Champion’s cancer and Aldaniti’s three leg injuries caused almost everyone to speculate that the team wouldn’t get near the winner’s circle.. The charity has raised millions of pounds for cancer research and Champion continues to raise funds for it to this day.
The two survivors melded on the Aintree Racecourse that April day in 1981. Champion agreed to begin the treatment the very same day.
Champion was soon recovering from his various hardships and back in training. They taught us that, even when things look desperate, success is just over the next fence for those who choose to make the jump.
At only 15 years old, Bob Champion won his first horse race. Bob Champion is one of these natural-born legends, but his courage and dedication are the qualities for which he is most admired.
Champion, born in Yorkshire, England in 1948, was surrounded by riders and hunters from the very beginning. In true Champion fashion, Bob refused to believe that his doctors were correct. Coming in four-and-a-half lengths ahead of the competition, Champion and Aldaniti beat the odds and made history.
The diagnosis wasn’t wrong.
True sporting legends are usually made, not born. He also proved to have a special way with women. Their legacy is a sense of hope for all those who follow in their paths. By that time, he had approximately 500 wins to his credit. Not Bob Champion. He raced in the Grand National eight times after returning to Britain, always keeping his eyes on the big prize. Things looked grim, but he was given a second chance. Doctors gave Champion a maximum of eight months to live, with only a 40 percent chance of survival. These early experiences instilled in him the love of horses and riding that would eventually carry him to a Grand National championship.
Unfortunately, Champion’s treatment had not been easy on his body. The two were a perfect pair: both hard-working, stubborn and recovering from serious health problems. Their victory is one of the most memorable and emotional moments ever to be recorded in horse racing. His tempestuous love affairs were well-known and sometimes amusing to those around him.
In 1979, Bob Champion was diagnosed with testicular cancer. A large-scale infection nearly claimed his life and he was forced to put off his Grand National ambitions temporarily.
Most people who have been diagnosed with cancer and told that they will most likely die within months would take some time away from work. A few greats have been destined for fame since birth though. An extremely aggressive program of chemotherapy, if begun immediately, might just beat the odds. He stubbornly insisted that there was a mistake in the diagnosis.
Champion tried his luck racing in America and continued to enjoy success. His career eventually took him back to Britain, where he had dreams of winning the Grand National. In 1981, he rode Aldaniti in the Grand National. His special way with the horses continued to win him races, as well as respect. He returned to training and racing while still in treatment and set his sights on winning the 1980 Grand National.
Although Aldaniti died in 1997 and Bob Champion retired from training horses in 1999, they are both legends of the horse racing world. His father was an avid huntsman who took young Bob riding frequently. However, his career and life took a major detour on the way to fulfilling his dreams.
After his Grand National championship, Bob Champion continued to race and win until 1983. After leaving racing, he focused his energy on training horses and running the Bob Champion Cancer Trust. After his initial taste of victory, he continued to race on the National Hunt circuit