Grand National Ultimate History



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The flight of hurdles adjacent to the Distance Judge's chair was stiffened and topped with gorse to a height of nearly 6', sometimes referred to as the bush fence it is better described as a gorsed hurdle. The WJ (which now had a rail in front of it as opposed to a fence or nothing) was said to have a total width (TW) of 15' (previously 13'). These two obstacles continued to be jumped only on the first circuit, a wider line still being taken on the second.  


We 3 Mar 1847 (3.00) 4m 3f Good (Good to Firm places) 10.39.00 28 £840 J. Courtenay

  1 Mathew(1) 9 10-06 John Murphy D. Wynne 11/1   Tracked leaders 1C. 9th at BB and same position WJ (where 22 remained). Became more prominent mid 2C and further progress towards last, travelling conspicuously well. Close 4th at final obstacle and disputed lead soon after it. Ran on well to lead near post. Cleverly.
  2 St Leger 7 12-03   T. Olliver 14/1 1 Chased leader in 3rd at BB 1C. Much closer to front in 3rd WJ. Same position Sunken Lane. 4th from soon after BB 2C to ABC. Took 2nd approaching last where just behind leader. Led straight after, soon joined. Ran on but sitting duck for winner and passed near post.
  3 Jerry(2) 13 11-06   J. Bradley 12/1 2 Away well & disputed lead 1st. Remained very prominent. 2nd at BB 1C, several lengths behind leader but equally as clear of 3rd. Left in lead TTJ. Headed briefly WJ where 2nd. Led again Sunken Lane. Headed once more at BB 2C but regained lead before CT. Suffered an overreach late CS, very bad mistake TTJ & rider lost iron briefly but not the lead. Decisively headed straight after last but kept on well.
46 4 Pioneer(2) 7 11-12   Cpt W. Peel 13/1 3 1/2 Chased leader in 4th at BB 1C. Same position but much closer to front WJ. 2nd from towards CT 2C, 3rd not long after VB. Began to fade slightly approaching last where still 3rd and dropped to 4th just after it. Kept on rather one-paced.
46 5 Culverthorpe 11 11-06 J. Scott H. Powell 10/1   Chased leader in 7th at BB 1C. Closer in 5th WJ. Continued in similar position and still 5th at last. Kept on one-paced.
  6 Brunette(1) 13 12-06   A. McDonough 20/1   Towards rear 1C but in touch WJ. Became more prominent 2C. Brief effort approaching last that soon petered out.
  P The Roarer   10-07   Jem Mason 4/1F RUN IN Chased leader in 6th at BB 1C. Still 6th WJ but much closer to front. Further headway to take 2nd soon after VB 2C. Retained that position until after second last but began to fade badly approaching last where had dropped to 6th. Exhausted and PU run in.
  P The False Heir   11-04   G. Wilson NQ RUN IN Chased leaders, 8th WJ. Never able to improve position or land a blow 2C. Tired and PU run in.
  P The Pluralist   11-04   W. Denby NQ LATE 2C Mid to rear WJ and no significant impact. PU late, possibly not until run in.
  P Frederick 6 11-02   T. Abbot NQ LATE 2C Away well & disputed lead 1st. Very prominent 2nd. Soon faded. Mid-division WJ. No revival 2C and PU late, possibly not until run in.
  P Latitat   11-00 C. Bevill C. Bevill NQ LATE 2C Chased leader in 8th at BB 1C. Continued to pursue front runners until end of CS 2C. Faded and PU late, possibly not until run in.
  P Avoca   10-10   Cpt J. Broadley 15/1 LATE 2C Away well. Settled in mid-division. Headway to be 7th WJ. Unable to improve or ultimately maintain position 2C. PU late, possibly not until run in.
  P Cavendish 7 10-10   W. Scott NQ LATE 2C Mid to rear WJ. No significant impact. PU late, possibly not until run in.
  P Midnight 5 10-10 L. Byrne Cpt W. Gardner NQ LATE 2C Mid to rear WJ. No significant impact. PU late, possibly not until run in.
  P Grenade 6 10-08   H. Rackley NQ LATE 2C Away well & prominent until collided with Quicksilver at 2nd & lost ground. Mid-division when became involved in jostling match with Valeria & Young Lottery at fence after VB 1C. Still midfield WJ. No significant further impact (of any kind). PU late, possibly not until run in.
  P Young Lottery 5 10-07   J. Butler NQ LATE 2C Mid-division when became involved in jostling match with Valeria & Grenade at fence after VB 1C. Still midfield WJ. No significant impression made upon leaders 2C and PU late, possibly not until run in.
  P Tramp 7 10-06   W. Archer NQ LATE 2C Chased leader in 5th at BB 1C. Became very prominent after ABC 1C. Led, briefly, WJ. 2nd at Sunken Lane. Took lead again at BB 2C but headed before CT and began to fade. PU late, possibly not until run in.
  P Gayhurst   10-07 T. Wesley T. Wesley NQ AFT ABC 2C Mid to rear WJ. Dropped further towards rear 2C and PU immediately after ABC.
  F Clinker 12 10-07   W. Maloney NQ TTJ 2C Fairly handy 1C, fore of mid-division WJ. Maintained place until fell TTJ 2C.
  P Barmaid 7 10-08 W. Kennedy W. Kennedy NQ ABC 2C Never going and towards rear WJ. Completely tailed off when PU circa ABC 2C. Ran as looked.
  P Saucepan 8 12-02   W. McDonough 12/1 ABC 2C Always towards rear and completely tailed off when PU circa ABC 2C.
  F St Ruth   11-01   C. Canavan NQ 2ND FNC 2C Fore of mid-division WJ. Making headway when fell 2nd fence 2C.
  RO Cumberland Lassie 8 10-04   J. Maddox NQ TTJ 1C Away well & disputed lead 1st. Ahead 2nd and several lengths clear by 4th. Still had handy advantage when swerved away from TTJ 1C & ran out, falling over a rail placed across an open gateway & into the lane further down.
  P Red Lancer   10-08 Lord Strathmore Lord Strathmore 20/1 LATE CS 1C Prominent until swerved, collided with rival & fell at 3rd. Remounted, tailed off, and refused more than once before being PU late CS 1C.
  B Valeria 6 10-03   J. Daly NQ FNC AFT VB 1C Mid-division until BD upon landing by Grenade at fence after VB 1C following a jostling match also involving Young Lottery.
  B Quicksilver 7 10-04   Rawson NQ BB 1C Prominent until collided with Grenade at 2nd and dropped to mid-division. BD BB 1C.
  B Ballybar 7 11-12   C. Turner NQ BB 1C Towards rear until BD BB 1C.
44 F Marengo(1)   11-00   P. Barker NQ 3RD Away well, fell heavily 3rd.



In the year that the course executive adopted the hitherto unofficial moniker of Grand National the contest continued to thrive, attracting a new highest number of participants who produced another record time and were watched by a crowd in the region of 20,000. The strength of Denny Wynne, multiple times Ireland's leading jockey, helped Mathew to get up, denying St Leger, who would shortly afterwards go on to win the race that was the forerunner to the Grand Steeplechase de Paris, and Jerry who was likely robbed of victory by his overreach. Mathew, prepared at The Curragh by John Murphy, is often misspelt Matthew and some sources claim his true name was Father Mathew. He was a welcome winner for an Ireland gripped by her worst potato famine but, in a country of stark divisions between rich and poor, not necessarily the most popular of the Irish runners in the 1847 National because John Courtenay was a landowner known for ruthlessness in evicting impoverished tenant farmers and Brunette was a legendary mare. At first Becher's some of those who had taken the fence on the right crossed over the path of some of those who'd taken it on the left behind them which led to Quicksilver and Ballybar being brought down.

At the weights in 1847 St Leger emerged about 11 (pounds/lengths) superior to Pioneer, 13 better than Jerry and a whopping 24 ahead of Mathew. The pace was good not great, possibly similar to that of 1846 - the going certainly was. Mathew set another new course record, by 7s, but carried 20lb less than had Pioneer last year. On that occasion I rated the latter -35 and Culverthorpe -47. In 1847 Pioneer again came out the better, this time by 7+. Although Pioneer was much the younger of the two horses and, therefore, theoretically open to the greater improvement Culverthorpe had been switched to the yard of leading Flat trainer John Scott so the reverse may have applied. In all the circumstances I am inclined to award Pioneer -35 again. On that basis, and allowing him 5 for his overreach (which twisted a plate), his very bad mistake immediately after and his rider consequently losing his irons, I will rate Jerry -32. I will credit Mathew with 1 for winning cleverly and give him -47 and St Leger's performance in the 1847 Grand National is worthy of -24 (just 4 short of the bottom rung of my Scroll Of Merit) which is in keeping with his exploits in France.             






Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling