The Mystery of Devon Loch
Sired by Devonian to the Mare Coolaleen, Devon Loch was born in 1946. He was of prestigious ownership, being owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who was a big horseracing fan.
As a ten year old he won two races in the 1956 season and finished third in the National Hunt Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, priming him for his Aintree Grand national Debut.
Grand National Years
Going off as joint second favourite (along with E.S.B) to Ontray at the rather unsual by todays standards of 100/7, Devon Loch was always in the running. Ridden well by Dick Francis Devon Loch had a five length lead on the run in to the finishing post and looked in a good position to take victory.
But it wasnt to be. And noone know why. Just 40 yards from the finishing line and in the lead, Devon Lock suddenly “jumped an invisible fence” and landed flat on his belly, unable to get up. E.S.B overtook him as did the other eight finishers. Devon Loch failed to finish.
Its never been explained as to why it happened, nor has it ever happened again. Some reports say that Devon Loch suffered a cramp, others say that he was spooked by the shadow of another fence.
Devon Loch retired and lived another six years, sadly being put down in 1962. However, his name and legacy live on as a euphanism for last minute failure, which jockey Dick Francis went on to become a successful novelist, specialising in writing about fictional crimes set within the horse racing world.