Grand National Ultimate History



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Fr 24 Mar 1882 (3.15) 4m 4 1/2f Soft 10.42.60 12 £1,000 Lord Manners

  1 Seaman(2) 6 11-06 J. Jewitt Lord Manners 10/1   Soon became very prominent, 2nd at 1st and retained that position until approaching Gorsed Hurdle where 3rd. 4th (of 11) WJ where bad mistake & nearly UR. 5th early 2C, left 4th BB, left 3rd approaching CT and left 2nd VB. 4th & last of those remaining ABC. Still rearmost but only about 4L down entering straight. Bothered by loose horse (Black Prince) on run to second last where nevertheless closer up. Took 2nd between last 2. 1L down last where went lame. Gamely persisted, gradually wore down leader and got up in shadow of post.
  2 Cyrus 5 10-09 H. Linde T. Beasley 9/2 HD Away well, 4th at 1st. Chased leader in same position BB 1C. 6th VB and had dropped to a mid-division 9th by WJ. Rallied (and benefited from the misfortunes of others) to be 4th early CS 2C and further headway to be 3L down in 2nd ABC. Forged narrow avantage entering straight, led at second last. 1L ahead over last. Caught & headed in shadow of post.
  3 Zoedone 5 10-00   Cpt D. Smith 20/1 DIST Mid-division, 7th VB 1C. Chased leader in 5th WJ. Made further ground early 2C, 2nd BB. Left in lead approaching CT. 3L ahead ABC. Headed but still close up in 3rd entering straight. Came under pressure between last 2 and weakened very badly.
81 4 Montauban 8 10-07 H. Hall G. Waddington 100/6   Fore of mid-division. Chased leader in 4th VB 1C and up to 3rd WJ. Same position very early 2C. Lost place shortly after but left 6th BB. 5th early CS and soon made headway into 3rd, left 2nd CS ditch. Dropped temporarily to 3rd ABC. Regained 2nd, very close up, entering straight. Came under pressure between last 2 and weakened very badly. Became distressed and eased to a walk run in.
81 F The Scot 6 11-08 J. Jewitt J. Jewitt 5/1 21ST (CS DITCH) Towards rear, last BB 1C. Began to make headway before VB 1C, 6th WJ. Left 5th BB 2C, left 4th approaching CT and left 3rd VB. 2nd when fell heavily CS ditch.
  B Fay 7 10-07 J. Jewitt T. Wilson 100/7 19TH (VB) Initiallly mid-division. Progress to be 3rd VB 1C, 4th ABC. Further headway to take 2nd approaching Gorsed Hurdle, same position WJ & early 2C. 3rd BB but left 2nd again approaching CT. BD by loose horse (Black Prince) next (VB).
  RO Eau De Vie 7 10-08 D. Marsh D. Thirlwell 100/8 18TH (CT) Away well, pulled way into lead before 1st. 6L ahead BB 1C, 15L clear CT 1C. Lead reduced to former distance by WJ but still ahead and full of running when stirrup leather broke upon landing BB 2C. Veered sharply right & ran out approaching CT.
76 77 79 80 81 F The Liberator 13 12-07 W. Manser J. Adams 20/1 17TH (BB) Initially rear of mid-division. Towards rear BB 1C, last VB and last but one WJ. Headway early 2C and 4th when overjumped & fell BB.
79 80 F Wild Monarch 11 10-12 C. Cunningham H. Andrews 100/7 16TH Away well & immediately led. Headed before 1st where merely chased leaders. Gradually faded into rear of mid-division by BB 1C and had dropped to last by WJ. Tired when fell at fence before BB 2C. Broke thigh. Dead.
  F Mohican 5 10-07 H. Linde H. Beasley 100/30F 14TH  (FAN) Away well, 3rd at 1st. Same position but merely chased leader BB 1C. 5th VB, 3rd again ABC 1C. Began to fade shortly after and a mid-division 8th WJ. Rallying early 2C when not get high enough & fell Fan.
  B Black Prince 10  10-00 R. Exshaw F. Wynne NQ 14TH (FAN) Mid-division 1C, 7th WJ. Trying to make progress early 2C when BD by Mohican at Fan.
  R Ignition 10 10-05 R. Wyatt B. Sensier 50/1 2ND (FAN) Towards rear, refused 2nd.



Run in blinding rain but on going not nearly so testing as for the renewals either side of it, the 1882 Grand National was, arguably, all round the best so far. That was in no small part due to the epic performance of Seaman who, having already made a bad mistake at the Water Jump and been bothered by a loose horse, displayed extraordinary tenacity and class to beat the latest Linde hotpot despite breaking down in the suspensory ligament of a hind leg at the last. Whilst adrenaline may have helped Seaman, he was giving 11lb to his half-brother Cyrus in adverse conditions (at their worst along the canal side on the first circuit and so bad the pre-race parade was cancelled) and his owner/jockey's racing manager, Captain James Machell, believed the chronically unsound Seaman was merely 75% fit! This must be regarded as an under exaggeration, however, much credit attaches itself to James Jewitt for the lenient final preparation he gave Seaman, no doubt with plenty of input from Machell. The crafty Captain had been sent the horse by Lord John Manners following Seaman's purchase from none other than Henry Linde! The latter had had Seaman fired as a 2-y-o and then won big races in Ireland, Britain and France with him in 1881. He was put on the market because Linde felt the horse was liable to break down imminently (Machell, incidentally, concurred). Considering that Seaman was a very well proportioned creature, although small, we might mischievously speculate on whether the master of Eyrefield Lodge was making a statement about his own training methods. Linde was, of course, proved correct but not before his former charge had nabbed the biggest prize of all and in doing so denied both himself and Tommy Beasley a National hatrick. Cyrus's stablemate Mohican, ridden by brother Harry, was actually shorter in the betting, however, it's hard to think Linde would have put Tommy, generally regarded as the top jockey of the period, on a second string. Yet was there a fatal flaw in Tommy's mental makeup (his great nephew, Bobby Beasley, was an alcoholic)? The reader may recall he lodged a frivolous and unsporting objection immediately after the 1878 Grand National and there was contemporary suggestion that he may have been complacent here in 1882. One way of looking at it is that Beasley, T. was out-duelled by a relative novice race-rider on board a crock. However, that would be unfair to Hoppy Manners, a highly experienced huntsman, and a heroic horse. Neither Seaman nor Manners competed in a National again, the former serving as the latter's hack and as a pet to his kids.

The drama in 1882 was far from restricted to the winner and runner-up. Zoedone was short of work and her lack of fitness told spectacularly. The Scot, the most fancied of the Machell-connected runners and the mount of Jewitt, was going well when falling and had improved since 1881, however, as a consequence he was carting 22lb more. The third stablemate Fay had every chance when brought down by the same loose horse who bothered Seaman, namely Black Prince who himself was upended (by Mohican) before creating a general nuisance. Eau De Vie could possibly be considered the most unfortunate of all, she reappeared the next day and won the Grand Sefton by 15 lengths, however, the indication from the 1883 Grand National (albeit she had a lot more weight on much deeper ground and may not have been in the same form) would be that she didn't stay the trip. Sadly, the 1879 fourth Wild Monarch became the National's first fatality for ten years.

I severely doubt, even at the weights, that any of those to suffer misfortune would have beaten Seaman who was a high quality horse. The time, allowing for course differences, compares very favourably to that for the most recent previous National on similar going in 1876 when Regal (also similar weight, good pace to run off and margin of victory) earned a rating of -27. Bearing in mind the adversity faced by Seaman, casting a glance to the future and without getting carried away I have no hesitation in rating his performance alongside the best on my Scroll Of Merit to this point (-14). This figure incorporates an allowance of 6 (pounds/lengths) to conservatively reflect (being cognizant of the adrenaline factor) the ground lost by Seaman due to his various troubles. As he strictly came out 11 better than Cyrus I will award the latter -31 (a very similar standard to the stable's 1881 winner Woodbrook). The Scroll now reads: -14 Lottery, The Lamb, Disturbance, Seaman; -18 Congress, The Liberator.                 






Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling