George Ede-Edwards was one the most notable jockeys in the history of the Grand National, and his story is a mixture of glory and tragedy. In his youth Ede-Edwards attended a public school at Abingdon where he was introduced to a host of sports and was found to excel at cricket. George Ede-Edwards also learnt the art of horse riding at Abingdon, and upon leaving school was considered to be a well rounded sportsman.
George Ede-Edwards’ first involvement in sport as an adult was as a cricket player for Hampshire County Cricket Club. His ability soon earned him the captaincy of his side from 1864 to 1869. Not all of his sporting energy was directed into cricket, Ede-Edwards also fancied himself as an amateur jockey and soon became involved in horseracing.
Using the pseudonym ‘Mr Edwards’, George Ede-Edwards competed in the Grand National several times without meeting with success. To make matters worse in early 1868 Ede-Edwards was unseated during a race and sustained life threatening injuries. Yet within weeks Ede-Edwards, Grand National legend, had made a miraculous recovery and in April entered the Grand National with The Lamb.
The Lamb was no stranger to adversity either, and although his potential was obvious, many thought the Grey was too small to compete in the Grand National. After training with the Grey for several weeks, George Ede Edwards took The Lamb to victory in the 1868 Grand National, becoming the first jockey to win the race on a grey.
George Ede-Edwards competed in one more Grand National before a fateful meeting after that race led to a chain of events that would ultimately cost him his life. Following the Grand National Ede-Edwards was asked by a trainer to race his horse Chippenham at the Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree the following day.
George-Ede Edwards’ friends advised him not to participate in the race as Chippenham was rumoured to be an aggressive, temperamental horse. Nevertheless, Ede-Edwards, on the verge of retirement decided to run one more race.
Ede-Edwards was unseated by Chippenham at the 15th fence and both rider and horse fell. Although Ede-Edwards survived the fall, he was unfortunate to find himself in Chippenham’s path as the horse tried to rise. Chippenham stumbled into Ede-Edwards, crushing his chest. George Ede-Edwards spent the next three days fighting for his life before succumbing to his injuries.
A painting by artist Harry Hall featuring George Ede-Edwards riding The Lamb.