Four stamps and a Miniature Sheet will be issued by Jersey Post on 11 April 2013 to remember Corbiere’s Grand National win in 1983.
Corbiere is fondly remembered by the people of Jersey as he was named after the island’s famous lighthouse and hundreds of locals backed the thoroughbred to win the great race at Aintree. Jockeyed by Ben de Haan, Corbiere was the first Grand National Winner to be trained by a woman, Jenny Pitman. He won by ¾ of a length, beating Greasepaint and Yer Man to the finishing post.
Following Corbiere’s victory in 1983, he came third in the Grand National for two years in a row, fell in his fourth successive entry and came twelfth in his fifth and final appearance. This record put him alongside West Tip as one of the greatest horses of the Aintree racecourse of the 1980s, following on from the great Red Rum.
Jersey Post’s Philatelic Product Manager, Melanie Gouzinis, explained: “I contacted Jenny Pitman in 2010 to find out about the connection between Corbiere and Jersey.” Corbiere was named after the lighthouse because of the white blaze on his face. He was owned by Bryan Burrough, the great grandson of the First Lord Trent, Jesse Boot, founder of Boots The Chemist. Jesse Boot had married a local girl, Florence Booth and together, they gifted significant park and recreational land to the people of Jersey. “Jenny Pitman, Bryan Burrough and Ben de Haan were all delighted to assist us with our research. Bryan provided personal photographs which were used for artistic reference and Jenny wrote exclusive text which is printed on the First Day Cover envelopes and Presentation Packs. ”
Corbiere was remembered with such fondness that when he sadly passed away in 1988, his death was reported on the main BBC news. Jenny Pitman believed him to be a horse of great courage, explaining: “He was not the fastest by any means but with an undeniable strength of character, he was as brave as a lion and his enthusiasm for life warmed your heart on the bleakest winter day. His exuberance out at exercise, bucking and kicking at the end of a morning’s work as he made his way back home from the gallops, required the patience of a saint and his devoted rider, Gary Curran, pandered to his every whim. No horse I’ve trained loved life more than Corky.”
Following the Grand National win, Bryan Burrough brought Corbiere over to Jersey to parade him at the Jersey Race Club and to take him to see the famous lighthouse after which he had been named. Following a photo shoot, Mr Burrough commissioned a portrait to be painted of Ben de Haan and Corbiere at the lighthouse and it is this image which gave inspiration for the Miniature Sheet illustration. The stamps have been painted by artist Nick Watton, his first commission for Jersey Post, and they can be viewed and bought online at: www.jerseystamps.com