My dad was a jockey icon who caused one of the biggest Grand National upsets ever – now I'm making millions as a rider | The Sun

YOU know you're a special jockey when people line the streets to celebrate your success.

James Davies is probably too young to remember it.

But there he was, back in 1985, being cradled by his mother as the three of them got cheered through the town of Cardigan in Wales.

His old man was returning a Grand National legend after causing one of the biggest upsets ever.

But in truth, it was a miracle he was even there at all.

Few jockeys can claim to have had a career that defied the odds to quite the extent Hywel Davies did.

And for all his 50-1 upset on Last Suspect in the 1985 Grand National made him, it was a fall a few months earlier that, for a brief moment, actually killed him.

Davies was riding Solid Rock at Doncaster when he came down at the final fence.

He was rushed to hospital but en route his heart stopped beating a number of times.

In his own words, he 'died for a bit'.

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With his life in the balance, he had to be resuscitated a number of times by a racecourse medical officer who had, fortunately, travelled with them.

Davies recovered and was given the ride on the unfancied Last Suspect in the National that April for 'pessimistic' trainer Captain Tim Forster.

One of the biggest trainers of the time and three-time National winner, Captain Forster always had a strong line up for the Aintree race.

But punters didn't want to know about Last Suspect… until they simply couldn't ignore him when he powered home to win by one-and-a-half lengths from 12-1 chance Mr Snugfit.

BBC cameras were in Cardigan to capture Davies' homecoming – his own sort of mini-open top bus parade, where a shire horse pulled a carriage round the town.

But it wasn't just the National that made Davies one of the top jockeys of his time.

He won Grade 1s for fun, collecting the 1986 Whitbread Gold Label Cup (now the Betway Bowl) and the 1989 Hennessey Gold Cup (now the Coral Gold Cup).

Then in 1990 he won the Champion Chase at Cheltenham Festival on Barnbrook Again.

Davies retired from racing in 1994 at the relatively young age of 37. He amassed a brilliant record of 761 wins over 16 years in the saddle.

Now the family's racing name rests on the shoulders of son James.

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He will do well to reach his old man's tally but in fairness he has 307 victories throughout his career and last season enjoyed one of his best in the saddle with prize money earnings of £230,000.

Throughout his career he's won more than £2.6million – and no doubt done his dad proud along the way.

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