Grand National Ultimate History



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1st/17th - 4' 8" H (was 4' 6"); 2nd/18th - 4' 6" H (5'); 3rd/19th (OD) - ditch 6' W (6' 3"), fence 4' 9" (4' 6"); 5th/21st - 4' 8" H (4' 6"); 6th/22nd (BB) - brook 8' W (9' 6"); 9th/25th (VB) - fence 4' 8" H (5'); 11th/27th (OD) - ditch 7' W (6'), fence 5' H (4' 6").


Fr 24 Mar 1893 (3.56) 4m 4f Firm 9.32.40 15 £1,975 C. Duff

91 92 1 Cloister 9 12-07 A. Yates B. Dollery 9/2F   Away well & very prominent 1st. Led from 2nd. Extended advantage CS 1C. Given a breather towards end of 1C but still 4L up WJ (where 11 remained). Clear BB 2C, 12L ahead 29th. Romped further away.
  2 Aesop 7 10-04 Craddock A. Barker 100/12 40 Away well & very prominent from 1st to BB 1C. 3rd ABC 1C, 5th WJ. Same position VB 2C. No chance with winner but took 2nd towards 29th. Weakened.
89 90 91 3 Why Not 12 11-12 W. Moore A. Nightingall 5/1 DIST Progress to be 3rd WJ. Took 2nd early on 2C, 4th BB to VB, 2nd again ABC. Began to fade approaching 29th where 3rd. Badly weakened further.
  4 Tit For Tat 9 10-00 S. Harding G. Williamson 25/1 4 Became very prominent by BB 1C but had dropped to 9th by WJ. Continued in rear of mid-division early 2C. 6th from BB to VB. Tailed off but plugged on past beaten horses.
92 5 The Midshipmite 7 12-03 A. Yates B. Sensier 100/15 8 Prominent 1st & 2nd then chased leader until slightly lost position CS 1C, 7th WJ. Rallied to be 3rd early 2C, 2nd by BB. Came under pressure 26th and weakened continually thereafter.
92 6 Father O'Flynn 8 11-11 Gordon Wilson G. Milne 100/9   Always towards rear, last but one WJ and no impact whatsoever. Laboured on.
91 7 Roman Oak 9 11-09 J. Gatland W. Cullen 40/1   Prominent early, soon mid-division. 6th ABC 1C, 8th WJ. Effort to chase clear leader 2C, 3rd from BB to ABC. Weakened very badly thereafter, well tailed off.
92 8 Faust 8 10-06 Clarkson Cpt J. Yardley 33/1   Away well. Very prominent BB 1C. An increasingly distant 2nd CS 1C and dropped to 4th by ABC 1C, 6th WJ. Last but one BB to VB 2C. Broke down badly and finished on three legs.
  P Field Marshal(2) 7 11-04 S. Harding Cpt E. Crawley 28/1 24TH (CT) Initially towards rear. Progress to chase leader CS 1C, 4th WJ. Unable to make any further impact and faded before BB 2C. Well beaten when PU CT 2C.
91 P Choufleur 7 10-13 J. Gatland T. Kavanagh 100/1 20TH Away well & very prominent 1st & 2nd. Remained handy, 2nd WJ. Dropped into mid-division early 2C. Very bad mistake 20th & immediately PU.
  P Golden Gate 6 10-02 T. Cannon jnr G. Mawson 33/1 18TH Headway to chase leader briefly CS 1C but quickly faded and towards rear ABC 1C, last WJ. Tailed off when PU 18th.
  F Joan Of Arc 8 10-04 W. Puttrell G. Morris 50/1 15TH (CHAIR) Towards rear until brief headway CS 1C. Soon faded and last ABC 1C. Still rearmost when fell Chair.
  F Lady Helen 7 11-01 Hardy B. Nightingall 50/1 7TH Slowly away & towards rear until fell 7th.
92 F The Primate 7 11-03 Hardy Cpt P. Bewicke 100/7 3RD (OD) Led 1st, very prominent 2nd, fell 3rd.
  R Golden Link 6 10-03   N. Behan 100/1 2ND Slowly away & towards rear 1st. Refused 2nd.



Another estimated record crowd, amid a freak spring heatwave, saw an astonishing performance by Cloister. It was one of absolute perfection from a steeplechaser as he literally galloped and jumped his rivals into the dust. Cloister, who had already shown improved form in the 1892/93 season, had fully matured and clearly proved very well suited by the extremely Firm going whereas no other runner in the 1893 Grand National appeared to enjoy the hard and dry surface, including Why Not who had rarely displayed his best since his heavy fall in the 1891 renewal and was now 12. Every horse who made any kind of effort to try to go with Cloister eventually weakened badly. Arthur Yates gained his second National training success and stable jockey Bill Dollery, a former shepherd, his sole victory. It was a maiden triumph for owner Charles Duff who would change his name by royal licence in 1905. His horse was unable to contest a Grand National again due to lameness which suddenly appeared in the run up to both the 1894 and 1895 renewals, on each occasion shortly after his odds had begun to drift! Cloister's comfortable Grand Sefton win, carrying 13st 3lb, in the autumn between those two Nationals strongly suggests there was no long-term physical problem, therefore, we must conclude it's decidedly likely that he was twice nobbled on behalf of fearful bookmakers. Sadly, the money-oriented shenanigans that had intermittently plagued the race since its inception in 1836 continued to exist.

In the 1893 Grand National Cloister carted 7lb more than had any previous winner of the race (8lb more than any since it had become a handicap in 1843) and registered a time competitive with the best recorded at any of the three intended distances over which it had been run. Bearing in mind (see the 1859 and 1871 discussions) that a length is 8ft and that a jumper is deemed to cover about 5 lengths per second (overall; to avoid exaggeration when the going is testing for the National marathon and horses finish slowly I am inclined to employ anything up to half of that figure) it's possible to make some basic comparisons between these three clock-busting performances (all, unsurprisingly, achieved on ground on the fast side of Good). Huntsman (rated -34) put up a time of 9.30.00 over roughly 4m 3f in 1862. By 1871 the race distance was approximately 900ft or 112.5 lengths longer and the extra span should consume 22.50s, therefore, The Lamb (rated -14) in clocking 9.35.75 was proportionally clearly much quicker. With the course alteration for 1888 the distance became 149yds or 447ft or 55.875 lengths shorter so, proportionally, to beat The Lamb's time a horse would have to run 11.175s faster, therefore, achieving a time of 9.24.57. Cloister (so far rated -25) managed 9.32.40. Delving more deeply, however, there are pros and cons. Cloister negotiated a much sterner jumping test, carried 16lb more than The Lamb had and was not pushed remotely as hard by his rivals so may have been able run faster still. On the other hand, The Lamb ran on going that wasn't nearly as quick (it's doubtful that the ground for any Grand National was as road-like as that in 1893) and had to contend with far more plough, which he hated. In conclusion, it's impossible to say which of these two time performances is the more meritorious. Furthermore, I cannot countenance rating Cloister above Come Away after the events of 1891. There can be no doubt, though, that Cloister's 1893 effort fully warrants him a place alongside The Lamb and Come Away on my Scroll Of Merit which now reads: -14 Lottery, The Lamb, Disturbance, Seaman, Come Away, Cloister; -18 Congress, The Liberator.           









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling