Grand National Ultimate History



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A third hurdle was added halfway beween the ABC and the second last hurdle. It was only jumped on the wider line of the second circuit (and not, therefore, taken preceding the gorsed hurdle adjacent to the Distance Judge's chair on the inner line of the first circuit). So there were now three hurdles to finish, the second last and last being about equidistant from and either side of where the Distance Judge sat. However, contemporary reports from the ensuing few decades suggest the newly added hurdle was absent more often than it was in place.   


We 26 Feb 1851 (4.03) 4m 3f Good to Soft 9.59.00 21 £750 J. Osborne

50 1 Abd-El-Kader(1) 9 10-04 Joseph Osborne T. Abbot 7/1   Well held up, jumped well. Headway into 9th mid CS 1C, 10th (of 20) WJ. Further improved position to be 6th at Proceed's Lane, 5th BB 2C. Tracked leaders CS and progress into 4th soon after ABC. 3rd at third last, took 2nd before last, mistake last but took slender lead. Just prevailed following terrific tussle.
50 2 Maria Day 8 10-05   J. Frisby 100/6 HALF A NECK Away well but soon settled in mid-division, 12th WJ. Good headway to be 5th at Proceed's Lane. 4th from BB 2C to mid CS, 5th just after ABC. Renewed progress to be 2nd at third last. Took lead immediately after second last. Mistake last & narrowly headed. Just lost out following terrific tussle.
49 50 3 Sir John(1) 13 11-12 R. I'Anson snr J. Ryan 7/1 2 Away well & prominent. Established lead before 3rd. Joined BB 1C and headed soon after but gifted back lead before CT 1C. Headed again mid CS 1C, dropped to 3rd at Gorsed Hurdle. Same position WJ, Proceed's Lane & BB 2C (where travelling well). Left 2nd next but dropped back to 3rd early CS. Regained 2nd soon after ABC, however, only 4th at third last. Kept on but not quite the pace of first 2.
  4 Half-And-Half 8 10-08   R. Sly jnr 20/1 15 Away well & prominent, 3rd mid CS 1C, 5th WJ. Had dropped to 8th at Proceed's Lane, 7th BB 2C. Renewed progress to take 2nd early CS. Took lead just after ABC. Headed immediately after second last. Weakened badly.
  5 Vain Hope 6 11-08   S. Darling jnr 8/1   Quite slowly away. Rear of mid-division mid CS 1C, towards rear WJ. Midfield CS 2C and further steady and modest progress to finish close behind Half-And-Half. Never nearer.
50 6 Rat-Trap 10-10   Jem Mason 6/1F   Chased leaders until refused 3rd. Coaxed over the offending obstacle but towards rear. Gradually recovered lost ground and a mid-division 11th WJ. Up to 7th at Proceed's Lane and 5th mid CS 2C. Exertions told and unable to muster any extra from thereon but plugged on to finish close behind Vain Hope.
49 50 7R Mulligan 7 10-02   W. Archer 25/1   Initially mid-division. Headway into 5th mid CS 1C, 4th WJ. Same position at Proceed's Lane and further progress into 2nd BB 2C. Going well when fell next. Remounted and game effort to get back into contention but tired after ABC
50 8 Shinrone 7 10-07 John Osborne T. Gaman NQ   Quite slowly away but became fairly prominent by 3rd. Only midfield CS 1C but renewed progress to be 7th WJ. 6th mid CS 2C. Faded.
  9 Reindeer   9-08   C. Planner NQ   Away well but soon settled in mid-division. Remained in midfield until CS 2C then faded.
49 50 10 Tipperary Boy(1) 7 10-03   T. Olliver 10/1   Away well & prominent. 4th mid CS 1C.  by CT 1C. Ridden to take 2nd at Gorsed Hurdle and took lead just before WJ where 1L ahead. Maintained advantage but came under severe pressure by end of CS 2C and headed just after ABC. Weakened very badly from third last and eased.
49 50 F The Victim   10-13   W. Taylor NQ LAST Chased leaders 3rd. 6th mid CS 1C, 9th WJ. No great impact in midfield 2C and exhausted when fell last.
  F Greysteel   9-10   J. Thrift NQ CS 2C Away well but badly hampered by a refusing Rat-Trap at the 3rd & dropped into mid-division. Rear of same from CS 1C and began to tire from Proceed's Lane. Beaten by VB. Fell somewhere along CS 2C.
  F Penrith 7 9-04   W. McClory NQ CS 2C Initially towards rear. Rear of midfield CS 1C & WJ. Began to tire from Proceed's Lane. Beaten by VB 2C. Fell not long after.
  P Sir Peter Laurie 9 11-07   W. Scott 25/1 CS 2C Initially mid to rear. Headway and 7th mid CS 1C. Had dropped into mid-division by WJ. Began to tire from Proceed's Lane. Beaten by VB 2C and PU a little further along CS.
  P Carrig 6 9-12 T. Harrison J. Debeau 25/1 CS 2C Mid-division 1C, 13th WJ. Began to tire from Proceed's Lane. Beaten by VB 2C and PU a little further along CS.
50 P Hope 6 9-12   C. Green NQ CS 2C Away well & prominent. 2nd at 3rd, disputed lead BB 1C and ahead soon after. Stirrup leather broke before CT 1C & dropped back, mid-division CS 1C & WJ. 9th at Proceed's Lane but beaten by VB 2C and PU a little further along CS.
  P Maurice Daley 6 9-06   C. Boyce NQ CS 2C Away well but soon settled in mid-division, jumping nicely. Headway towards WJ where 8th. 10th at Proceed's Lane but beaten by VB 2C and tailed off when PU a little further along CS.
  F Fugitive   10-12   H. Bradley 15/1 CT 2C Chased leaders 3rd. 8th mid CS 1C, 6th WJ & BB 2C. In similar position when fell CT 2C.
  P Fugleman 6 10-00 D. Wynne D. Wynne NQ MID 2C Always towards rear and began to tire from Proceed's Lane. PU before CT 2C.
49 50 P Peter Simple(bay) 13 11-07 Tommy Cunningham D. Tubb NQ BEF BB 2C Away well & very prominent, 3rd at 3rd. Headway to lead mid CS 1C and 4L ahead ABC. Headed just before WJ where 1L down in 2nd. Still 2nd at Proceed's Lane but faded rapidly thereafter and PU before BB 2C.
  F Volatile 6 9-10   W. Fowler NQ WJ Always towards rear until fell heavily WJ, jockey taking a bath.



There was another record attendance for the 1851 National, a renewal in which the whole field remained intact until the Water Jump and which produced the tightest finish yet during a period of closely contested denouements. It was a tricky call for the judge situated by the winning post. 'Little Ab' (or 'Cats-In-The-Larder'!), this year piloted by crack Irish jockey Thomas Abbot who had wasted a stone for the mount, became the second dual Grand National victor. Abd-El-Kader's owner/trainer Joseph Osborne, incidentally, was also a leading correspondent for Bell's Life. Abbot, fond of a drink, would succumb to heart disease in July 1854. Mulligan cannot be considered unlucky because he had failed to stay on the two previous occasions he ran in the National. However, the favourite, Rat-Trap, may have been unfortunate because the chesnut entire fought his way back from his early refusal to be just behind Maria Day and ahead of Abd-El-Kader halfway along the canal side second time before his exertions told. Meanwhile, the frantic efforts of the riders on Tipperary Boy and Peter Simple to bring forth fruit from the fortunes planted upon the circumstance of their respective steed being ahead at the Water eventually scuppered both horses' prospects of outright triumph, the former's lasting a lot longer than the latter's. Peter Simple, though, was almost twice the other's age and likely also demonstrated again that he required testing ground to be competitive. Hope's hopes were extinguished by a broken stirrup leather and we are entitled to wonder whether the equipment failed because the horse was as difficult to steer as his antics when loose in 1850 might suggest.      

Sir John (whom I rated -45 for his performance last year) emerged by far the best at the weights in the 1851 Grand National, by 20 (pounds/lengths) over both Abd-El-Kader (-68 in 1850) and Maria Day (each of whom I will allow 1 for erring at the last) and by 33 in relation to Half-And-Half. Thus 'Little Ab' reduced his inferiority to Sir John by 4, however, I believe both horses displayed improved form. Abd-El-Kader's determination to win saw him run only 1.5s slower than on the occasion of his first National success despite encountering easier going and carrying 6lb more. For his part, the 13-y-o Sir John certainly hadn't deterioated. In fact contemporary reports say he looked better this year and being rather one-paced the ground in 1851 very probably suited him better than the faster surface of 1850. Therefore, I am inclined to award Sir John -41, Abd-El-Kader and Maria Day -60 and Half-And-Half -74. 







Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling