Grand National Ultimate History



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Fr 29 Mar 1889 (3.38) 4m 4f Good 10.01.20 20 £1,234 M. Maher

84 85 86 87 88 1 Frigate 11 11-04 M. Maher T. Beasley 8/1   Away quite well. Chased leaders 1C, 7th CT & WJ (where 14 remained). Continued to be held onto 2C, a midfield 8th VB. Headway into 5th early CS, 6th soon after ABC. Good further progress and jumped into 2nd at 29th, 3L down. Took lead last. 3L ahead Elbow. Prematurely slightly eased but when quickly shaken up ran on well, always holding runner-up.
  2 Why Not 8 11-05 H. Hall C.J. Cunningham 100/9 1 Away well & very prominent 1st. Briefly disputed lead 2nd. 4th BB 1C but led alone by CT. Joined CS, 2nd at 11th. Vied for lead again ABC, back in front 13th & 14th. Headed Chair, 2nd WJ. Led 17th, 2nd once more 18th, ahead again BB. 3rd VB but took 2nd CS and regained lead before ABC. Rejoined shortly after it but reclaimed outright lead before 29th where 3L to the good. Decisively headed last and 3L down Elbow. Rallied gamely last 100yds but always held.
  3 M.P. 8 10-09 G. Mulcaster A. Nightingall 20/1 DIST Chased leaders until became prominent 1st. 6th at 2nd and up to 2nd BB 1C. 4th by CT, 5th at 11th, 4th again from ABC to 14th. 5th once more WJ. Dropped to 8th early 2C but pursued leaders in 5th BB and led VB. Driven into as much as a 4L lead mid CS but headed before ABC and only 4th shortly after it. A fading 5th at 29th and came under even more severe pressure between last 2. However, not alone in that regard and although well beaten was ridden out. 3rd Elbow and finished a bad 3rd.
87 88 4 Bellona 7 11-02 J. Cannon C. Waller 20/1 4 Slowly away & towards rear 1C, last but one WJ. Had improved into a mid-division 6th by BB 2C. Same position VB and dropped 2 places early CS before resuming good progress, disputed lead shortly after ABC. Began to fade before 29th where 4th. Came under even more severe pressure between last 2 and well beaten. 5th at Elbow but laboured on past wearier rival to finish 4th.
88 5 Magic 10 10-09 J. Jones J. Jones 25/1   Away quite well, prominent 1st and 3rd at 2nd. Had dropped into mid-division by CT 1C, 10th WJ. 9th early 2C. No revival and 8th shortly after ABC, not going well. However, plodded on past weakening horses. 7th Elbow, finished 5th.
  6 The Sikh 6 10-04 S. Harding D. Thirlwell 100/9   Chased leaders, 6th BB 1C. 8th CT 1C & 11th. Had dropped to 11th by WJ. Remained in mid-division 2C, 7th from BB to early CS, until rallied to be 5th shortly after ABC. Dropped to 6th before 29th and continued to gradually weaken thereafter, though retaining 6th at Elbow and post.
88 7 The Fawn 7 10-10 H. Horton W. Beasley 25/1   Initially mid-division. Became handy in 5th at 2nd but only chased leaders by 3rd, 7th BB 1C. Became very prominent 7th and 3rd from CT 1C, merely 2L down in that position ABC. Took lead Chair until headed briefly 17th. Regained lead next but headed again just before BB where 2nd. Same position VB. 3rd shortly after ABC. Briefly dropped to 4th on run to 29th where 3rd again. Began to fade and beaten by last. Hung onto 4th to Elbow but very badly weakened further run in.
88 8 Ringlet 8 11-12 Sam Darling John Walsh 66/1   Enthusiasm to chase leaders quickly evaporated and towards rear 1st, last BB 1C & WJ. Modest progress to be 7th shortly after ABC 2C but never going well and weakened thereafter. Finished tailed off, 20L behind the 7th.
  9 Battle Royal 5 10-08 Lewis H. Beasley 25/1   Initially mid-division but became very prominent by 1st. Soon restrained and 9th CT 1C. Renewed and controlled headway to be 4th at 11th. 5th from ABC to 14th, 4th again WJ and early 2C. Had dropped back to midfield by BB. 6th early CS but had faded away to be 10th shortly after ABC, not going well. Continued to weaken and finished well tailed off.
85 86 87 88 10 Gamecock 10 11-12 A. Yates B. Dollery 33/1   Mid-division. Prominent by 3rd. Chased leaders in 5th BB 1C. 2nd by CT 1C, disputed lead early CS and led outright at 11th. Joined ABC, 2nd over 13th & 14th, 3rd WJ & 17th. 4th from next to BB 2C and still fairly handy in 5th VB. Faded more precipitously thereafter and 9th, virtually tailed off, by end of CS. Continued to weaken and finished well tailed off.
  11 Glenthorpe 5 10-10 W. Moore W. Moore 10/1   Set off in rear of mid-division but had become prominent by 1st. Gradually declined to be towards rear by CT 1C. Modest headway CS, 9th WJ. Further progress to be 6th early 2C but only a midfield 8th BB. Soon after went lame and lost ground rapidly. Tailed off in 11th by end of CS. Forced to limp on, finished well tailed off.
84 85 86 87 12R Roquefort 10 12-00 W. Wilson T. Wilson 6/1F   Away well, 2nd at 1st, 4th at 2nd. 3rd BB 1C, 5th by CT, 7th at 11th, 6th ABC & WJ. 5th again early 2C, 3rd from 18th to BB. 4th VB but regained 3rd soon after and in same position, going well, when fell 27th (OD). Remounted, utterly tailed off.
  P Great Paul 7 10-00 W. Moore W. Ellis 200/1 27TH (OD) Slowly away & towards rear 1st. 10th CT 1C and further gradual headway to be 6th at 13th & 14th. Had dropped back to 12th by WJ. Came under pressure after 17th and dropped to last. Well beaten, virtually tailed off, by BB. Exhausted when PU circa 27th.
84 F Voluptuary 11 11-03 W. Wilson T. Skelton 100/6 23RD Away well & led. Briefly joined 2nd but led outright again from 3rd to beyond BB 1C. Had been headed by CT 1C where 6th. Same position at 11th. 8th WJ. 7th early 2C. Began to come under pressure and a rear of mid-division 9th BB 2C. Well beaten when fell next.
85 R Kilworth 12 10-13 S. Harding Cpt R. Owen 40/1 4TH Initially mid-division. Chased leaders by 3rd. Refused 4th.
87 88 P Ballot Box 10 12-07 Sam Darling William Nightingall 20/1 4TH Slowly away & towards rear. Took off too soon 3rd (ditch) & blundered badly, landing with nose on turf, causing bridle to slip off. PU before next.
  F Hettie 6 10-05 J. Jones A. Hall 66/1 3RD (OD) Away quite well, 7th at 2nd. Fore of mid-division when fell into ditch 3rd.
  F Et Caetera 5 10-13 J. Cannon G. Morris 8/1 3RD (OD) Mid-division until took off too soon & fell into ditch 3rd.
  R Merry Maiden 7 10-07   Cpt S. Lee-Barber 66/1 1ST Mid-division, did not like the look of the 1st & declined it (falling when then in collision with Savoyard).
86 87 88 B Savoyard 11 11-11 S. Harding G. Lambton 25/1 1ST Rear of mid-division, BD by the refusing Merry Maiden at the 1st.



The 1889 Grand National brought a hugely popular and richly deserved success for Frigate who carried Mat Maher's purple and white colours to victory, that night the tar barrels blazed in County Wexford. In becoming the tenth winning mare and the oldest horse to triumph since 1857, she gave a more mature (though even here there was a hint of complacency) Tommy Beasley, the third of the brothers to ride Frigate in the race, his third National. By general consent Frigate was the best mare to have won the annual Aintree spectacular to this point, indeed it can be argued she was pretty much as good as anything that ran in 1880s Nationals post Seaman (1882). Overall the 1870s had been a stronger decade than the one coming to a close, as would be the 1890s. And with an eye towards the upcoming decennium, race debutant Why Not here established himself as virtually on a par with Frigate, in fact the 1889 renewal resembled a passing of the baton because Why Not's Grand National career would mirror the magnificent mare's. Dropping the stick earlier on the track, as it were, Savoyard had the tin hat applied to his star-crossed National life when brought down at the 1st by a recalcitrant outsider, and late faller Roquefort cannot be considered unlucky because there must be a doubt that he would have continued to apply himself when things became tougher and, more pertinently, he was giving 10lb to Frigate whom I rated 6lb his superior in the year of his victory (1885). Another returning conqueror of the mare at the weights Voluptuary reappeared, to little avail, following four years of intermittently treading the boards and Kilworth came back from a twelvemonth's lesser absence from the National only to confirm he preferred to be kept away.

The winning time in 1889 pretty well equated with Gamecock's on Good going in 1887 (raw rating -36) after adjustment for the shorter race distance now traversed. Considering that the surface in 1889 (described by one journalist as "fairly good" following persistent rain on the Thursday) was a liitle more on the easier side than it had been two years previously, that the jumping test had become a deal stiffer and that Frigate carried 4lb more than had the horse who this year finished out with the washing we can see that the mare's triumphant performance was a fair bit the better of the two on the clock alone. And in terms of collateral form, which is more reliable, I rated Frigate -25 in 1888. Therefore, bearing in mind contemporary opinion of Frigate's worth (see above) and that the existing highest rating awarded to a victorious mare is the -24 I allocated to Charity in 1841, plus glancing ahead to Why Not's future Grand National exploits, I am happy to raise Frigate to -23 for her effort in 1889. Why Not came out the mare's equal strictly at the weights, however, he was always being held by her so I will give him -24.







Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling