Half-time call at Wembley began Hogan’s Height Grand National journey

As England took the lead in their World Cup qualifier at Wembley, Dan Abraham scored his own goal in the stands.

Dialling in to a sale at the home of the Cheltenham Festival, the racehorse owner hit the winning bid for Hogan's Height.

As the hammer came down at £26,000, a minuscule sum in the jump racing world, Abraham was excited to see how far he could go for his syndicate Foxtrot Racing.

But never in his wildest dreams did he believe his half-time phone call, before England netted two more goals to defeat Scotland in November 2016, would lead to the Randox Grand National.

Hogan's Height has already won over the famous Aintree fences – and has 20 owners, who include a roofer and housekeeper, dreaming of a fairytale result on Saturday.

"When I was in my seat at Wembley with my finger in my left ear bidding for Hogan's Height at Wembley, I didn't imagine one day we would one day be talking about him as a Grand National horse," said Abraham.

"We are taking on millionaires at Aintree with our inexpensive purchase."

Abraham plumped for the son of Indian River because he had shown a useful level of ability in point-to-points without winning.

Horses with a first to their name in their sphere can attract six-figure bids – so his new owner was willing to take a chance at a bargain price.

Hogan's Height ran a couple of decent races over hurdles, but he really started to bloom when faced with fences.

Grand National 2021




"He loves jumping and won three times in his first season," Abraham said.

"But then we had a dilemma because he was high in the handicap, so we reluctantly sent him to the sales in May 2019.

"He didn't attract a single bid. We came home and thought of a plan B."

Trainer Jamie Snowden aimed high – and a crack at the 2019 Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, over the National course, soon became a reality.

He had a prep run over hurdles at the Liverpool venue, before tackling the big race that December.

Syndicate member Nigel Brown, 60, was left stunned as the 16-1 shot romped to victory.

"He didn't touch a twig," he said.

"It was unbelievable. We were so proud."

His enthusiastic posse of owners, who paid just £1,300 for a share and similar in training costs each year, cheered him on from the track.

Affordable syndicates for fans are on the rise – and RacehorseClub has just bought into two National rivals to Hogan's Height, Potters Corner and Balko Des Flos.

Dream Alliance, a runner in the 2010 renewal, came from similar humble beginnings – and with 30 fences to cross, Foxtrot Racing devotees hope there is another twist to their tale.

"It's butterflies in the tummy time now," said Alison Bosworth, 69.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing last time. It was amazing.

"He really is our dream horse."

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