Grand National Ultimate History



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There was a lot less plough this year, easily more than half of the entire course was grass.


Fr 28 Mar 1879 (2.58) 4m 4 1/2f Good to Soft 10.12.00 18 £1,695 G. Moore

76 77 1 The Liberator 10 11-04 J.H. Moore Garrett Moore 5/1   Away well but then held up in mid-division 1C, 9th BB & WJ (where 12 remained). Began to move up early 2C and soon 4th. 12L 3rd behind front pair circa CT. Made up 10L on leading duo CS. Took lead just after entering straight, 1L ahead second last. Victory secured by last. Strode away. Very easily.
75 76 78 2 Jackal 11 11-00 J. Jones J. Jones 1000/65 10 Immediately led. Headed after 2nd and settled in mid-division. 8th BB 1C & WJ. 7th, still in midfield, VB 2C. Headway into 4th CS, 4L down in that position ABC. Took 2nd just after entering straight, 1L behind leader/winner at second last. Brief and modest effort between last 2. Beaten off by last. Kept on one-paced.
78 3 Martha(2) 8 10-13 H. Linde T. Beasley 50/1 2 Initially mid-dvision. Pulled way into 2nd before 3rd, same position BB 1C. 3rd mid CS & ABC 1C, chased leaders in 5th WJ. Further declined 2C to be a midfield 6th VB & ABC. Renewed progress to be closer up in 5th by second last and jumped into 3rd at final flight. Kept on well.
  4 Wild Monarch 8 11-07   H. Andrews 20/1 1/2 Soon became very prominent, 4th BB 1C. 5th mid CS & ABC 1C and a mid-division 7th WJ. Renewed headway into 3rd early 2C, chased leaders in 4th VB. Continued to pursue them in 5th ABC. Back up to 4th at second last and took 3rd again just after but outjumped last and lost a place. Kept on well but couldn't quite regain 3rd.
  5 Bob Ridley 8 10-09   T. Wilson 33/1   Away in mid-division but soon more prominent and took lead after 2nd. Clear advantage BB 1C. Joined mid CS 1C, pair clear. Regained narrow edge Gorsed Hurdle, 1/2L ahead WJ. Joined again by Lord Marcus before BB 2C and pair 12L clear by CT. Briefly headed VB. Gap to others reduced CS but led alone once more soon after ABC. Began to fade just after entering straight and 3rd at second last. Dropped to 5th between last 2. Continued to weaken.
76 77 6R Regal 8 11-10 J. Jewitt J. Jewitt 5/2F   Away well & very prominent until fell 2nd. Remounted tailed off. Regained rear of mid-division by mid CS 1C but last but one WJ. Effort began to tell early 2C, well towards rear in 9th VB. Plugged on gamely past weakening horses, 7th ABC and 6th from second last.
  7 Lord Marcus(1) 7 10-09 G. Knox W. Beasley NQ   Away in mid-division. Soon became prominent, 3rd after 2nd and at BB 1C. Joined leader mid CS 1C, pair clear. Dropped to 2nd Gorsed Hurdle and 3rd at WJ. Vied for lead with Bob Ridley again before BB 2C, duo 12L clear by CT. Led alone briefly VB. Gap to others reduced CS, headed soon after ABC and began to fade badly. Continued to weaken.
  8 Rossanmore 9 10-07 J. Connolly M. Toole 50/1   Slowly away. Progress into a mid-division 7th by BB 1C. A fore of midfield 6th WJ. Still mid-division in 8th VB 2C. Lumbered on becoming increasingly remote.
  9 Brigand 9 10-10 W. Reeves Cou Metternich 50/1   Soon outpaced and towards rear, well so mid CS 1C. Modest headway to be 10th WJ but last and struggling by VB 2C. Still rearmost ABC, finished tailed off and lame.
  10 Turco 7 10-09 H. Linde H. Beasley 100/6   Initially mid-division. Chased leaders in 6th BB 1C, same position ABC 1C. More prominent in 3rd Gorsed Hurdle and 4th WJ. Merely pursued frontrunners again in 5th VB 2C and weakened dramatically CS, 9th ABC. Continued to fade and finished tailed off.
  P Victor 5 10-12 Garrett Moore J. Beasley 100/8 17TH (BB) Slowly away and always towards rear, well so by mid CS 1C. Well behind in 12th & last WJ. Became increasingly remote 2C and PU immediately after BB.
  F Marshal Niel 5 10-12 W. Reeves P. Gavin 100/8 17TH (BB) Prominent. 5th BB 1C, 4th from mid CS to Gorsed Hurdle. Jumped into 2nd WJ. 4th again and appeared to be slightly weakening when fell BB 2C.
  R Queen Of Kildare 6 11-05 P. Doucie J. Doucie 40/1 2ND (FAN) Slowly away & rearmost. Refused 2nd.
  F Bacchus 5 11-01 R. I'Anson J. Cannon 10/1 1ST Away well. Very prominent when hampered by Jackal & Wild Monarch, unsighted and fell 1st.
  F Concha 6 10-02   Cpt W. Morris 50/1 1ST Mid-division, fell 1st.
78 B His Lordship 6 10-12 C. Rowlands G. Levitt 20/1 1ST Mid-division, BD by Concha 1st.
  B Bellringer 7 10-07 Cartwright A. Coventry 100/6 1ST Mid-division, BD by Concha 1st.
78 R The Bear 6 10-07 D. Marsh D. Marsh 10/1 1ST Rear of mid-division. Taken to the outside but threw head around & refused 1st.



It would not be the last time in Grand National history that the race appeared to have developed a first fence problem. The obstacle had been strengthened in 1875, however, this caused no great concern until the Nationals of 1878 and 1879 when a combined total of ten horses exited there, His Lordship (twice brought down) and The Bear, a nervous sort, not managing to negotiate the 1st in either year. It now seemed to be proving too formidable a fence for openers. Having survived it Bob Ridley and Lord Marcus proceeded to cut each other's throats and, despite an all out assault from the Beasley brothers (Tommy, Harry, Willie and Johnny), The Liberator gained an impressive maiden win for the Moore clan, a particularly sweet one for father John after 1878's controversy. Sources are contradictory regarding whether he or rider son Garrett actually trained the horse, who had wintered at Ludlow, however, it was due to an ownership dispute (with a third party) that John had put The Liberator into Garrett's name so I am inclined to believe the patriach was calling the shots.

The Liberator had clearly fully matured, winning in a canter, and, conservatively (the decent time being aided by the strong pace and glancing to the future), I reckon he had improved a stone and a half, but no more, from 1877 (when I rated his performance -39) to put himself on a par with Congress (who had sadly died). Whilst Shifnal (ill) and Austerlitz (injured) were late absentees and Regal, who had been fired, was unable to run his race because of an early fall, there is solid evidence without recourse to those winners of the previous three Grand Nationals courtesy of Jackal, a white-legged chesnut, and Martha. Strictly at the weights in 1879 The Liberator came out 10 (pounds/lengths) superior to Wild Monarch, 14 better than Jackal and 17 in advance of Martha. The latter appears to have performed very similarly to how she did last year (-39) and Jackal was almost certainly slightly eased when his chance of success had gone, therefore, I will allow him 2 to match his 1875 figure of -34. Accordingly, the French gelding Wild Monarch receives -32 and, as alluded to above, I will grant The Liberator 4 (half of what the winning margin would have been had Jackal been fully ridden out) for ease of victory and he will be added to my Scroll Of Merit which thus now reads: -14 Lottery, The Lamb, Disturbance; -18 Congress, The Liberator.



> A syndicated report which differs from those in the three main contemporary sporting newspapers says that Victor met trouble at the 1st. A couple of daily rags in which this report appears contradict themselves in their narrative by firstly stating the horse was BD and remounted at the opening obstacle and then later claiming he refused there and was kept going. I find it hard to give credence to the report.

> Neither does a lone paper uniquely saying The Bear was kept going after his refusal at the 1st only to repeat the trick at the 2nd hold any water for me.     







Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling