error of such an extent’ and banned him accordingly. In his 19-year career, Ahern he had ridden 1,252 winners.