Few people have contributed to Jump racing and loved and supported the Randox Grand National quite like Trevor Hemmings, who has passed away at the age of 86.
Hemmings was brought up in Woolwich Arsenal, South-East London, where his father worked at the Royal Ordnance factory. He was sent to Lancashire as a five-year-old during World War II and began life as a bricklayer’s apprentice after leaving school aged 15, before becoming involved in the Pontins holiday business. It was during his time working for Pontins that his interest in horseracing and Aintree in particular was sparked, with Sir Fred Pontin owning the 1971 Grand National hero Specify.
His success in business eventually saw him become the owner of Pontins while his myriad of interests over the years included the Blackpool Tower and Winter Gardens, Scottish & Newcastle brewery, Arena Leisure and Preston North End FC, which he rescued from near oblivion in 2010.
Hemmings’ love of Aintree and the Grand National is probably best summed up by the fact he has had at least one runner – and often more - in the race EVERY YEAR since the turn of the century.
Rubika was his first National runner, finishing 14th in 1992, but his lifetime dream was achieved in 2005 when the Willie Mullins-trained Hedgehunter carried his colours to success at Aintree. Hemmings went on to enjoy another two victories in the world’s greatest steeplechase courtesy of Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015). His three Grand National wins are a joint-record for an owner.
Cheltenham was also a happy hunting ground for Hemmings, where his 12 winners at The Festival were headed by dual Ryanair Chase winner Albertas Run. His most recent Festival success came in March of this year courtesy of Vintage Clouds in the Ultima Handicap Chase.
Away from racing he was a philanthropist to the core and was chairman of the TJH Foundation, a charity which makes grants to organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Relief, St John Ambulance, Crimestoppers Trust, Royal National Lifeboat Association, the Injured Jockeys’ Fund and Racing Welfare. In 2011, he was appointed a Commander of the Victorian Order (CVO) for his work as vice-president of the Princess Royal Trust Carers.
Hemmings, who was made an honorary Jockey Club member in December 2006, was based on the Isle of Man. He also owned a number of eventers who were ridden by Zara Phillips and she rode the Hemmings-owned High Kingdom (nicknamed “Trev”) when winning team silver in the three-day eventing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Dickon White, The Jockey Club’s Regional Director for the North West, said: “All of us at The Jockey Club are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Trevor Hemmings.
“His passion for Jump racing was unrivalled and his support for the Randox Grand National was second to none. It was hugely satisfying for everyone to see his support rewarded with a joint-record third Grand National winner six years ago and it is no exaggeration to say that it is due to Trevor’s passion that the great race’s profile remains as high as ever.
“His support of Jump racing went far beyond one race, however, and he was also a major supporter of Haydock Park, where he also enjoyed significant success and was a regular attendee over the years. All our thoughts are with his family and friends at what is an incredibly sad time.”
Trevor Hemmings’ Randox Grand National record
- 1992 Rubika (14th)
- 2000 The Last Fling (7th), Esprit De Cotte (Fell 22nd)
- 2001 The Last Fling (UR 5th), Esprit De Cotte (UR 11th)
- 2002 Goguenard (Fell 1st), Beau (UR 14th)
- 2003 Southern Star (14th), Chives (PU bef 12th)
- 2004 Arctic Jack (Fell 1st), Southern Star (PU bef 9th), Hedgehunter (Fell 30th); 2005 HEDGEHUNTER (WON), Europa (20th)
- 2006 Hedgehunter (2nd), Juveigneur (Fell 1st)
- 2007 Hedgehunter (9th), Billyvoddan (PU bef 19th)
- 2008 Cloudy Lane (6th), Hedgehunter (13th), Idle Talk (14th)
- 2009 Idle Talk (12th), Battlecry (16th), Cloudy Lane (UR 15th)
- 2010 Cloudy Lane (8th)
- 2011 BALLABRIGGS (WON), King Fontaine (11th)
- 2012 Ballabriggs (6th)
- 2013 Ballabriggs (PU bef 24th)
- 2014 Burton Port (UR 2nd), Vintage Star (Pu bef 26th)
- 2015 MANY CLOUDS (WON)
- 2016 Many Clouds (16th)
- 2017 Vicente (Fell 1st)
- 2018 Warriors Tale (PU bef 29th)
- 2019 Vintage Clouds (Fell 1st), Warriors Tale (PU bef 27th), Lake View Lad (PU before 28th)
- 2021 Lake View Lad (Fell 1st), Cloth Cap (PU bef 28th)
Trevor Hemmings’ winners at The Festival™
- 2005 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir H’cap Chase Juveigneur Nicky Henderson Mr Richard Burton
- 2005 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase Trabolgan Nicky Henderson Mick Fitzgerald
- 2007 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Andreas Paul Nicholls Robert Thornton
- 2007 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir H’cap Chase Cloudy Lane Donald McCain Mr Richard Burton
- 2008 Sam Vestey National Hunt Chase Old Benny Alan King Mr Charlie Huxley
- 2008 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase Albertas Run Jonjo O’Neill A P McCoy
- 2010 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir H’cap Chase Ballabriggs Donald McCain Mr Richard Harding
- 2010 Ryanair Chase Albertas Run Jonjo O’Neill A P McCoy
- 2011 Ryanair Chase Albertas Run Jonjo O’Neill A P McCoy
- 2013 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Carrickboy Venetia Williams Liam Treadwell
- 2014 Boodles Juvenile Hcp Hdl (Fred Winter) Hawk High Tim Easterby Brian Hughes
- 2021 Ultima Handicap Chase Vintage Clouds Sue Smith Ryan Mania