Sportspeople often toil their whole career without reaching the pinnacle but the difference between jockey John White and his namesake Jimmy, the perennial snooker bridesmaid, is that he had that elusive taste of success, albeit briefly, only to have it prised from his grasp just as quickly.
Crossing the finish line of the Aintree Grand National in front is the National Hunt racing dream but White's cheers quickly turned to tears in the 1993 edition when it became apparent that all was not right just seconds after guiding 50/1 chance Esha Ness to victory.
One moment he was a Grand National-winning jockey who had forged his place in jumps history forever, the next he was a trivia question and remembered as the successful pilot in 'The National that never was'.
One of the National's greatest charms is its inherent unpredictability and the world's greatest steeplechase was declared void 27 years ago after an extraordinary sequence of events which left White heartbroken.
"Other people talk about it a lot, but I don't think about it now," White says of one of the most embarrassing and farcical episodes in racing's history from his Wexford home in Bannow.
White was front and centre but there was no need for him to be. Tension was already in the Liverpool air after an animal rights protest in front of the first fence of the 4m4f marathon turned up the heat, while a false start added more nervous energy.
Captain Keith Brown - a former army officer on his final day as Aintree's starter - tried again and 30 of the 39 runners would set off despite several other horses getting tangled in the starting tape, which ended up around Richard Dunwoody's neck.
Things went from bad to worse for Brown - who left the racecourse via police escort amid hissing boos and was dubbed Captain Calamity - when the recall flag was not waved and the bulk of the field raced as normal.
Legendary commentator Peter O'Sullevan called the action but the worldwide television audience of 300 million knew that the race would not stand and it still irks White that some questioned the jockey's honesty.
"I've listened to a lot of people saying, 'You must have known the race was going to be void', but that's a load of rubbish. If I'd known that then I would have stopped him because it might have been restarted again an hour later or the day after," he says.
"And I wouldn't have been going around there and not wanting to get paid for it, I'm not going around there for nothing. If I'd thought that there was some problem, I would have pulled up. It's like my old English teacher told me about 'a lot of empty vessels making a lot of noise'.
"I didn't think there was anything wrong. You're not going for a ride in the park like, there's people everywhere and you can't see everything."
White - dubbed 'The Quiet Man' of the weighing room - was not one for talking during a National and that was one of the reasons he was booked for Jenny Pitman's 10-year-old having made it around safely in his seven previous National efforts, finishing second on The Tsarevich in 1987.
'Tunnel vision' when tackling the unique Aintree obstacles meant that White only learned of a problem just seconds after the yellow and green silks of owner Patrick Bancroft had been first past the post. White, 33 at the time, put his head in his hands in devastation when jockey Dean Gallagher raised concern but "chaos" afterwards meant that the result was up in the air as his valet John Buckingham - who famously won the 1967 National on 100/1 shot Foinavon - ensured that he tried to weigh out as usual.
"No one knew what was going on. John was adamant that I weigh in. When you walk into the weighing room from the parade ring and past the scales, you've lost the race then because you can't go past the scales if you win a race anywhere," he says.
When White's worst nightmare was confirmed, he was "very down" and shared a pint with Bancroft before parting ways as both considered what might have been with the fiasco forcing bookies to refund £75m.
White doesn't blame anyone - his father John Snr is a little more blunt in his choice of words towards officials - but he has only watched the race back once and it took some time to recover from missing out on his winning cheque for £11,500.
"I don't think about it now at all but I thought about it then I can tell you," the 60-year-old jokes. "I don't blame anyone but it's a long way around and surely it would have been very easy to put 10 men across the track going to the last or do something to stop us.
"I was getting to the end of my career and you wouldn't have too many more chances at it so it (what I missed out on) definitely crossed my mind. You could wait a lifetime and only have one good shot at winning the National and he did it in the second fastest time ever.
"I haven't been back since I rode in my last National. I didn't get an invitation, they mustn't like me," he quips.
Esha Ness didn't make it back the following year but the pair were reunited for the 1995 renewal, although they parted ways at the 12th fence and White would return to Ireland not long after where he trains at the southern tip of the sunny south-east.
Today marks the first time a National will not take place since that infamous day with Tiger Roll denied his chance to go where no horse has gone before and land three successive renewals, so Pitman can relate to how trainer Gordon Elliott feels.
The trailblazing Pitman - the first woman to train a National winner when Corbiere scored in 1983 before she added a second 12 years later with Royal Athlete - was nearly driven to breaking point by the affair.
"In your heart of hearts you know it can't be a proper race, you know it's going to be void, you know it can't stand but you still cling on to that hope that maybe there's a reason that they'll let it stand," she recalls.
"I was in the weighing room and by the clerk of the scales and someone got me a chair to sit on. My sister came in and she looked haunted. She gave me a hug and I just said, 'I can't do this anymore'. You normally don't let that type of thing escape from your mouth but that's how I felt."
While Esha Ness will be remembered in National folklore much like the luckless Devon Loch (which infamously sprawled to the ground strides from the finish with the 1956 running at his mercy) Pitman was forced to quickly make peace with any sense of injustice as reality hit. "There was a dear little boy at Aintree that day and I'd done an interview along with him for Des Lynam (BBC). He was with the Starlight Children's Foundation who give kids with terminal illnesses the wish of their life," the 73-year-old says with emotion in her voice.
"Peter Scudamore was his favourite jockey and I was his favourite trainer. And I'd promised that kid, David was his name, that he could lead in any of our horses if we won the Grand National and then that happened.
"That little boy came to Lambourn for the open day the following Friday (Good Friday) and he had a buffet lunch with us but he died the following Tuesday, that's the reality of what we feel as an emotional loss because we've had a dream of a horse running in a Grand National.
"But there was a little boy who was very poorly on National day and lost his life just a few days later. That put it into perspective. When you look at hardship in your life, you've got to take off your rose-coloured glasses and look at what's happening around you. That's true now more an ever."
Pitman is synonymous with the National after a stellar training career which broke boundaries but she knows there are more important things at stake right now.
And while White was denied his place on the roll of honour, it seems of little relevance given the grander scheme of things amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's terrible times and there's going to be troubled times ahead," White says. "A void National isn't much compared to what's going on now."