Grand National Ultimate History



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There was a little more plough than last year, grass accounting for less than half of the whole course.


Fr 23 Mar 1877 (2.50) 4m 4 1/2f Good 10.16.00 16 £1,290 F. Hobson

  1 Austerlitz 5 10-08 R. I'Anson F. Hobson 15/1   Away well & soon led. Headed not long after 1st, 4th BB 1C. Chased leaders in 8th ABC, a fore of midfield 5th WJ (where all 16 remained). 2nd early 2C and took lead again before BB. Joined soon after, duo 4L clear. Pair joined by The Liberator CS, trio still clear. Continued to dispute lead ABC. Forged narrow ascendancy entering straight but headed before second last where 1/2L down. Vied for lead once more between last 2 and jumped into a 2L advantage last. Ridden out and ran on well.
73 74 75 76 2 Congress 11 12-07 J. Jewitt J. Cannon 20/1 4 Mid-division 1st, 5th BB 1C and 3rd VB 1C but struggled on the plough down the CS & midfield again ABC. Rallied on grass to be 4th Gorsed Hurdle & WJ. Remained prominent early 2C. Gifted 5th BB but again struggled on CS plough and dropped back into mid-div. 8th, 20+L down, ABC and appeared beaten. However, ran on very well when re-encountering grass and 5th entering straight. Took 4th between last 2 and gamely got up for 2nd post albeit a couple of rivals were eased.
76 3 The Liberator 8 10-12 J.H. Moore T. Pickernell 25/1 NK Mid-division at 1st, 9th BB 1C. Chased leaders in 4th ABC 1C, a fore of mid-division 6th WJ. Good headway early 2C and gifted 3rd BB. Joined leading pair CS, trio clear. 3rd, 3L down, ABC. Same position but closer entering straight and took lead before second last where 1/2L ahead. Joined between last 2, came under pressure and comprehensively outjumped last from which emerged 2L adrift. Slightly eased when beaten & lost 2nd post.
74 76 4 Chimney Sweep(2) 10 10-13 J. Jones J. Jones 7/1 4 Away well & very prominent. 2nd at 1st & BB 1C. 4th VB 1C, 3rd ABC & Gorsed Hurdle, 2nd again WJ. Took lead early 2C but headed before BB. Disputed lead soon after and duo went 4L clear. Pair joined by The Liberator CS, trio still clear. Continued to vie for lead ABC but a neck down in 2nd and under pressure entering straight. Dropped to 4th before second last and to 5th between last 2. Kept on one-paced, gifted 4th by eased rival.
  5 Sultana 7 10-11 H. Linde T. Beasley 50/1   Generally towards rear 1C, 13th WJ. Little change 2C until minor late progress to be head of rear-division in 7th entering straight. Passed a couple of disheartened rivals to finish a bad 5th.
76 6 Regal 6 12-02 J. Jewitt J. Jewitt 8/1   Away well & immediately led, quickly headed and 3rd at 1st. 7th BB 1C, chased leaders in 5th ABC. Had dropped to a mid-division 10th by WJ. Headway early 2C and 3rd again when hampered by Austerlitz BB & lost position. Disheartened and back in midfield by CS. 7th, 20+L down, ABC. 6th entering straight but continued to fade.
74 75 7 Dainty 11 10-04   J. Goodwin 20/1   Slowly away & held up towards rear 1C, last but one WJ. Still in rear-division CT 2C but headway into a midfield 5th CS and to be a 9L 4th ABC. Same position but closer up entering straight, 3rd at second last. Continued her effort until near last where defeat was accepted and subsequently very heavily eased, losing several places.
  8 Lancet(2) 10 11-00 J. Potter S. Daniels 33/1   Prominent 1st. 8th BB 1C. Chased leaders in 6th ABC but 8th again, in mid-division, WJ. Mid to rear 2C until modest rally under pressure CS. A midfield 6th, 20L down, ABC. Thereafter weakened.
76 9 Shifnal 8 11-05 R. I'Anson R. I'Anson 100/14   Prominent 1st but a mid-division 10th BB 1C. Still midfield in 7th WJ but not travel well. 8th CS 2C. Beaten soon after ABC. Weakened quite badly.
  10 Earl Marshal 6 10-10 C. Richardson Vsc Melgund NQ   Mid-division, 11th BB 1C. Had dropped towards rear by WJ where 14th. Remained in rear-division until CT 2C. Headway into a midfield 6th CS and 5th, 20L down, ABC. Weakened badly thereafter.
  P Pride Of Kildare 6 11-04 J.H. Moore D. Canavan jnr 12/1 ABC 2C Prominent 1st but unable to keep up with early gallop and towards rear BB 1C. Rear of mid-division 12th WJ. Promising headway in the midfield 2C, 6th BB, 4th (someway adrift of leading trio) mid CS. Stopped to nil and PU circa ABC.
73 74 P Reugny 9 11-06 W. Wilson T. Wilson 100/15F ABC 2C Mid-division 1C, 12th BB, 11th WJ. Headway early 2C and gifted 4th BB. Still going well when broke down on off fore soon after VB. Dropped towards rear and tailed off when PU circa ABC.
  P Citizen 6 10-05 W. Reeves W. Reeves 12/1 ABC 2C Prominent 1st. Took lead before BB 1C. Headed just after VB 1C, 2nd ABC & Gorsed Hurdle, 3rd WJ. Began to fade early 2C, fore of mid-division BB. Had dropped into rear-division by next (CT). Tailed off when PU circa ABC.
76 P Gamebird 8 10-11 J.H. Moore J. Hutchinson 25/1 ABC 2C Very slowly away, towards rear 1st and tailed off by CT 1C. A little closer to rest of field WJ but still rearmost. Remained last at BB 2C. Became tailed off again and PU circa ABC.
  F Arbitrator 6 10-06 E. Weever H. Crawshaw 14/1 19TH (VB) Mid-division 1st. Up to 6th BB 1C. Chased leaders in 7th ABC 1C but only a mid-division 9th WJ. Soon began to fade 2C, dropped towards rear and very tired when fell VB.
76 R Zero 7 11-02 J. Jones J. Sherrington 50/1 16TH Away in midfield but quickly became prominent and took lead soon after 1st. Headed before BB 1C where 3rd. Regained lead just after VB 1C, going a little way clear towards ABC 1C. Bad mistake at Gorsed Hurdle and only just ahead WJ. Began to fade early 2C, soon dropped towards rear and tired refusal at fence before BB.



In a renewal that saw the initial of four brothers Beasley (Tommy) debut, Fred Hobson became the first owner/jockey to triumph in the Grand National since 1848. He was an unorthodox rider who held onto his saddle and leant right back at jumps, which was in stark contrast to Austerlitz's trainer Robert I'Anson (the name derives from the Scottish Iain) who was tall and stylish in the plate but never rode a National winner. I'Anson was successful, however, in completely laying out Austerlitz, who had shown nothing in the current season akin to his form in the previous one, for the 1877 National. Neither Hobson nor Austerlitz, an entire, took part in the race again. Alas, fate ensured that 1877 was Liverpool last orders for Tommy Pickernell too. He was forced to retire a month later after sustaining serious injuries, which included the loss of sight in one eye, in a Sandown fall. The NHC made him an inspector of courses but Pickernell's last years were poverty stricken. A return to the retirement from whence he had emerged beckoned also for the favourite Reugny who was well in if able to perform as he had in 1874 and was going nicely when breaking down. He was now owned by Mr Gomm and two other beasts who had passed through Captain Machell's hands, Regal and Congress, were currently the property of Lord Lonsdale for whom Machell acted as racing manager. The latter horse became the latest dual runner-up and signed off from the National with as epic a weight carrying effort as there had been in the race so far.

Strictly at the weights in the 1877 Grand National Congress (-18 in 1876) came out 23 (pounds/lengths) superior to The Liberator and Austerlitz and 26 better than old rival Chimney Sweep (twice before rated -43). Congress, on the one hand, seems to have been able to stay even more effectively than on the Soft of 1876 now re-encountering better turf in 1877 (he made up at least 16 lengths on Austerlitz from the Anchor Bridge Crossing despite carrying nearly two stone more) but, on the other, would have appreciated less plough. This was, as often the case, at its worse along the canal side and troubled Congress who overall, therefore, I am inclined to believe probably ran identically to how I allowed he would have done without impediment in 1876. To tie his best performance (of -18) under 12st 7lb was a great achievement and it will be noted on my Scroll Of Merit (but the Scroll does not need to be updated in this discussion). Chimney Sweep had a pacemaker in 1877, Zero who had won the Sefton very easily the day before the National, but it made no difference. Chimney Sweep lacked a change of gear and this year receives -44. Austerlitz thus gets -41, however, The Liberator was slightly eased (tossing away second) so his performance merits -39. It would transpire that the latter was still maturing and strengthening (as was his stable companion Pride Of Kildare). Some jockeys in this era couldn't have cared less about their placing once their winning chance had gone and it's also possible that if not heavily eased Dainty may well have finished where Chimney Sweep did. That would have earned the former a rating of only -53 compared to her -41 in 1875, however, Dainty was now 11, joint oldest with Congress in the race and, in contrast to Congress, must have deterioated with age. Regal (-27 in 1876) became disheartened after nearly beng knocked over by Austerlitz at second Becher's and almost certainly preferred more cut. And finally, Shifnal (-34 last year) did not run his race in 1877, he was under the cosh from halfway and likely did not appreciate the better going and/or was outpaced on it.           






Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling