This club’s famous for: A Grand National winner sleeping hereSeptember, 2015 The Scoop
Haydock Park housed Tipperary Tim before remarkable victory
Haydock Park on Merseyside was founded way back in 1877, when only nine other courses were in existence in the UK.
Back then, the course adjoined Haydock Park racecourse, so it’s not surprising that the club’s claim to fame stems from the saddle.
Oddly, the club’s buggies were rarely used…
One dark and stormy night in 1928, Irish racehorse Tipperary Tim slept in the stables at Haydock Park, before going out the next day and winning the Grand National.
The 10-year-old, owned by Harold Kenyon, wasn’t exactly fancied, at 100-1, and before the race jockey Bill Dutton was told: “You will only win if all the others fall down Billy Boy.”
Which they did.
Literally… all of them.
Those storms from the night before had led to heavy going and although 42 horses started the race, only two horses finished – and Tipperary Tim came in first place.
Even second-placed Barton Boy fell at the final hurdle, but his jockey was able to remount and finish the race. No one claimed third and fourth place.
A 10-year-old boy, named Peter O’Sullevan, put his first ever bet on Tipperary Tim and when he won, a lifelong love was born and O’Sullevan would go on to become the ‘voice of racing’.
That’s not a bad claim to fame for Haydock Park, but if you were Down Under in the 1930s you’d know the course for an entirely different reason. The club’s professional was Bill Shankland, one of history’s great all-round athletes.
Go on, tell him you disagree
The Australian represented his country in Rugby League, Rugby Union, Swimming and Boxing, and he wasn’t a bad golfer either.
At the Challenge Cup final in 1933, the future Edward VIII greeted Shankland like an old friend and asked how his golf was going. “Fine, sir,” replied Shankland. “How’s yours?”
‘Where’s Bill when you need him?’
In 1939 Shankland finished third at the Open at St Andrews, while at Hoylake in 1947 he led the field until the 16th hole of the final round, only to land in a bunker and take a six.
His assistants at Haydock Park didn’t do too badly either – they were Tony Jacklin and Alex Hay.