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   Away well but held up in mid-division, 6th at 3rd. Left 3rd CT 1C, however, midfield again from CS to WJ where 8th (of 12). Chased leaders in 5th early 2C. Soon became 4th and took 2nd shortly after BB, travelling well. 6L adrift in same position CS but very close up by ABC and briefly led on run to 29th where again 2nd. Forged a lead of a neck over last and ran on well under pressure.
  2 Lady Ellen 6 9-10 W. Binnie T. Kavanagh 25/1 1 1/2 Mid-division, 7th at 3rd. 5th CT 1C and took lead mid CS. Headed circa ABC, where 3rd, 4th WJ. 3rd again early 2C and soon became 2nd. Took lead again just after BB and went clear. 6L ahead CS. Only a narrow advantage ABC and headed once more on run to 29th where 3rd. Very close up in same position last. Kept on well to grab 2nd post.
  3 Wild Man From Borneo 6 10-09 J. Gatland J. Widger 40/1 HD Inittially mid to rear. Good headway to be 2nd mid CS 1C but only mid-division ABC, 6th WJ. 4th early 2C and soon became 3rd. 4th again at 23rd, however, went 3rd once more VB though 12L down. Same position, merely 2L adrift ABC. Dashed to the front approaching 29th but went a neck down last. Kept on well if relatively a little one-paced, lost 2nd post.
  4 Trouville 6 10-06 G. Lambton J. Cheney 25/1 37 Prominent. 4th at 1st & 3rd, left 2nd CT 1C. Merely chased leaders CS 1C and 6th circa ABC. Had dropped to a mid-division 9th WJ. Remained in midfield 2C: 7th early on and 6th again at 23rd. 5th when came under pressure CS, same position ABC. Beaten but plugged on to nab a very bad 4th post, 100yds behind front trio.
93 5 Aesop 8 10-12 E. Craddock G. Mawson 6/1 1/2 Away well & very prominent, 2nd at 1st. Disputed lead from 2nd until headed 7th. Left in lead next (CT) but headed again mid CS 1C where 4th. Same position circa ABC, however, disputed lead once more Chair and narrow advantage WJ. Initially extended lead early 2C but reeled in and headed for the final time just after BB. 3rd when slipped immediately after CT and nearly fell. Cleverly righted but ricked back and under pressure in 4th VB. Began to fade and beaten by ABC. Plugged on gamely but lost 4th post.
  6 Musician 8 9-10   F. Hassall 25/1 75 Initially mid to rear but headway circa BB 1C and left 4th CT. 3rd mid CS 1C, 2nd circa ABC and disputed lead Chair. A very close 3rd WJ. Quickly lost position and 9th early 2C. Last but one (rear of main group) in 8th at 23rd. Beaten early CS. Laboured on to finish well tailed off.
  7 Carrollstown 7 10-13 W. Puttrell G. Williamson 50/1   Mid-division. Headway into 5th mid CS 1C, same position circa ABC and at WJ. 8th early 2C but back up to 5th at 23rd. Faded after, towards rear and beaten 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 to & over 1st. Joined before 2nd and shared lead until headed 7th. Quickly dropped to rear of mid-division. Rallied slightly to be 7th WJ. Same position but rear of midfield again 23rd. Continued to fade and beaten not far along CS. Weakened further after 28th. Finished completely tailed off.
  9 Varteg Hill 8 9-10 F. Lort-Phillips D. Davies 50/1   Slowly away, outpaced & towards rear. Last by BB 1C. Tailed off by mid CS 1C, 12th & last WJ. Soon became well tailed off 2C. Seen plodding on 9th & last at 23rd. Finished utterly tailed off.
92 93 F Father O'Flynn 9 11-03 J. Gatland C. Grenfell 100/7 22ND (BB) Prominent, 3rd at 1st. Soon lost position, rear of mid-division CS & ABC 1C. 10th WJ. Headway into 6th early 2C. 5th and going okay when took off too soon & fell BB 2C.
  P Dawn 6 9-07 J. Walley G. Morris 25/1 19TH (OD) Initially chased leaders, 5th at 3rd. 6th mid CS 1C. Quite rapid improvent to take lead circa ABC. Joined by Chair, a very close 2nd WJ. Same position very early 2C but soon began to fade and lost ground swiftly. Tired and lame when PU 19th.
92 P Ardcarn 7 10-12 A. Yates Cpt P. Bewicke 11/2 18TH Slowly away, outpaced and never travelling. Rear of mid-division until ABC 1C but tailed off 11th & last but one, under pressure, WJ. Soon became well tailed off 2C and PU 18th.
  RO Nelly Gray 5 9-12 H. Escott H. Escott 5/1JF 8TH (CT) Chased leaders until became prominent in 3rd at 3rd. Took lead 7th. Bolted leftwards & crashed through wing of open ditch, falling over, next (CT 1C). 
  F Calcraft 7 9-10 W. Downes A. Ripley 100/1 6TH (BB) Slowly away. Outpaced and towards rear until 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 remained close up when headed and rallied on the run in to grab second, however, Joe Widger on Wild Man From Borneo may have come too soon when dashing into the lead before the 29th. He would learn.

The pace was unrelenting, fuelled by our old friend the mad scramble to lead at the Water Jump, and 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 (to 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 gave Aesop more weight and in 1894 Aesop met with trouble, therefore, I cannot rate Why Not quite as highly as last year's winner. I feel -19 is about right (Father O'Flynn, whose final rating in 1892 was -30, had become increasingly roguish but was going quite well here when falling at second Becher's whilst receiving 10lb from Why Not and would get 13lb in 1895). 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