Tributes paid to Grand National winner and Preston owner Trevor Hemmings

The owner of Preston FC was a huge supporter of National Hunt racing and won the Grand National on three occasions, with Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds

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Grand National: Famous winners

Tributes have been paid to three-time Grand National winner Trevor Hemmings, who has died at the age of 86.

The owner of Preston North End Football club was one of the biggest names in National Hunt racing, with his yellow, green and white colours carried to victory by dozens of successful horses.

Hemmings, known for his love of the Aintree marathon over the famous fences, was thrilled when Hedgehunter gave him his first Grand National trophy in 2005.

He made it two in 2011 with Ballabriggs and followed up four years later when Many Clouds raced to success.

In the most recent renewal, in April, Hemmings’ runner Cloth Cap started favourite but did not complete the course, while his other contender Lake View Lad fell.

Hemmings, a former bricklayer who became one of the richest men in Britain, often had more than 100 racehorses with UK trainers each season.

Grand National winner parade with Ballabriggs, his trainer Donald McCain and owner Trevor Hemmings (left)



At his peak, he had more than 300 runners during the jumps campaign, which primarily takes place in the winter months.

He had scaled back his operation of late, but still enjoyed 24 winners in 2020-21 plus a Cheltenham Festival triumph when Vintage Clouds struck in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

Hemmings bought a controlling interest in Preston FC in June 2010, to resolve the Lancashire club’s debt problems at the time.

Preston announced the sad news that he had passed away on Monday evening.

It read: “Preston North End Football Club can sadly confirm the devastating news that its owner Trevor Hemmings CVO has passed away this evening 11th October 2021.

“A further statement will be made in the coming days but in the meantime his family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”

Trevor Hemmings and Zara Tindall pictured at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival



Social media tributes to the billionaire businessman have poured in from former employees and racing fans who enjoyed watching his horses compete.

Born in London and raised in Leyland near Preston, Hemmings is survived by his wife Eve and their four children.

Sue Smith, who sent out 131 winners for him over the years, more than any other trainer, said: “Very sad news this evening. A great owner but more importantly a great friend.”

Donald McCain, the trainer of Grand National winner Ballabriggs, said on Twitter : “Shocked and saddened to hear that Mr Hemmings passed away yesterday, a gentleman and a huge support to myself and my family for many years, there can be no bigger loss to National Hunt racing #Ripmrhemmings.”

Jockey Tom Scudamore, who gave Hemmings one of his last big victories on Cloth Cap in the 2021 Ladbrokes Trophy, said: “Very sad to hear the passing of Trevor Hemmings. A gentleman to deal with and one of jump racing’s greatest supporters. Condolences to his family. RIP.”

AP McCoy, with 30 winners to his name in the iconic colours including Cheltenham Festival hero Albertas Run, said: “Desperately sad news that Trevor Hemmings has died. I’m very proud to have worn his iconic colours on many wonderful days. He was a great friend to many but a greater friend to our sport and that of his beloved @pnefc thoughts with all his family & friends.”

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls said: “Incredibly sad to learn of the passing of Mr Hemmings. A truly fantastic supporter of National Hunt racing for decades who will be sorely missed. All of team Ditcheat’s thoughts are with Mr Hemmings’ closest family & friends. May he rest in peace.”

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