Dick Francis haunted by 1956 Grand National

Dick Francis and Devon Lock World-famous novelist and former jockey Dick Francis opened the new weighing room at Aintree Race Course admitting that, almost 50 years later, his failure to win the National on Devon Lock still haunts him. Rider and horse were near the finish and going well when the noise of the crowd appeared to spook the horse, which then sprawled on the ground after jumping an imaginary obstacle. "Afterwards, I was pursuaded to write my autobiography," Francis told the Aintree.co.uk website. "If it hadn't happened, I might never have written a book and the books have kept the wolves from the door." His next book, based at Cheltenham, is out in September. The new Aintree weighing room is the result of a £30-million development, including both the weighing room and a new greeting and paddock area. Latest betting has last year's winner, Hedge Hunter, as the 6/1 second favourite to win the 2006 race, just behind Clan Royal at 11/2. Visit BlueSquare for latest betting.    

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