Grand National Ultimate History



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For a few years from 1843 the runners were flagged to the outermost limit of the course, up against its boundary, when traversing the small field after BB (any distance added was neglible). Once they began their curve to the left it is certain from this year that there were two hedges (the first of them in a similar spot to the modern-day Foinavon) for the horses to jump before the CT obstacle. The second element (the hedge jumped out of the lane) of the Table Top Jump was removed leaving an incline and a hedge to jump into the lane, the ABC being on raised ground, and merely a downward slope to negotiate out of it. A SW returned, this one 4' high and replacing a flight of hurdles adjacent to the Distance Judge's chair. The width of the water at the WJ now 13' (previously 12').   


(Liverpool & National) We 1 Mar 1843 (3.12) 4m 3f Good to Firm 11.30.00 16 £565 Lord Chesterfield

  1 Vanguard 8 11-10 Lord Chesterfield T. Olliver 12/1   Soon led but headed before BB 1C where 4th. Regained lead CS 1C. Almost joined SW, disputed lead WJ (where 13 remained). Hampered by an unruly Peter Simple at Sunken Lane (2nd element) & lost ground. Rallied to be 2nd from BB 2C until left in lead ABC. Joined between last 2. Great jump last. Driven away.
  2 Nimrod 8 11-00    W. Scott 10/1 3 Prominent, 3rd BB 1C. Same position SW & WJ. Gifted 2nd at Sunken Lane (2nd element) but 3rd again BB 2C where remained until left a close 2nd ABC. Disputed lead between last 2. Not fluent last and slightly faded but hung on for 2nd.
  3 Dragsman 7 11-03   J. Crickmere 10/1 1/2 Soon very prominent and led before BB 1C. Headed CS 1C, 4th at SW & WJ. Gifted lead at Sunken Lane (2nd element) and handy advantage when mistake at bank running up to ABC & swerved sharply left down the lane (possibly leaping a gate). Retraced steps and rallied gamely to almost grab 2nd.
  4 Claude Duval   11-07   J. Tomblin 12/1   Mid-division 1C, 8th WJ. Hampered at Sunken Lane (2nd element) but still midfield BB 2C and chased leaders to beyond ABC. Unable to cose the gap and never really a threat.
41 5 Goblin 12 11-06   B. Bretherton 10/1   Chased leaders, 5th BB 1C. 7th WJ. Hampered by an unruly Peter Simple at Sunken Lane (2nd element) & lost ground. Regained mid-division by BB 2C and chased leaders to beyond ABC. Not able to close gap. Plugged on.
  6 Bucephalus(1) 11 11-05 R. Hunter J. Whitworth NQ   Always mid to rear and no great factor. Plodded on.
39 40 41 42 7 Lottery 13 12-06 G. Dockeray Jem Mason 4/1   Fore of mid-division, 6th BB 1C & WJ. Lost ground in fracas at Sunken Lane but chased leaders, generally in 5th, from BB 2C to VB 2C. Gradually faded thereafter and beaten by ABC. Eased.
41 42 P Peter Simple(grey) 9 13-01   J. Frisby 3/1F LATE 2C Keen, soon very prominent and 2nd at BB 1C. Overpowered rider to almost join leader SW, disputed lead WJ. Went ahead just after but veered violently left & refused at Sunken Lane. Kept going and rallied to be 4th from BB 2C to late CS. Exertions told and began to fade badly from ABC. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
42 F The Returned 9 12-00   Maj D. Campbell 4/1 LATE CS 2C Initially mid-division. Became more prominent by SW where 5th, same position WJ. Had dropped to 6th by BB 2C but up to 4th and seemingly travelling well when fell heavily late CS.
  P The Romp 8 11-00 H. Hollingshead H. Hollingshead NQ CT 2C Refused 1st. Kept going, towards rear. Attained rear of mid-division position by WJ but under pressure. Showing distress early 2C and last of those still going by just after BB. PU before CT.
  P Redwing(1) 8 11-10 L. Byrne T. Doolan NQ BB 2C Away well & chased leaders until fell 1st. Remounted but always well tailed off and ultimately PU immediately after BB 2C.
  P Croxby   11-06   W. McDonough NQ BB 2C Away well but soon dropped into mid-division. Never a factor after. Tailed off SW & WJ. Broke down & PU BB 2C.
  B Teetotum 6 11-07 J. Walsh W. Kennedy NQ SL Mid-division. 7th when BD by Tinderbox SW. Remounted well behind. BD again at Sunken Lane.
  F Tinderbox 6 11-07   G. Moore 10/1 SW Chased leaders until fell SW when in 6th.
  F Victoria(1) 6 11-10 T. Taylor T. Taylor NQ 4TH Prominent until fell 4th.
42 R Consul 11 11-12   F. Oldacre NQ 1ST Mid to rear, refused 1st.



Quicker, rather hard and frosty ground contributed towards a much faster time in 1843. Times generally from this point would compare favourably with those recorded heretofore for a variety of reasons, not least of which was that everything didn't have to lump 12 stone anymore. The first handicap for the Grand National was compiled by E.W. Topham, known as The Wizard because of his skill in the discipline. He also introduced racecards in 1843 and would become the lessee of Aintree racecourse in late 1848, renting from the 3rd Lord Sefton.   

Once again there was a clearly unlucky horse, Dragsman (The Returned cannot be thought of as unfortunate based upon his form in the renewals either side of 1843), as Tom Olliver became the first jockey to claim the National twice. It was a fine victory for Vanguard (especially considering he was one of those hampered by Peter Simple at the Sunken Lane) who won five other chases in his career, however, I don't get the impression from sources that Vanguard warrants a place on my Scroll Of Merit and, indeed, he was handicapped as being a stone inferior to Peter Simple (whom I previously rated -26), excluding the latter's 5lb penalty. Nevertheless, he was Black Tom's favourite - Olliver later made a sofa from Vanguard's hide! Lord Chesterfield was a leading owner on the Flat and obviously not so much of a traditionalist as many of his contemporaries in that code who despised steeplechasing. Peter Simple was unable to curb his headstrong tendencies this year in a renewal that marked Lottery's farewell to Aintree. The latter would taste success for a final time at Windsor in 1844 then become Dockeray's hack, often delighting George's dinner guests by leaping a table. Some sources claim Lottery later became a carthorse in Neasden which, if true, is shameful. The great horse died in the spring of 1851.



Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling