Grand National Ultimate History



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Two of the ploughed fields were laid with turf. Some of the posts and rails in front of the ditch & small earth bank obstacles were removed. It seems certain there was only one hurdle to finish this year (as may have been the case for the previous couple of renewals).


(Liverpool & National) We 5 Mar 1845 (5.00) 4m 3f Good to Soft 10.47.00 15 £585 W. Sterling Crawford

  1 Cure-All 7 11-05 K. Crisp W. Loft NQ   Tracked leaders 1C, 5th (of 13) WJ. 4th early 2C. Well adrift of leader CS but found better ground than rivals on narrow footpath between plough and canal and made further headway after ABC to be a close up 4th at last. Took lead soon after. Ran on well.
41 42 43 44 2 Peter Simple(grey) 11 11-12   J. Frisby 9/1 2 Away well & prominent. Took 2nd before BB 1C, 4th WJ. 3rd early 2C. A good way adrift of leader CS but made headway after ABC to be a close up 3rd at last. Took 2nd soon after. Ran on.
  3 The Exquisite 10 11-00 L. Byrne L. Byrne NQ 2 Away well & very prominent until led circa 4th. Still ahead WJ. Extended lead CS 2C, 15+L to the good ABC. Soon began to fade and under severe pressure to maintain 1L advantage last where mistake. Headed soon after, no more to give.
44 4 Tom Tug 9 10-02   J. Crickmere 5/1   Mid-division 1C. Headway to become very prominent early 2C. In 2nd but a fair way adrift of leader CS, however, made further progress after ABC to be just 1L down at last. Began to fade immediately after but finished a close up 4th.
43 P Vanguard 10 12-10 T. Olliver T. Olliver 4/1F RUN IN Away well & soon led. Headed circa 4th. Had dropped to 6th by WJ. 5th early 2C but unable to regain former prominence. Well beaten when PU after last.
  P Ceremony   11-00   T. Abbot NQ LATE 2C Never better than mid-division. Little impact. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
  P Peter Swift   10-12   H. Powell 9/1 LATE 2C Mid-division until UR VB 1C. Remounted but always towards rear thereafter. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
43 44 P Nimrod 10 10-08   J. French 9/1 LATE 2C Prominent BB 1C. 2nd WJ. Began to fade early 2C. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
  P Boxkeeper   11-04   J. Bradley NQ LATE 2C Generally in mid-division until headway during customary mad dash for WJ where 3rd. 6th early 2C and remained fairly prominent until fell at the fence before CT. Remounted & passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
43 44 P The Romp 10 10-04   J. Thompson NQ LATE 2C Always towards rear. No impact whatsoever. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
  P The Stranger   10-10   J. Hill 9/1 LATE 2C Always towards rear and tailed off by mid CS 1C. Well so by WJ. Lumbered on. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
  P Brilliant   10-04   W. Noble 10/1 LATE 2C Away well & very prominent. Still handy when refused VB 1C. Eventually persuaded to keep going. Well tailed off WJ. Remained so 2C. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
  R The Page   11-10 W. Holman snr W. Holman snr 7/1 EARLY 2C Prominent until put off by Brenda's antics at the 2nd & refused. Kept going, well behind. Fell 4th. Remounted, completely tailed off. Utterly so by WJ. Refused definitively early 2C.
  F Clansman   11-06 J. Kelly J. Kelly 12/1 WJ Mid-division until fell heavily WJ. Broke back. Dead.
  RO Brenda 8 11-07   J. Abbott 6/1 2ND Away well & very prominent until turned sideways upon landing over the 2nd and knocked over before could complete the act of bolting & running out.



The race started much later than had previous renewals due to the hearing of a protest by two owners about the condition of the course. Liverpool had been subjected to successive nights of hard frost nipping at the heels of a period of heavy rain and whilst the two converted fields added to the grass content the majority of the course was still plough. Furthermore, the new stretches of turf had been cut up by farmers accessing their working fields. The going description of Good to Soft that I have applied is an educated guess (bearing in mind the winning time) and one which perhaps best serves to encompass the variety of ground states traversed by the horses in 1845: fallow plough; churned up turf; uneveness; hard where not fully thawed; gluey where defrosted. Ultimately, the owners voted by overwhelming majority to go ahead. One of the dissenters withdrew his intended runner while the other, ironically, found himself with the winner (albeit leased from its rider).

Cure-All, inexperienced and heretofore not a good jumper, became the unlikeliest Grand National victor so far. However, although not quoted in the final betting he had been declined at 15/1, therefore, in common with future unquoted winners, he cannot be considered as big an outsider as later 100/1 (or even 66/1) shots who triumphed. A rather short-legged and coarse looking animal, Cure-All was strong. Undoubtedly Kitty Crisp, described as Cure-All's groom, was responsible for the horse's training. He had nursed Cure-All back to health following a fall and walked his charge over 100 miles to Aintree from the Lincolnshire farm of erstwhile and future owner William Loft who retained the ride. An enthusiastic huntsman but novice steeplechase jockey, Loft displayed incredible savvy to spot and later employ the better strip of ground alongside the canal. Combined with a well timed challenge his nous probably made the difference in a competitive four way denouement, poor old Peter Simple foiled again. The wildness of regulation that applied to Jump racing in this era is emphasised by Cure-All having only gotten into the National by taking up the entry of an injured horse belonging to William Sterling Crawford (hence the temporary arrangement with Loft).

The ground certainly took its toll on many runners so it's extraordinary that a new course record was comfortably established. It's not as if Cure-All won by 20 lengths for having raced on the advantageous portion of terrain and the extra grass fields were hardly pristine. There were rumblings, well-founded based on the course changes shown above the race facts, in the contemporary press that the jumping test was not as severe as it once was, however, it would seem also that a keenness to get on with it had firmly supplanted the days of hunting round for much of the way. The pace in 1845, aided by the easier jumping test, was cracking. Therefore, notwithstanding the time, the performances of the finishers do not find them a place on my Scroll Of Merit. At the weights Peter Simple emerged 5 (pounds/lengths) superior to Cure-All (who can also be downgraded a bit for the edge he did gain), 14 better than The Exquisite and 27 ahead of Tom Tug (who improved by about a stone and a half upon his 1844 effort by being more tractable for the ill-fated Crickmere). I doubt Peter Simple ran better than the -26 I rated him in 1841 and 1842 so for their performances I will award Cure-All -36, The Exquisite -40 and Tom Tug -53.



> There is a possibility that Brilliant was ridden by George Noble rather than William Noble, however, none of the riders of the former Christian name listed by Jockeypedia had yet been born whereas William won lots of big Flat races between 1836-1843, therefore, the time period fits in respect of when he was likely to get a ride in the National.      






Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling