Grand National Ultimate History



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There was a similar proportion of plough to grass as in 1855.


We 4 Mar 1857 (3.26) 4m 3f Soft (Good to Soft places) 10.06.00 28 £945 G. Hodgman

56 1 Emigrant 11 9-10 C. Boyce C. Boyce 10/1   Away well after several false starts. 2nd BB 1C. Found better ground CS 1C and took lead soon after ABC. Challenged but retained 1L lead WJ (where 25 remained). Gradually pulled well clear 2C. 20L ahead VB and traversed same firm strip CS, extending advantage further. Steadied approaching ABC and joined not long after. Shook off runner-up before last, ran on well. Comfortably.
  2 Weathercock(2) 6 8-12 B. Land C. Green 25/1 3 Away well & led over first 2. Headed before 3rd where hampered & caused to refuse. Kept going, towards rear. Gradually recovered to be 10th WJ. Further headway into 5th early CS 2C, took 2nd just after ABC and soon disputed lead. Shaken off before last. Kept on determinedly after it but never looked like getting back up.
  3 Treachery 5 9-00 David Hughes W. Poole NQ 10 Held up in mid-division 1C, 16th WJ. Gradual headway to be 6th early CS 2C and kept on past beaten horses. Never nearer.
  4 Westminster 5 9-02 David Hughes G. Palmer NQ 1/2 Initially held up, mid-division BB 1C. Significant headway into 2nd approaching Gorsed Hurdle and vied for lead towards WJ where 1L down in 2nd. Still 2nd VB 2C. Began to fade just after ABC and narrowly lost out on 3rd.
55 5 Dangerous   9-08 W. Fowler F. Page 50/1 1/2 Away well & very prominent, 4th BB 1C. Remained handy for a while but only 8th at WJ. Renewed headway into 4th early CS 2C and took 3rd just after ABC. Began to fade fairly soon after and later eased right off when chance of 2nd had gone.
56 6 Jean Du Quesne 9 10-00 H. Lamplugh H. Lamplugh 100/7   Chased leaders BB 1C. Progress to become very prominent by Gorsed Hurdle but slightly less so in 6th WJ. Maintained similar position 2C until began to weaken after VB. Well beaten and ultimately eased to a canter.
54 7 Lady Arthur 11 9-04   E. Weever NQ   Rear of mid-division BB 1C. A midfield 12th WJ. No further progress 2C. Plodded on.
56 8 The Forest Queen 10 9-08 J. Waugh T. Donaldson 20/1   Restrained. Rear of mid-division BB 1C. Collided with Star Of The West at Gorsed Hurdle, lost any ground made and could never get on terms with leading group 2C.
55 9 Needwood 10 10-02 H. Lamplugh W. Johnson NQ   Prominent BB 1C. Had dropped into a mid-division 15th by WJ. Faded further 2C and finished tailed off.
56 10 Minos   10-04 J. Escott A. Goodman 100/15F   Mistake 3rd where rapped & injured off fore. Nevertheless, chased leaders BB 1C and 7th WJ where dropped hind legs in. Nearly fell crossing Proceed's Lane and struggled thereafter. Finished tailed off and very lame.
  11 Squire Of Bensham   9-08 Heslop J. Coxon NQ   Towards rear BB 1C. Modest progress to be a rear of mid-division 19th WJ. No impact 2C. Finished tailed off.
55 P Escape 9 11-02 J. Thrift J. Thrift 7/1 LATE 2C Mid-division 1C, 11th WJ. Came under pressure 2C and faded from BB. Towards rear when eventually PU.
54 56 P Star Of England 10 10-00 E. Parr D. Wynne 9/1 LATE 2C Prominent BB & VB 1C, 4th WJ. Faded badly from VB 2C and eventually PU.
55 56 P Little Charley 9 10-00 H. May T. Burrows 100/7 LATE 2C Away well & very prominent. 3rd BB & VB 1C. Still extremely handy Gorsed Hurdle, 3rd WJ. Faded badly from VB 2C and eventually PU.
  P Romeo 7 9-06 David Hughes W. White 100/6 LATE 2C Mid-division 1C, 13th WJ. Gradually faded 2C and eventually PU.
  P Omar Pasha 6 9-02 E. Jones J. Kendall 100/6 LATE 2C Rear of mid-division BB 1C. A midfield 14th WJ. Gradually faded 2C and eventually PU.
  P First Of May 5 9-00 C. Boyce R. Sly jnr NQ LATE 2C Little impact. Always rear of mid-division 1C. Faded 2C and eventually PU.
  F Teddesley 8 9-00 W. Holman snr R. Archer 12/1 FNC BEF ABC 2C Chased leaders BB 1C, 9th WJ. Headway into 3rd early CS 2C. Same position when fell heavily at fence before ABC.
  P Horniblow   9-10   H. Lance NQ MID 2C Rear of mid-division BB 1C. A midfield 17th WJ. Soon faded 2C and not long before PU.
  P King Dan 7 9-06 J. Escott J. Escott NQ MID 2C Rear of mid-division BB 1C. A midfield 18th WJ. Soon began to struggle 2C and not long before PU.
  P Sting 6 9-06 H. Rackley J. Hanlon 50/1 MID 2C Towards rear BB 1C. Rear of mid-division WJ. Soon faded 2C and not long before PU.
51 52 53 54 55 P Maurice Daley 12 9-02 R. James R. James 40/1 MID 2C Towards rear BB 1C. Rear of mid-division WJ. Soon faded 2C and not long before PU.
  F Garry Owen   9-12 John Murphy J. Ryan 30/1 EARLY 2C Away well, led from 3rd, clear by VB 1C. Advantage reduced CS and headed soon after ABC 1C. Still very prominent Gorsed Hurdle but less so in 5th WJ. Similar position when fell early 2C. Broke back. Dead.
  P Midge 7 9-06   W. Black NQ EARLY 2C Rear of mid-division BB 1C. Well tailed off by WJ and not persist long 2C.
  P Star Of The West 9 10-00   E. Jones NQ PROCEED'S LANE Rear of mid-division BB 1C. Collided with The Forest Queen at Gorsed Hurdle & BD. Remounted but well tailed off and PU at Proceed's Lane.
  P Albatross 6 9-06 L. Keegan D. Meaney NQ AFT ABC 1C Away well, 5th BB 1C. Still prominent when staggered & dismounted on flat between ABC 1C & Gorsed Hurdle. Broke blood vessel. Dead.
  F Red Rose 6 9-08 David Hughes David Hughes NQ CS 1C Mid-division BB 1C. Fell somewhere along CS 1C.
55 56 F Freetrader 8 10-00 W. Holman snr G. Stevens 25/1 EARLY 1C Mid-division, fell at 1st or 2nd.



Arguably the race reached its nadir in 1857 with what I consider to be as poor a quality Grand National as any run in terms of literal performances (Emigrant, basically, gained an unfair advantage, Weathercock refused and Dangerous, who could have been third, was eased). In a renewal that took place in wet and murky conditions, the top weight of 11st 2lb, carried by Escape, was higher than that of 1856 but, absurdly, all 27 other horses shouldered just 10st 4lb or less. Tom Olliver and Sam Darling junior were among those jockeys who could not do the feather weight required to get a ride. At least three horses (including the runner-up and third) were chase debutants, there was limited interest in betting, and Bell's Life described the field as "broken down, worn out, miserable, patched up Flat racers". A large proportion of the nags appear to have been inherently incapable of completing the course.

The time taken by Emigrant, a blatant non-staying tailed off sixth in 1856 (although there were extenuating circumstances) and, more pertinently, by the close runner-up, Weathercock, indicates the going was better than the official Heavy (the grass was not in bad shape but the plough was sticky and holding hence my description above). The winner's trainer/jockey, Charlie Boyce, riding with the upper part of one arm strapped to his side due to injury, identified and employed a strip of hard ground adjacent to the towpath down the heavily ploughed canal side on both circuits. Whether or not this tactic had been discussed before the race (one Emigrant had been laid out for by his bookmaker owner!) and why Boyce's rival jockeys did not follow suit, at least on the second circuit, we can only wonder, however, it clearly made a significant difference to the result. It certainly assisted Emigrant, who had been dropped 6lb from last year, to see the trip out and the 1857 National victor benefited enormously too from Weathercock having been badly hampered and caused to refuse at the 3rd. The interference may well have come from a loose horse which could only have been 1856 victor Freetrader, an early faller who some might surmise lay down for a rest having been subjected to a severe eight mile gallop on the morning of the day before the race. In the latest Grand National irony, Ben Land, owner/trainer of the very unlucky Weathercock, had sold Emigrant a couple of years earlier to raise the funds to continue in a game of cards! Future events would show that Little Charley ought to have done better, maybe there was an undocumented problem with the horse. Meanwhile, The Forest Queen chose to collide with another horse this year rather than a spectator, and Maurice Daley joined the two Peter Simples by running in the Grand National for a sixth time. Needwood, on his second and final appearance in the Liverpool contest, ran as Casse Cou having been sold to a French owner. On the saddest of notes, Lawrence Keegan, trainer of one of the two fatalities Albatross, had recently also lost his jockey son Eddy to consumption aged just 21.

Charlie Boyce's savvy led to Aintree placing flags in line with the outer extremities of fences, they joined those that had always marked the inner, and undoubtedly Emigrant won due to racing on ground he wasn't meant to. Combined with, notwithstanding his very low weight, an extraordinary effort by Weathercock and Dangerous being eased it renders form assessment a challenging process. Weathercock must have recorded a similar enough time to that of Freetrader (who I rated -75) in 1856 while carrying 8lb less but on easier going that I will award the former a raw rating of -73. Strictly at the weights in the 1857 Grand National Emigrant emerged 15 (pounds/lengths) superior to Weathercock, 16 better than Dangerous, 22 in advance of Westminster and 23 ahead of Treachery. Therefore, Emigrant's raw mark is -58. However, even allowing for the cosiness of his success the inequitable advantage he gained means I will downgrade Emigrant's rating to -73. Conversely, Weathercock's refusal likely cost him at least 20 lengths so I will uprate him to -53. I calculate from contemporary reports that failing to persevere cost Dangerous (much improved from his Jumps debut in the 1855 National) about 7 lengths, therefore, he will also be upgraded, to -67. Westminster receives -80 and Treachery -81.        




Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling