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" H (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 & 2nd over 1st. Led from before 2nd. Extended advantage CS 1C. Given a breather towards end of 1C but still 4L up WJ (where 11 remained). Continued in same vein 2C. Handy lead BB, 8L in front ABC, 12L ahead 29th. Romped further away.
  2 Aesop 7 10-04 E. Craddock A. Barker 100/12 40 Away well & led until headed before 2nd. Generally 3rd from BB 1C to ABC. Still prominent in 5th WJ. 4th early 2C. 5th BB & VB. 4th again ABC. No chance with winner but took 2nd between last 2. Faded.
89 90 91 3 Why Not 12 11-12 W. Moore A. Nightingall 5/1 DIST Held up in rear of mid-division 1C until progress to be prominent in 4th WJ. Took 2nd early on 2C, 4th BB to VB, 2nd again ABC (8L down). 12L adrift 29th and dropped to 3rd between last 2. Considerably further weakened and finished a bad 3rd.
  4 Tit For Tat 9 10-00 S. Harding G. Williamson 25/1 4 Initially mid-division but progress to be 2nd BB & VB 1C. Had dropped back to be last but one by WJ. 9th early 2C, 6th from BB to ABC. Tailed off but plugged on past beaten horses to take 4th before 29th and kept on.
92 5 The Midshipmite 7 12-03 A. Yates B. Sensier 100/15 8 Prominent, 4th at 1st and 5th at 2nd. Merely chased leader in 7th BB & VB 1C. Lost position CS 1C and dropped towards rear but rallied to be a mid-division 7th WJ. 3rd early 2C, 2nd from BB to VB. Came under pressure 26th and began to fade, 5th and beaten ABC. Continued to weaken, 6th at 29th. Finished well tailed off.
92 6 Father O'Flynn 8 11-11 Gordon Wilson G. Milne 100/9   Always rear of mid-division 1C, 9th WJ. No great progress early 2C, towards rear in 7th at 23rd. Same position 29th. Laboured on, well tailed off.
91 7 Roman Oak 9 11-09 J. Gatland W. Cullen 40/1   Prominent, 5th at 1st and 6th at 2nd. Same position but merely chasing leader BB & VB 1C. 5th again ABC but had dropped to a rear of mid-division 8th by WJ. 7th early 2C. Headway to be 3rd BB & VB, 2nd mid CS, 3rd once more ABC. Had declined back to 5th by 29th and badly further weakened thereafter, finishing well tailed off.
92 8 Faust 8 10-06 J. Clarkson Cpt J. Yardley 33/1   Away quite well. 4th from BB until mid CS 1C. Chased leader in 6th WJ. 8th early 2C. Hung on in midfield until BB but then immediately began to fade further. Last but one CS, 8th & last at 29th. Broke down badly and finished completely tailed off on three legs.
  P Field Marshal(2) 7 11-04 S. Harding Cpt E. Crawley 28/1 ABC 2C A rear of mid-division 13th at 1st, towards rear 3rd. Progress to chase leader in 8th BB 1C. Same position VB but further headway into 2nd CS 1C. 4th ABC, 3rd WJ. Only 6th early 2C, came under pressure and faded further before BB 2C. 9th & last CS. Well beaten when PU circa ABC.
91 P Choufleur 7 10-13 J. Gatland T. Kavanagh 100/1 20TH Away well & prominent 1st, 4th at 2nd. Remained very handy: 5th BB & VB 1C, 3rd CS, 2nd ABC & WJ (where 4L down). Dropped back to 5th again early 2C. Very bad mistake 20th & immediately PU.
  P Golden Gate 6 10-02 T. Cannon jnr G. Mawson 33/1 18TH Mid-division until headway to chase leader briefly in 6th CS 1C but quickly faded and towards rear ABC, tailed off last WJ.  Even further behind when mercifully PU 18th.
  F Joan Of Arc 8 10-04 W. Puttrell G. Morris 50/1 15TH (CHAIR) Set off brightly, however, last but one 1st and rearmost by 3rd. Still last ABC 1C. Fell Chair.
  F Lady Helen 7 11-01 H. Hardie B. Nightingall 50/1 7TH Slowly away & towards rear until fell 7th.
92 F The Primate 7 11-03 H. Hardie Cpt P. Bewicke 100/7 3RD (OD) Soon became very prominent, 3rd at 1st & 2nd. Fell 3rd.
  R Golden Link 6 10-03 M. Dennehy N. Behan 100/1 2ND Slowly away & last at 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 either of the other two 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 able to cover up to 5 lengths per second generally (to avoid exaggeration because horses finish more slowly in the National marathon, especially when the going is at all on the easy side, I am usually inclined to employ anything down to half of that figure when comparing winning times on the same going) 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 (generally speaking) 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.



> A number of contemporary sources record the winning time as being ten seconds slower than above, they all appear to be devotees of the method employed by Benson's chronograph. However, Sporting Life in 1893 and most 'modern' historians (from 1907) are clear that it was indeed 9.32.40 which I am convinced is correct because, for example, we know the going was like a road this year whereas the next four Good ground times (up to and including 1899) were: 9.45, 9.49, 9.43 and 9.49.

> There is heated debate among historians re the exit locations of Choufleur and Golden Gate. I attempted to discern how many different base reports of the race were flying around in 1893, not easy because many papers of the time have their own slight nuances of wording but I feel there were only two or three. Morning Post, Liverpool Courier and The Scotsman, for example, clearly indicate that Golden Gate PU at the 17th but are vague about Choufleur. Meanwhile, the likes of The Sportsman, Dublin Daily Express and Northern Whig distinctly stress that Golden Gate was PU at the end of the 1C, before the field embarked upon the 2C, and the former of those papers, the specialist sporting rag among them, also strongly infers that Choufleur PU at the 18th. However, Sporting Life, the other principle newspaper for racing folk, specifically and confidently asserts that the pair PU at the 18th and 20th respectively. My gut feeling is that because the two trade papers are the only ones to a). define a two fence gap between the exits and b). be more than vague about Choufleur it is most likely they were working from the same, correct, base report. And the fact that what appears to be a different base report (used exclusively by non-specialist dailies) states that Golden Gate went further than the end of the1C arouses my instinct that Sporting Life rather than The Sportsman has interpreted the 'correct' base report, er, correctly.                     









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling