Grand National Ultimate History



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In response to some claims in the press that the WJ (said to have a TW of 15' in 1847) was 18' wide and as deep as the ocean the 3rd Lord Sefton confirmed it was actually 13' 6" wide, the rail leaning towards it 3' high and the depth of the water 4'. The hedge that previously had to be jumped to get out of Proceed's Lane (later named Melling Road) was removed leaving no obstacle at all at the lane which was still somewhat sunken.


We 3 Mar 1852 (4.00) 4m 3f Good 9.58.50 24 £790 T. Mason

  1 Miss Mowbray 7 10-04 G. Dockeray A. Goodman 12/1   Mid-division, 12th BB 1C. 9th towards end of CS 1C, chased leaders in 8th (of 16) WJ. 7th early 2C, 5th BB, 4th ABC. Took lead between last 2. Held on cleverly.
51 2 Maurice Daley 7 9-06 T. Olliver C. Boyce 15/1 1 Initially mid-division. Progress into 8th towards end of CS 1C, further headway to be 3rd WJ. 5th early 2C, 4th BB, 5th again ABC. Ran on well and challenged after last but not quite pace of winner.
51 3 Sir Peter Laurie 10 11-02 W. Holman snr W. Holman snr 30/1 1 1/2 Mid to rear. Headway into 10th towards end of CS 1C, chased leaders in same position WJ. 8th early 2C, 7th BB & ABC. Ran on well. Never nearer.
  4 Chieftain   10-12 E. Harrison E. Harrison 10/1 3/4 Away well & very prominent. 2nd BB 1C and took lead early CS 1C. Soon went 4L clear. 6L ahead WJ. Still handy advantage early 2C but joined BB and headed briefly just after. Regained lead circa CT and 5L in front approaching third last though tiring. Conclusively headed between last 2 but kept on gamely.
  5 La Gazza Ladra 6 9-12 T. Harrison J. Neale 6/1F   Away well & prominent. Involved in barging match BB 1C where 5th. 4th mid CS 1C & WJ. Rather headstrong & jockey struggled to restrain. Disputed lead BB 2C and led briefly just after. Rider regained control and headed circa CT. Still 2nd ABC but began to fade soon after.
  6 Warner   10-08 R. Prince W. Archer 12/1   Fore of mid-division, 9th BB 1C. Progress into 5th towards end of CS 1C and further headway to be 2nd WJ. Began to fade before BB 2C, made very bad mistake soon after it & lost further ground. Became tailed off. Plodded on.
49 50 51 7 Sir John(1) 14 11-10 R. Prince J. Ryan 20/1   Fore of mid-division, 10th BB 1C. 11th towards end of CS 1C, midfield WJ. Headway CS 2C, 6th ABC. Continued effort approaching third last but it soon proved ineffectual, faded badly and eased.
  8 Lamienne 5 9-07 John Murphy D. Meaney NQ   Slowly away & towards rear. Gradual headway to be 12th towards end of CS 1C and chased leaders in 9th WJ. 6th from early on 2C and maintained that position to BB and beyond. Faded CS and finished tailed off.
51 9R Carrig 7 10-04 W. Sheppard J. Debeau 30/1   Initially mid to rear. 13th towards end of CS 1C. Headway to chase leaders in 7th WJ. 4th early 2C and further progress to be 3rd BB. Maintained that position until began to fade badly soon after ABC. Fell at last and remounted. Finished distressed. 
  F McIon   9-10 J. Sadler J. Sadler 50/1 CT 2C Always mid to rear. Fell CT 2C.
  P Bourton 9 10-10 S. Darling snr S. Darling jnr 20/1 MID 2C Chased leaders until became prominent. 4th when involved in barging match BB 1C. 6th towards end of CS 1C but had dropped into mid-division by WJ. Faded further early 2C and PU circa BB.
50 51 P Abd-El-Kader(1) 10 11-04 E. Parr D. Wynne 9/1 BEF BB 2C Away well & very prominent. Took lead before BB 1C. Jumped well. Headed early CS 1C. 2nd approaching ABC 1C but had dropped to 5th by WJ. Faded further after Proceed's Lane and PU before BB 2C.
49 50 51 P Peter Simple(bay) 14 11-02 G. Davenport E. Davenport 25/1 BEF BB 2C Mid-division, 13th BB 1C. Fell heavily next. Remounted tailed off. Still well towards rear WJ. Unable to get back into it and PU before BB 2C.
  P Dolly's Brae 5 10-00 John Murphy W. Magee NQ BEF BB 2C Always towards rear. No sign of becoming competitive so PU before BB 2C.
50 P Everton 12 9-10   J. Hewitt NQ BEF BB 2C Mid-division, 11th BB 1C. Good headway to be 3rd mid CS 1C but very bad mistake TTJ 1C & lost much ground. Towards rear WJ. Well behind when PU before BB 2C.
  P Royal Blue 6 9-00 William Jones G. Stevens 100/1 BEF BB 2C Chased leaders until became prominent. 7th when involved in barging match BB 1C, collided with Bourton & heaved into the air. Nevertheless, still 7th towards end of CS 1C and 6th WJ. Faded rapidly early 2C and PU before BB. 
  U Silent Friend   9-12 M. Fahy J. Parry NQ GH Towards rear until very bad mistake & UR at the Gorsed Hurdle immediately before the WJ.
  F Bedford(1) 6 10-10 D. Sherrard T. Ablett 20/1 TTJ 1C Slowly away. Towards rear until ran into a post & fell TTJ 1C.
  R Agis   10-10 T. Olliver T. Olliver NQ FNC BEF CT 1C Mid-division, 14th BB 1C. Refused at the fence before CT 1C, throwing rider off in the process.
  F Maley 5 9-06   J. Connor NQ FNC AFT BB 1C Away well & led. Headed before BB 1C where 3rd. Fell heavily next.
  F Bedford(2) 5 9-12 G. Taylor A. Taylor 20/1 FNC AFT BB 1C Away well & initially very prominent but had dropped into a fore of mid-division 8th by BB 1C. Fell heavily next.
  F Victress 8 9-07 W. Saunders H. Bradley 12/1 BB 1C Chased leaders until became prominent. 6th when involved in a barging match, collided with La Gazza Ladra & fell BB 1C.
  F Cogia 6 9-09 G. Noble J. Tasker 12/1 BB 1C Not travel well & towards rear. Very bad mistake 3rd. Fell heavily & into the brook BB 1C.
50 51 P Maria Day 9 10-06 W. Planner J. Frisby 12/1 1ST Blundered badly 1st and so shaken was immediately PU.



Ten years after his previous success George Dockeray, who had been concentrating on the Flat, trained the Grand National winner for the fourth time. In becoming the second victorious mare the in form Miss Mowbray demonstrated that genuine hunters were still just about holding the sway. Albeit she had originally been trained for racing on the level (not by Dockeray), at which unsurprisingly she was useless, she was bred from a hunter and been ridden in hunts by her current owner. The 1852 renewal was another that followed the recent trend of an increased size of crowd, decent ground, good times, ever more horses carrying low weights and very close finishes. Contemporary criticism of Harrison for going too hard on Chieftain seems harsh considering the first four were ultimately covered by only 3 1/4 lengths. What's more, the three horses who narrowly beat him were all held up, therefore, Chieftain's pace must have been even enough to suit both styles of running equally. His was a bold bid, just foiled, and, rather, credit is due to Charlie Boyce on Maurice Daley and Alec Goodman, a farmer, on Miss Mowbray for administering well-timed challenges. Goodman, apart from his exploits in the National, which were not at an end, would also claim three renewals of the National Hunt Steeplechase (an enduring contest initiated in 1859 by Fothergill Rowlands). It could be argued that the 2lb overweight put up by Boyce cost Maurice Daley victory, however, Miss Mowbray likely had a bit in hand. It's unclear whether Tom Olliver was even less able to do the correct weight on the runner-up, whom he trained along with Agis, but if he chose to ride the latter Black Tom was royally let down. His fellow jockey turned trainer Edwin Parr also had an unfortunate day as the complete capitulation of Abd-El-Kader, still owned by his former handler Joseph Osborne, was very probably due to more than just failing to cope with a one stone rise. Worse still was the effort of last year's runner-up, Maria Day, whose health was the subject of pre-race rumours. The 1851 third Sir John had finally become too old. Meanwhile, another 14-y-o Peter Simple, in his brief spell with the Davenports, was again unable to regain contention on a sound surface following early misfortune. Like 1852's successful mare, Carrig had been at the top of his game, however, the 10lb impost the gelding picked up for two recent triumphs helped transform a promising performance into an exercise in exhaustion. There was a proper skirmish at first Becher's, likely precipitated by the favourite, La Gazza Ladra, whose chance was scuppered by her intractable nature. A collision with Victress caused the last-named to fall while Bourton apparently bumped into both mares and a third, Royal Blue, the latter being heaved into the air. All three who remained on their feet ultimately faded tamely.

Miss Mowbray's winning time in the 1852 Grand National was one second slower than that of Abd-El-Kader (rated -69 raw) in 1850 on very similar going, the mare facing a slightly easier jumping test but carrying 6lb more. Additionally, her time was only half a second quicker (again encountering a little less demanding test of leaping) than that recorded by 'Little Ab' on softer ground in 1851 (an improved performance, -61 raw) at level weights. On balance, I am inclined to award Miss Mowbray a raw rating of -66, however, I will allow her 2 (pounds/lengths) because she triumphed cleverly for a final mark of -64. Strictly at the weights in 1852 the mare came out 13 superior to Maurice Daley who thus receives -79 but she emerged 4 inferior to Chieftain who gets -62 and 9 behind Sir Peter Laurie who came out best at -57. Undoubtedly this was the poorest quality Grand National so far because I reckon the winners of the hard to assess first three editions of the race were likely over a stone better than Sir Peter Laurie. It was a harbinger of things to come.        






Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling