Grand National Ultimate History



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Fr 30 Mar 1894 (3.48) 4m 4f Good 9.45.40 14 £1,975 Captain C. Fenwick

89 90 91 93 1 Why Not 13 11-13 W. Moore A. Nightingall 5/1JF   Generally chased leaders 1C but merely a mid-division 8th (of 12) WJ. Headway to be 2nd by BB 2C. Took lead briefly approaching 29th, soon headed and close up 2nd there and at last. Led again just after last and ran on well under pressure.
  2 Lady Ellen 6 9-10 W. Binnie T. Kavanagh 25/1 1 1/2 Chased leaders until led CS 1C. Headed after ABC, 4th WJ. 3rd early 2C. Took lead again after BB and went clear. Caught & headed before 29th, 3rd there and at last. Rallied to grab 2nd post.
  3 Wild Man From Borneo 6 10-09 J. Gatland J. Widger 40/1 HD Headway to race prominently CS 1C but only chasing leaders in 6th WJ. 4th early 2C, 3rd CS & ABC. Took 2nd approaching 29th and the lead just before it. Narrowly ahead there and at last but headed just after last. Kept on well if relatively a little one-paced, lost 2nd post.
  4 Trouville 6 10-06 G. Lambton J. Cheney 25/1 DIST Away well & very prominent to CT 1C. Merely chased leaders CS 1C and had dropped to a mid-division 9th WJ. Remained in midfield 2C and 5th when came under pressure CS. Became tailed off but plugged on to nab 4th post.
93 5 Aesop 8 10-12 Craddock G. Mawson 6/1 1/2 Away well & very prominent 1st. Disputed lead from 3rd to BB 1C where headed. 2nd next but left in lead briefly CT 1C. Regained lead Chair and held it until BB 2C. 3rd next & CT. Under pressure soon after and began to fade. Well beaten circa ABC, became tailed off and lost 4th post.
  6 Musician 8 9-10   F. Hassall 25/1 DIST Towards rear 1st but prominent by BB 1C and became increasingly so CS, 3rd WJ. Dropped quickly back into midfield 2C but maintained that situation until CT. Weakened further thereafter and finished completely tailed off.
  7 Carrollstown 7 10-13 W. Puttrell G. Williamson 50/1   Chased leaders 1C, 5th WJ. Mid-division early 2C, 5th CT. Faded after and towards rear 28th. Became completely tailed off and laboured on exhausted. Collapsed in paddock after race. Dead.
  8 Schooner 6 9-12 M. Maher B. Taylor 25/1   Away well & led over 1st & 2nd. Joined from 3rd to BB 1C where headed and quickly dropped into mid-division, 7th WJ. Remained in midfield until CT 2C. Faded CS and weakened further after 28th. Finished completely tailed off.
  9 Varteg Hill 8 9-10   D. Davies 50/1   Very slowly away & rearmost. Tailed off by BB 1C. Well tailed off by WJ. Lumbered on utterly tailed off.
92 93 F Father O'Flynn 9 11-03 J. Gatland C. Grenfell 100/7 22ND (BB) Away well & very prominent 1st but had dropped gradually into mid-division by ABC 1C, 10th WJ. Little change but going okay when took off too early & fell BB 2C.
  F Dawn 6 9-07 J. Walley G. Morris 25/1 20TH Prominent until improved to lead after ABC 1C. Headed Chair, 2nd WJ. Lost ground rapidly early 2C and dead beat when fell 20th.
92 F Ardcarn 7 10-12 A. Yates Cpt P. Bewicke 11/2 18TH Slowly away and never travelling. Always towards rear, last but one and well beaten WJ. Well tailed off when fell 18th.
  RO Nelly Gray 5 9-12 H. Escott H. Escott 5/1JF 8TH (CT) Prominent until took lead BB 1C. Bolted leftwards & crashed through wing of open ditch, falling over, CT 1C. 
  F Calcraft 7 9-10 Downes A. Ripley 100/1 6TH (BB) Slowly away. Outpaced & towards rear 1st to 3rd. Well towards rear when fell BB 1C.



A Grand National that all round was up there with the best there had been culminated in a second victory for Arthur Nightingall thanks to one of his finest rides, he kept to the inside rail throughout to avail his very game mount of the best ground. Why Not, a superb stamp of a steeplechaser, had returned to form in the 1893/94 season at the age of 12 rising 13, extraordinarily, and became the oldest National winner since 1853. Credit must also go to his trainer Willie Moore, of large build and cantankerous, who succeeded where he had not as a jockey in the National. The race turned into a terrific three-way tussle. We can't say Lady Ellen did too much by going clear in the middle part of the second circuit because she rallied on the run in to grab second, however, Joe Widger on Wild Man From Borneo may have come too soon when taking the lead before the 29th. He would learn.

The pace was unrelenting, faster than that of 1889 when Why Not had finished runner-up to Frigate and I rated him -24. In the 1894 Grand National Why Not ran 16s faster than he had on the earlier occasion whilst carrying 8lb more and he also clocked a time 2.80s quicker than that of Father O'Flynn in 1892, when the pace was as rapid as this year's, whilst carting round 22lb more than did Father O'Flynn whom I allocated -35 before allowing for his ease of victory. All three renewals were run on Good going and by dint of Nightingall's tactics we know that it was not on the fast side in 1894. In fact, Why Not's time on Good is infinitely comparable to that of Cloister (rated -14) on Firm in 1893. We know that time isn't everything, however, in victory Why Not carried the equal second most weight (behind Cloister) that had so far been toted to success since the National had become a handicap, giving lumps to the second and third whilst doing so. 1894 was the first year since 1862 that the minimum weight was less than 10st and Lady Ellen (less than half of Why Not's age) carried just 9st 10lb while Wild Man From Borneo, who would win the Grand National in 1895 (albeit on vastly different ground), was beaten 2 lengths in receipt of 18lb. And I reiterate, Why Not was a 13-y-o. I am convinced that Why Not's performance was better than any by Arthur Nightingall's beloved Ilex (see 1890) to whom the highest rating I awarded is -21 for his 1892 effort. However, whilst Why Not beat Aesop as easily as had Cloister in 1893 the latter did shoulder 8lb more, therefore, I cannot rate Why Not quite as highly as last year's winner. I feel -19 is about right. At the weights in the 1894 National Why Not, as indicated above, emerged 20 (pounds/lengths) superior to Wild Man From Borneo, whom I will allow 2 for a slightly injudicious ride and thus rate -37, and 33 better than Lady Ellen (-52). My Scroll Of Merit now reads: -14 Lottery, The Lamb, Disturbance, Seaman, Come Away, Cloister; -18 Congress, The Liberator; -19 Why Not.  









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling