Martin Pipe, who won the Grand National with Miinnehoma for Freddie Starr, has paid tribute to the comedian following news of his death at the age of 76.
Merseyside-born Starr had stated to Pipe soon after buying Miinnehoma that one of his lifetime’s ambitions was to win the Grand National – and in 1994 the dream came true with Richard Dunwoody in the saddle.
“When Miinnehoma won the National he conducted an interview with Des Lynam over the phone as he wasn’t there, but that was Freddie, always different,” said Pipe.
“When he sent us Miinnehoma the first thing he said to me was that he wanted to win the Grand National!
“I told him to hang on a minute, the horse hadn’t jumped a twig and had only won a bumper! It was a miracle what happened really.
“He was a very good horse with a touch of class, he was only 11-1 to win the Gold Cup on his run before the National and of course he won a SunAlliance Chase.
“It was a great thrill for Freddie, just a shame he wasn’t there as he was working. I suppose he was doing his job while I was doing mine.”
He added: “Freddie loved his racing, so I bet he regretted not being there for the National. He didn’t actually have many horses, so to win a National when that was what he wanted – he was very lucky.
“When he came to stay with us it was great fun – very interesting, but he was a real star.”