Captain Tim Forster OBE was the epitome of the traditional jumps trainer, having no time for the Flat and tolerating hurdle racing only as a preparation for chasing. So it is fitting that Forster gained his biggest successes in the Grand National, steeplechasing's oldest, most gruelling, and most famous race.

Forster's three victories at Aintree put him second only to Fred Rimell's four National wins in the history of the race. And his triumphs with three very different horses exemplifies his mastery of National Hunt training.

He bought Well To Do as an unbroken three-year-old in 1966 and brought him along steadily, never over facing him so that he was unplaced only seven times in seven seasons' racing.

When he landed the Grand National in 1972 Forster became the first owner/trainer to win the National since the Second World War as the horse had been left to him by owner Heather Summer when she died of cancer the previous year.

Quirky Last Suspect was produced at his best on the day that mattered in 1985. The gelding, carrying the colours of Arkle's owner Anne, Duchess of Westminster, sulked and tailed himself off on his previous start and Forster only ran him in the race on the insistence of jockey Hywel Davies. But he defied his 50-1 starting price to catch Mr Snugfit on the run-in and score by a length and half.

In between, Forster was charged with preparing top American chaser Ben Nevis for amateur rider Charlie Fenwick's attempt at the race.

The dual-Maryland Hunt Cup winner was brought down at the Chair on his first visit to Aintree in 1979 but Forster's hard work paid off a year later as the gelding took the prize at the second attempt.

Captain Timothy Arthur Forster, born on February 27, 1934, rode four winners under National Hunt rules as an amateur. After serving in the 11th Hussars from 1954 to 1960, he went to Newmarket as pupil to trainer Geoffrey Brooke whose tuition also helped launch the careers of such as Peter Walwyn, John Oxley, and Nick Vigors. He then moved to become assistant to Derrick Candy before taking out his own licence in August, 1962, with a few boxes owned by Colin Nash, a farmer friend, at Kingston Lisle. When trainer Tom Yates retired through ill health, Forster bought Letcombe Bassett Stables in Wantage which was his base until he moved to Downton near Ludlow in Shropshire in the summer of 1997.

Undoubtedly Forster's greatest feat was to win the 1997 Queen Mother Champion Chase with Martha's Son, who had jumped only two fences in public in the preceding 16 months due to injury.

Of the top chasing prizes only success in the Cheltenham Gold Cup eluded Forster who experienced plenty of misfortune in a race regarded as the sport's blue riband event.

However, Forster's time with a full licence ended on a winning note when his last runner, Albermarle, won a novice chase at Market Rasen on May 30, 1998. He continued to train under permit and his last winner under Rules was Gill'mar at Leicester on January 1.

Loyalty to his staff was a feature of Forster's career and both head lad John Humphreys and travelling head lad Peter Feltham served more than 25 years in their posts having started with him the day he took out a licence.

Forster was also largely responsible for the success of Graham Thorner, who joined the yard as a 15-year-old schoolboy in 1964 and went on to ride most of the stable's winners in the 1970s and became champion jockey in 1970/1.

And he helped launch the career of future champion Richard Dunwoody, who served the latter part of his apprenticeship at the yard.