The First Double Winner of the World's Greatest Race

On a return trip home to Ireland by stagecoach from London in 1827, Henry Osbourne was so impressed by one of the team that he bought the horse for 40 guineas. He named her English Lass and she went on to win many races for him in Ireland.

A colt named Abd-El-Kader was born to English Lass. Known affectionately as Little Ab, he developed into a strong steeplechaser, winning many races in Ireland. Osbourne's son Joe took on the horse's ownership and set his sights on winning the Grand National.

Although known more as a breeder than trainer, Joe devoted his time to training Little Ab for the big race. In 1850, 32 runners assembled at Aintree for the great race. It was the largest field yet in the history of the Grand National and with many proven runners and former winners, Abd-El-Kader was totally ignored as those looking to bet on horse racing focused their attention elsewhere.

The previous year's winner and runner-up, Peter Simple, and The Knight of Gwynne, dominated the first circuit. But as they approached Becher's for the second time, jockey Chris Green brought Abd-El-Kader up the field, passing horse after horse, and as he cleared the brook, he took the lead.

He stayed ahead of the field for the rest of the race and was only challenged at the final fence by The Knight of Gwynne, who made a brave attempt to catch him. Abd-El-Kader held on to win by a length, with Sir John three lengths back in third.

Not only did Little Ab prove himself a winner on his first Grand National attempt, he also set the fastest time yet, completing the race in under 10 minutes.

In 1851, Abd-El-Kader came back to Aintree, this time at 7/1 to break another two records he became the first horse in the race's history to win twice and the first to do so in successive years.

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