Grand National Ultimate History



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The posts and rails that heretofore guarded BB and some of the small ditches in front of the small earth bank obstacles were removed. The height of the hedges at BB and VB was made lower. It is virtually beyond even infinitesimal doubt that due to the ongoing construction (completed later in 1848) of the Liverpool and Bury railway the course was slightly truncated in such a way that the runners no longer carried straight on for the length of a small field immediately after BB from 1848 (almost certainly this year rather than one or two years earlier). Instead they inclined to the left, making a narrower curve towards the CT (thus adopting the modern line) but continuing to jump the two hedges referred to in 1843 before reaching the CT. The distance saved (like the yardage added in 1840 when the participants first took the wider arc) was not deemed consequential enough to be worthy of mention by the contemporary press.            


We 1 Mar 1848 (4.05) 4m 3f Heavy 11.21.00 29 £1,015 Captain J. Little & Captain W. Peel

  1 Chandler 12 11-12 T. Eskrett Cpt J. Little 12/1   Mid-division for most of 1C but chased leaders WJ (where 27 remained). Continued progress to be 3rd at Sunken Lane, same position BB 2C. 5th mid CS & ABC. 4th at second last, took 3rd immediately after it and close up in that position last. Continued well-judged run to take lead halfway up the run in despite swerving to right. Just held on.
  2 The Curate 8 11-12   T. Olliver 4/1F 1/2 Chased leaders. More prominent mid CS 1C but only 8th WJ. Prominent CT 2C. Headway into 5th soon after ABC and same position at second last. Took 4th straight after it and close up in that position last. Took 2nd halfway up the run in. Just failed.
  3 British Yeoman 8 11-04   C. Bevill NQ 1 1/2 Mid-division until CS 1C then made good headway to be 2nd WJ. Same position at Sunken lane, soon tooklead and went 12L clear circa BB 2C. Advantage reduced after VB, narrowly ahead ABC. 1L in front at second last, 3/4L lead last. Headed halfway up the run in and dropped to 3rd. Kept on.
  4R Standard Guard 6 10-12 Storey W. Taylor 100/6 1 Away well & very prominent until fell 3rd. Quickly remounted, recovered lost ground and led just after VB 1C. Headed before Gorsed Hurdle, 3rd WJ. Left in lead Sunken Lane but soon headed and dropped back to 3rd. Remained handy, 4th mid CS 2C & ABC. 3rd at second last and took 2nd immediately after it. Close 2nd at last where mistake and soon dropped to 4th. Kept on gamely if a trifle one-paced.
  5 Sir Arthur 6 11-01   J.G. Murphy 15/1 11 Chased leaders initially but only midfield CS 1C. Headway to be 6th WJ. Remained handy 2C and kept on but rather one-paced and lacked spark.
  6 Variety   10-08   H. Powell NQ   Mid to rear 1C. Gradual headway 2C. Never nearer.
  7 Naworth   9-08 Lord Strathmore W. Archer NQ   Away well and prominent until CS 1C but had dropped into mid-division by WJ. Hampered by Saucepan at Sunken Lane and dropped towards rear. Gamely conducted a gradual and prolonged recovery but never a threat.
  8R Wolverhampton(1)   11-12   B. Bretherton NQ   Chased leaders. More prominent mid CS 1C but tracking leaders again WJ. No improvement when fell VB 2C. Remounted and rallied to a modest extent.
  9 Father Mathew   11-06   J. Lamplugh NQ   Away well & very prominent initially. Unable to maintain place and mid-division by CS 1C. Mid to rear WJ. Hampered by Saucepan at Sunken Lane and dropped further towards rear. Rallied to a modest extent.
47 P Jerry(2) 14 11-07   W. Saunders NQ RUN IN Chased leaders until CS 1C but only midfield WJ. Good progress to be 4th at Sunken Lane. Took 3rd mid CS 2C, same position ABC. 1L 2nd at second last but began to fade badly immediately after it and PU run in, exhausted.
47 P Saucepan 9 11-11   T. Abbot NQ 2ND LAST Away well & prominent. Very much so by late CS 1C and led before Gorsed Hurdle. Still in front when refused at Sunken Lane (2nd element) causing great chaos among those in mid-division and towards rear. Kept going and rallied to chase leaders CT 2C. Took 2nd mid CS and same position ABC. Exertions told, faded soon after and PU circa second last.
46 P Switcher 7 11-05 Lord Strathmore Lord Strathmore NQ LATE 2C Away well & prominent, going nicely, when very badly hampered by Sparta VB 1C & dropped towards rear, spirit broken. Mistake WJ. Laboured on 2C becoming tailed off. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
  P Aristides   11-01   J. Rowlands NQ LATE 2C Mid to rear until fell VB 1C. Soon remounted and regained former position by WJ. Dropped towards rear then became tailed off 2C. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
  P Sophia   11-00   W. Ford NQ LATE 2C Mid to rear until fell VB 1C. Remounted and always towards rear thereafter, becoming tailed off 2C. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
  P Fortune Teller   10-10   N. Stagg 33/1 LATE 2C Initially raced in mid-division. Became very prominent by late CS 1C, 4th WJ. Fell somewhere 2C & remounted, towards rear. Became tailed off. Passed post but may not have jumped all obstacles.
  P Blue Pill   10-03   W. Allensby NQ TTJ 2C No impact 1C, rear of mid-division WJ. Further towards rear when collided with Khondooz at Sunken Lane. Continued in same vein until broke down badly & PU TTJ 2C. Dead.
  P Counsellor   10-12   J. Frisby 25/1 MID CS 2C Mid-division 1C. Headway to chase leaders, travelling well, when broke down badly & PU mid CS 2C. Dead.
47 F Mathew(1) 10 11-10 John Murphy D. Wynne 8/1 FNC AFT VB 2C Away quite well & chased leaders until became prominent CS 1C, 7th WJ. Unable to maintain place and had reverted to desperately pursuing leaders, under pressure, when fell at the fence after VB 2C.
  F The Irish Bard   11-00   D. Freeze NQ FNC AFT VB 2C Always in mid-division and no sign yet of making any great impression when fell at the fence after VB 2C.
  F Sparta   10-00   W. Turner NQ VB 2C Chased leaders. Becoming more prominent when collided with Switcher VB 1C and dropped to mid-division where remained at WJ. Faded and mid to rear when fell heavily VB 2C.
  P Picton   10-13 J.H. Burke J.H. Burke NQ MID 2C Mid to rear 1C. Hampered by Saucepan at Sunken Lane and dropped further towards rear. PU mid 2C.
  R The Gipsy Queen   10-06   W. Whitfield NQ AFT BB 2C Headway to be 5th WJ. Same position at Sunken Lane. Soon resumed progression and took 2nd albeit 12L behind clear leader. Began to fade circa BB 2C and cried enough not long after.
46 U Eagle 7 11-04   J. Broome NQ BB 2C Not fully fit. Mid-division until faded from ABC 1C, towards rear WJ. Hampered by Saucepan at Sunken Lane. Tailed off when very bad mistake & UR BB 2C.
  F The Sailor 6 10-08 J. Scott W. Holman snr NQ 4TH FNC 2C Headway to become prominent on customary charge towards WJ where fairly handy. Hampered by Saucepan at Sunken Lane and dropped towards rear. Fell 4th fence 2C. Broke thigh. Dead.
  P Ashberry Lass 6 11-03   J. Collis NQ EARLY 2C Away well in ragged start & soon led. Headed just after VB 1C and faded rapidly. Towards rear WJ. Hampered by Saucepan at Sunken Lane and PU soon after.
  B Khondooz   11-00   H. Rackley 25/1 SL Away well & fairly prominent until fell 4th. Remounted in last but rider without irons and remained well towards rear until collided with Blue Pill & BD at Sunken Lane.
  P Pioneer(3)   10-13   J. Neale NQ END 1C Mid to rear until appeared to break down at TTJ 1C. Persisted with, in similar position, but PU very lame at end of 1C.
  F Cheroot   11-02   W. Magee NQ 1C Mid to rear, creating little impression, until fell somewhere on 1C.
46 47 F Pioneer(2) 8 11-06   Cpt W. Peel 25/1 EARLY 1C Prominent until fell early 1C.



For the first time the value to the winning owner topped a grand, partly due to the National attracting another record number of runners as it cemented its pre-eminence among steeplechases. The weight range began to show signs of creeping lower and undoubtedly this renewal provided the easiest test of jumping so far. Nevertheless, it was all-round as dramatic a Grand National as any previously held and included the tightest finish yet. In stark contrast the start was ragged to say the least. With one false beginning already behind the field, 100yds separated first from last at the off. It was a portent of things to come.

So too was the almighty melee, the biggest in the race's history to this point, at the Sunken Lane obstacle. Saucepan became the latest horse to take exception to the second element, the jump out of the lane. It seems, when leading, he turned away from it towards the oncoming runners causing mayhem to ensue among the midfield and rear. Likely more than eight of the other remaining 25 competitors were affected but the incident, as far as I can gather, did no favours to The Sailor, Naworth, Father Mathew, Picton, Eagle, Ashberry Lass, Blue Pill and Khondooz, the latter two of whom collided.

Chandler, who had a prodigious leap in him and was said to be a brute, had actually pulled a chandler's cart, among other vehicles, in his younger days, an ex-owner of his being a purveyor of candles. Used as a hunter for many years by Captain William Peel, Chandler had been sent to Tom Eskrett in 1847 and immediately showed top class form. Captain Josey Little, who had since become Chandler's joint owner, was a gambler, a ladies' man, and later rode on the Flat before suffering terribly from gout and also losing his sight in one eye. Ironically, Little had been tutored by Tom-of-the-swarthy-complexion who, aboard The Curate, not only had to endure the frustration of finishing runner-up to his former pupil but also that of doing so for the second consecutive year and third time overall. Standard Guard performed remarkably and was surely unlucky not to win the 1848 National having fallen early, been remounted and then erred at the last. Sir Arthur's chances were done no good four days prior to the race when, upon arriving from Ireland on a steamer, an accident caused him to fall into the water where he remained for twenty minutes before being hauled out frightened and exhausted. In the circumstances he also ran very well.

How well is hard to quantify. The winning time, on going described as Heavy, was probably about par and there is no viable collateral form available from previous and future Grand Nationals, not least because (as we shall see) the 1849 renewal, in which both Chandler and British Yeoman also as good as finished, was farcical. In 1848 the participants were presented with an easier jumping test than hitherto, an aid to speed, however, we don't know the extent of ground lost, if any, (due to the unsatisfactory start) by Chandler and his fellow protagonists at the denouement. I get no sense from contemporary sources that Chandler was anywhere near the level required for a place on my Scroll Of Merit, therefore, I will rate him circa -35 in line with a few recent previous winners. At the weights in the 1848 National The Curate emerged 1 (pound/length) inferior for -36, British Yeoman 10 for -45 and Sir Arthur 25 for -60. Strictly Standard Guard came out 17 below the winner but I will allow him 15 for his travails and rate him -37.      







Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling