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The year was 1946, Friday the 5th April, the first grand national race after the Great War, and Rishton was buzzing!

Captain Robert Petre, one of the members of the Petre family from the Dunkenhalgh estate, was riding that day. Taking leave from his duties in the Scots Guard, Bobby Petre was one of only four amateurs riding in the race that day.

The horses name was Lovely Cottage, number 9 for the race, and had been trained by Tommy Rayson at Winchester. The horses owner was John Morant and had been bought by him for 2,000 in 1944 after being bred in Northern Ireland.

34 horses were to start the race, Prince Regent being the favourite, and Lovely Cottage starting the line up at 7th in the betting at 25/1.

 A lot of money was passed to bookies that day, as the local favourite was placed in faith. The odds on the horse were 10/8.

Lovely Cottage being led back to the winners Enclosure after the race.

Prince Regent led for most of the second circuit but had been surrounded by loose horses throughout. His jockey had to kick on {speed up} on several occasions to lose them and by the last flight the favourite was exhausted. Lovely Cottage passed him on the run in to win by four lengths from rank outsider Jack Finlay.

At the time his win was overshadowed by sympathy for the troubles the beaten favourite {who finished third} had to cope with during the race and many felt that had he not been forced to use up vital energy riding off loose horses he would have won but that was soon forgotten.

Imagine the drinks which were poured that night as the horse passed the finish line in first place!!! Horse 9, Lovely Cottage, ridden by Bobby Petre, at odds of 10/8. The public houses in Rishton were full of people celebrating, while the bookies cried into their beer!

Lovely cottage ran again in 1948 but had lost form and fell {he remounted to finish last of 14 to complete the course} ridden by C Hook.

Bobby Petre also rode in the 1939 and 1947 National's but failed to complete the course on both occasions on St George and Silver Fame respectively.

References

David Hill

Web Sites

Captain Beachers Grand National Site

Official Grand National Site