Grand National Ultimate History



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Fr 29 Mar 1895 (3.45) 4m 4f Heavy (Soft places) 10.32.00 19 £1,975 John Widger

94 1 Wild Man From Borneo 7 10-11 J. Gatland J. Widger 10/1   Headway to chase leaders in 7th at 3rd and continued to track them 1C, 8th (of 15) WJ. Became more prominent in 6th early 2C and steady progress to take 2nd soon after CT. Led briefly VB. 3L 2nd ABC. Under pressure but close up behind leader last. Regained lead just after Elbow. Ran on well.
  2 Cathal 6 10-09 H. Escott H. Escott 100/8 1 1/2 Away well and prominent, 6th at 1st & 3rd. Very prominent at 7th, 5th ABC 1C and left a very close 3rd WJ. 4th early 2C but headway to take lead CT. Briefly headed VB, however, regained pole position just after and 3L ahead ABC. Came under pressure after 29th and narrow advantage last. Headed for good just after Elbow. Kept on well.
  3 Van Der Berg 9 9-13 E. Craddock B. Dollery 25/1 DIST Initially mid-division but 5th at 1st and continued headway to be 2nd at 3rd. 4th ABC 1C and left 4th again WJ. 5th once more early 2C but soon made renewed progress to lead for a spell circa BB. Headed CT and 3rd soon after. Same position but 9L down ABC. Signs of distress and beaten by 29th. Weakened further to finish a bad 3rd.
  4 Manifesto 7 11-02 H. Dyas T. Kavanagh 100/8 6 Away well and initially very prominent, 3rd at 1st. Chased leaders in 5th at 3rd. Prominent again by 7th and 3rd once more ABC 1C. Less handy in 6th WJ and similar story early 2C. 5th again circa VB and 4th when lost ground by virtue of a mistake mid CS. In same position but under severe pressure ABC. Beaten soon after and continued to weaken.
89 90 91 93 94 5 Why Not 14 12-00 W. Moore G. Fenwick 50/1   Initially mid-division, 9th at 3rd. Had dropped towards rear by ABC 1C and last WJ. Remained towards rear early 2C. Became tailed off but plugged on extremely dourly to pass a slew of beaten horses.
  6 Leybourne 7 10-03 W. Moore G. Williamson 100/8   Mid-division 1C, 9th WJ. 8th early 2C and chased leaders until became more prominent. However, badly hampered by Aesop CT and dropped to 5th. Recovered to be 4th mid CS but back in 5th again by ABC. Weakened and finished tailed off.
92 93 94 7 Father O'Flynn 10 11-01 J. Gatland C. Grenfell 100/7   Initially chased leaders. Mid-division at 3rd. Prominent from 7th but lost position again after ABC 1C and a midfield 11th WJ. Headway to be 3rd early 2C, however, had dropped back to 8th by early CS and under severe pressure in 7th ABC. Soon beaten, weakened and finished tailed off.
  8 Lady Pat 8 10-13 T. Hardie D. Shanahan 25/1   Slowly away. Gradual headway to be in mid-division by 7th. Further progress and left 5th WJ. Faded 2C, 7th early CS. 6th but under severe pressure ABC. Badly weakened further and finished well tailed off.
  9 Dalkeith   9-12   J. Knox 33/1   Mid-division. Headway to lead before BB 1C, headed soon after. Remained very prominent, 2nd ABC and disputed lead WJ. Headed again early 2C but stayed handy until very bad mistake 21st & stirrup leather broke. 6th early CS and under severe pressure in 8th ABC. Weakened further and finished well tailed off.
  10 Fin-Ma-Coul 5 10-05 J. Arnold W. Canavan 40/1   Initially chased leaders. 8th at 3rd and still mid-division at 7th but had dropped towards rear by WJ where 12th. Lumbered on 2C, weakening further and finishing completely tailed off.
  11 Molly Maguire 6 9-09   B. Taylor 25/1   Initially chased leaders. Mid-division at 3rd and had dropped to last but one by WJ. Remained towards rear early 2C and well beaten by CS. Lumbered on, becoming completely tailed off.
92 94 F Ardcarn 8 10-10 C. Payne C. Thompson 50/1 MID CS 2C Mid-division for bulk of 1C but chased leaders in 7th WJ. Reverted to midfield anonymity 2C and appeared beaten when fell mid CS.
  RO Cock Of The Heath 7 10-02 H. Dyas W. Hoysted 100/6 MID CS 2C Mid-division until beyond 7th but had dropped towards rear by WJ where 13th. No impact 2C, bolted & ran out mid CS.
93 94 F Aesop 9 10-08 E. Craddock A. Nightingall 5/1F 24TH (CT) Immediately led, narrow advantage 1st. Headed before 3rd, where 3rd,  but regained lead soon after BB 1C. Joined by WJ, however, in front alone again early 2C. Headed for good before BB and not long afterwards came under pressure. 4th and tired when fell CT.
  F Prince Albert 7 10-12 Norton W. Cullen 50/1 24TH (CT) Slowly away. Last at 1st & 3rd. Gradual headway to be a mid-division 10th WJ. Further progress into 7th early 2C but had somewhat lost position when fell CT.
  F Horizon 6 12-02 T. Cannon jnr G. Mawson 100/14 16TH (WJ) Away well & very prominent, 2nd at 1st. 4th at 3rd and remained handy. 3rd when took off too soon, dropped hind legs into water & fell WJ.
  P Royal Buck 8 10-04 T. Cannon jnr W. Slinn 50/1 15TH (CHAIR) 4th at 1st and very prominent until took lead before 3rd. Headed before BB 1C but still fairly handy ABC 1C. Chasing leaders when broke down & PU before Chair.
  P Sarah Bernhardt 9 10-10 W. Pullen E. Matthews 50/1 15TH (CHAIR) Initially mid-division but soon towards rear and never threatened to get involved. Last ABC 1C and became hopelessly beaten. Final act was to PU before Chair.
  F Caustic 6 10-01 H. Mason A. Gordon 100/1 MID CS 1C Mid-division until fell mid CS 1C.



It was raining, and misty along the canal side, and, although the perfectly reasonable winning time indicates the going was not the worst shade of Heavy, the most testing ground since 1883 found out most of the field. Father O'Flynn and Aesop, a ridiculous favourite, had no chance of staying on the prevailing surface whilst Why Not's form, at the age of 14, had deserted him for good and Grand National debutant Manifesto would prove to be a late maturer. In 1895 the latter was owner-trained and barely more fancied than his stable companion Cock Of The Heath who cocked his jaw when he'd had enough of the war of attrition. Ultimately, the race was reduced to a classic, prolonged duel between two brave young stayers, Cathal and Wild Man From Borneo. The latter, now 7, had a year's advantage and looked beforehand as though he had become stronger. Wild Man From Borneo also received a more patient ride from Joe Widger than he had in 1894. Widger, who was fitter this year too, came from a long-established family of horse dealers. One of his four brothers, Tom, had also ridden in Nationals while another, John, owned Wild Man From Borneo and a third, Mike, would soon take over the full training of the family's horses having, no doubt, picked up plenty from Alfriston-based James Gatland with whom Joe and Mike had chosen to lodge the horse in Britain (Gatland also housed Father O'Flynn but had not, contrary to some sources, trained him when he won in 1892).

At the weights in the 1895 Grand National Wild Man From Borneo (whom I rated -37 in 1894) came out 4 (pounds/lengths) superior to Cathal. The 1895 renewal was peculiar in being the only National run on quite such a testing surface between the above-mentioned race of 1883 and that of 1920, therefore, we are somewhat cast adrift upon a sea of mud when it comes to rating their performances. Cathal would run well in a future National on entirely different ground while Wild Man From Borneo had improved since last year and seemed especially well-suited by the Heavy going. On balance, I am inclined to plump for -30 in respect of Wild Man From Borneo and -34 for Cathal.



> Some sources, and thus historians, say that Cock Of The Heath bolted and ran out along the CS 1C as opposed to the CS 2C. I have gone with the latter because the general impression I gained from pouring over the various race descriptions in contemporary newspapers is that he ran out shortly before Ardcarn fell. The 2C is also the majority view, however, in all fairness it must be pointed out that no paper lists him at the WJ. Too, we may wonder whether he had enough energy left to bolt by the CS 2C. On the other hand, though, there is the possibility that he ran out due to tiredness.

> Some historians believe that Horizon UR rather than falling at the WJ. I can only find one reference to the former which is later contradicted in the same publication's race narrative and the vast majority of contemporary sources say he fell. I concede that by continuing riderless in the very front rank it's possible/probable that the horse didn't fall over to his side or onto his back but how I imagine it is that he pitched right down onto his belly, shooting Mawson off. This wouldn't have precluded him from continuing as he did, however, belly touching turf equals a fall in my book. 







Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling