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   Held up in mid-division 1C, 8th (of 15) WJ. Became more prominent early 2C and took 2nd CT. Led briefly VB. 3L 2nd ABC. 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 always very prominent 1C, 3rd WJ. Led by CT 2C, briefly headed VB, 3L ahead ABC. Narrow advantage last and headed for good just after Elbow. Kept on well.
  3 Van Der Berg 9 9-13 Craddock B. Dollery 25/1 DIST Away well and always very prominent 1C, left 4th WJ. Led early 2C until headed before CT where 3rd. Same position but signs of distress after 28th, beaten by 29th. Weakened badly.
  4 Manifesto 7 11-02 H. Dyas T. Kavanagh 100/8   Away well and very prominent for bulk of 1C. Less handy in 6th WJ and same story early 2C, left 4th CT. Same position but beaten ABC. Continued to fade.
89 90 91 93 94 5 Why Not 14 12-00 W. Moore G. Fenwick 50/1   Slowly away. Generally raced in mid-division until chased leaders briefly after 12th. Soon dropped away and last but one WJ. Rearmost early 2C. Became tailed off but plugged on very dourly to pass a slew of beaten horses.
  6 Leybourne 7 10-03 W. Moore G. Williamson 100/8   Mid-division 1C, 9th WJ. Chased leaders early 2C and up to 5th when badly hampered by Aesop CT. Unable to recover, faded and finished tailed off.
92 93 94 7 Father O'Flynn 10 11-01 J. Gatland C. Grenfell 100/7   Minor progress into a mid-division 11th WJ. Further headway to chase leaders briefly CT 2C but a beaten 6th ABC. Weakened, tailed off.
  8 Lady Pat 8 10-13 T. Hardie D. Shanahan 25/1   Slowly away. Gradual headway to chase leaders CS 1C and up to 5th WJ. Faded 2C, 7th CT. 5th but beaten ABC. Badly weakened further and finished well tailed off.
  9 Dalkeith   9-12   J. Knox 33/1   Headway to dispute lead briefly BB 1C. Remained very prominent and vied for lead again WJ. Headed again early 2C but remained prominent until very bad mistake 21st & stirrup leather broke. 6th CT. A beaten 7th ABC. Weakened further and finished well tailed off.
  10 Fin-Ma-Coul 5 10-05 J. Arnold W. Canavan 40/1   Chased leaders to CS 1C. Had dropped to last WJ. Lumbered on 2C, completely tailed off.
  11 Molly Maguire 6 9-09   B. Taylor 25/1   Always rear of mid-division or worse 1C, 12th WJ. Beaten by CS 2C. Lumbered on, completely tailed off.
  RO Cock Of The Heath 7 10-02 H. Dyas W. Hoysted 100/6 CS 2C Chased leaders for most of 1C but had dropped to mid-division by WJ and rear of same when bolted & ran out CS 2C.
92 94 F Ardcarn 8 10-10 C. Payne C. Thompson 50/1 25TH (VB) Chased leaders 1C, 7th WJ. Continued in same vein 2C but looked beaten when fell VB.
  F Prince Albert 7 10-12   W. Cullen 50/1 24TH (CT) Slowly away. Last at 3rd. Progress to be a mid-division 10th WJ. Further headway early 2C and pursuing leaders earnestly when fell CT 2C.
93 94 F Aesop 9 10-08 Craddock A. Nightingall 5/1F 24TH (CT) Away well & led over 1st & 2nd. Headed 3rd but led again from 7th. Joined WJ but ahead again very early 2C. Soon headed for good and not long before came under pressure. 4th but very tired when fell CT 2C.
  F Horizon 6 12-02 T. Cannon jnr G. Mawson 100/14 16TH (WJ) Away well. Very prominent 1st and remained so. 4th when took off too soon & fell WJ.
  P Royal Buck 8 10-04 T. Cannon jnr W. Slinn 50/1 15TH (CHAIR) Very prominent 1st & 2nd, led 3rd. Joined before BB 1C and headed just after it but remained prominent to ABC 1C. Only chasing leaders when broke down & PU before Chair.
  P Sarah Bernhardt 9 10-10 Pullen E. Matthews 50/1 15TH (CHAIR) Always towards rear and never threatened to get involved. Became tailed off and final act was to PU before Chair.
  F Caustic 6 10-01 H. Mason A. Gordon 100/1 CS 1C Mid-division until fell 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.







Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling