Grand National Ultimate History



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Fr 27 Mar 1896 (3.47) 4m 4f Good to Soft (Soft places) 10.11.20 28 £1,975 W. Hall Walker

  1 The Soarer 7 9-13 W. Moore Lt D. Campbell 40/1   Jumped well in mid-division and became prominent VB 1C, 4th CS & Chair. Dropped to 8th in rush for WJ (where 22 remained) but renewed and smooth headway to dispute lead BB 2C. Headed CT. Remained extremely handy and a very close 2nd at ABC. Took lead outright at 29th, clearer advantage last. Lead reduced after Elbow but kept on well.
92 93 94 95 2 Father O'Flynn 11 10-12 H. Escott C. Grenfell 40/1 1 1/2 Chased leaders. Headway starting from CS 1C to be 3rd at 13th. 2nd Chair, 3rd again WJ and same position BB 2C. Took lead CT. Slow jump 27th, headed and back in 5th at ABC. 4th when hampered by a loose horse just after 29th and still 4th at last. However, rallied gamely, took 3rd before Elbow, 2nd soon after it and continued to run on well.
  3 Biscuit 8 10-00 R. Wheeler E. Matthews 25/1 1 1/2 Mid-division until chased leaders in 9th WJ. Further headway into 5th early 2C and 4th from BB to CT. More progress CS and led towards 28th. Headed next. Retained 2nd over last. Came under pressure Elbow and soon dropped to 3rd but battled on doughtily enough.
  4 Barcalwhey 6 9-08 J. Cannon C. Hogan 33/1   Away well, 5th at 2nd. Had lost position by CS 1C, mid-division WJ. Rallied to chase leaders early 2C, a fore of midfield 6th BB & CT. Renewed headway into 4th ABC and 3rd over last 2. Lost that position before Elbow but kept on one-paced to finish a close up 4th.
89 90 91 93 94 95 5 Why Not 15 11-05 W. Moore A. Nightingall 100/7   Away well & immediately led. Headed soon after 1st, 3rd at 2nd. Remained prominent, 4th at 13th, 5th WJ. 2nd early 2C, 5th again BB & CT. Faded CS and a beaten 6th ABC. However, plugged on spiritedly and regained 5th before last. Finished 20L behind Barcalwhey.
  6 Rory O'More 6 10-09 William Nightingall B. Nightingall 7/1F   Chased leaders until took 2nd after 1st. 4th BB 1C. 6th CS and 7th at 13th but renewed effort to be 2nd again WJ, 3 1/2L down. Left in lead at start of turn onto 2C. Joined BB, 3rd from CT to ABC where remained very close up. Began to fade shortly after and soon well beaten, 6th at last. Laboured home.
  7 Kestrel 9 9-10   H. Smith 100/1   Mid-division. Headway to chase leaders 14th, 5th Chair, 7th WJ. Continued to pursue frontrunners early 2C but had dropped back into midfield by BB. Continued to fade and a distant 7th by ABC. 8th at last. Laboured on, gaining a place.
95 8 Cathal 7 11-13 A. Yates Cpt R. Ward 100/9   Away in mid-division but had advanced into 3rd by BB 1C and same position CS. 5th at 13th and 6th Chair, however, swamped in rush for WJ where more towards midfield again. Same part of field in 8th BB 2C then faded and a distant 8th ABC. 9th & rearmost at last. Laboured on, gaining a place.
95 9 Van Der Berg 10 10-09 E. Craddock G. Mawson 20/1   Never a factor or better than rear of mid-division (as at WJ). Insignificant progress after ABC 2C (where rearmost) to be 7th at last. Weakened run in and lost 2 places.
  P Westmeath 7 9-08 T. Hardie G. Morris 66/1 ABC 2C Slowly away & generally towards rear 1C. Modest progress early 2C but may have fallen & been remounted as tailed off by BB. Well so when PU ABC.
92 94 95 F Ardcarn 9 11-01 Sir C. Nugent G. Williamson 8/1 27TH (OD) Rear of mid-division 1C. Midfield BB 2C. Similar position and going okay when fell 27th.
  F Dollar 6 10-11 W. Halsey W. Halsey 50/1 27TH (OD) Away well and 5th BB 1C but had dropped to a mid-division 13th by WJ and had become tailed off by BB 2C. Still so when fell 27th.
  B Clawson 6 10-04   B. Bissill 66/1 26TH Chased leaders until took 3rd after 1st. 6L down in 2nd BB 1C. Remained 2nd CS and at 13th. Had dropped back to 3rd by Chair and only 6th WJ. Declined further to be a fore of mid-division 7th BB 2C. Had not regained former prominence when BD by a loose horse 26th.
95 F Caustic 7 9-07 H. Mason H. Mason 100/7 24TH (CT) Chased leaders 1C: 6th at 2nd, 7th CS, 10th WJ. Headway to be 4th early 2C but had long begun to feel the pinch when fell CT.
  B Miss Baron 6 10-00 M. Widger T. Kavanagh 66/1 24TH (CT) Chased leaders until became very prominent in 4th at 2nd. 5th CS 1C, 6th at 13th and 4th again WJ. Began to fade early 2C and had dropped into mid-division when BD by a loose horse (Swanshot) circa CT.
  B Waterford 8 10-13 M. Widger J. Widger 100/12 24TH (CT) Mid-division 1C, 12th WJ. Still in midfield when BD by a loose horse (Swanshot) circa CT 2C.
  F Swanshot 6 10-13 H. Beasley A. Anthony 20/1 22ND (BB) Generally in mid-division 1C (though modest progress to be 8th CS), 11th WJ. Renewed headway to chase leaders in 6th early 2C but had drifted back to the fore of midfield when fell BB.
  P Philactery 8 9-11 J. Cannon E. Driscoll 100/1 19TH (OD) Slowly away. Gradual progress to be in mid-division WJ. Lost position rapidly 2C and PU 19th.
92 93 F The Midshipmite 10 11-04 A. Yates F. Hewitt 66/1 18TH Slowly away & towards rear. Tailed off by WJ and had become distressed when fell heavily 18th.
  P Fleetwing 6 10-06   W. Parsons 100/1 18TH Initially mid to rear but had become tailed off by WJ. Broke blood vessel & PU 18th.
  RO Alpheus 5 10-10 J. Elsey A. Gordon 20/1 END 1C Keen. Took lead soon after 1st and went clear, 6L ahead BB 1C. Increased advantage CS 1C. Still in front but by only 3 1/2L WJ. Bolted in pursuit of two loose horses & ran out at start of turn onto 2C, in the process colliding with rails and shooting jockey over them.
  P Moriarty 6 11-02 F. Swan E. Acres 40/1 END 1C No great impression in mid to rear until landed plum in the water at the WJ. Quickly became apparent was very lame so PU & dismounted. Had broken down so badly could not be saved. Dead.
  F March Hare 7 11-07 J. Dormer R. Chaloner 100/6 ABC 1C Away well, 7th at 2nd. Still prominent BB 1C but had dropped into mid-division when slipped & fell on the flat shortly after ABC 1C.
  B Emin 7 10-08 J. Cannon H. Brown 50/1 9TH (VB) Slowly away & towards rear until BD by a loose horse (St Anthony) VB 1C.
  F St Anthony 7 10-10 A. Yates Cpt W. Ricardo 100/1 8TH (CT) Very soon towards rear and remained so until fell CT 1C.
94 95 F Wild Man From Borneo 8 12-00 M. Widger T. Widger 40/1 3RD (OD) Slowly away & towards rear until fell 3rd.
95 F Manifesto 8 11-04 H. Dyas J. Gourley 100/7 1ST Away well & very prominent when fell 1st.
  B Redhill 8 10-12 G. Parker G. Saunders-Davies 25/1 1ST Away well. BD by Manifesto 1st.



By all accounts there was another record attendance and those present saw plenty of grief and incident, starting from the 1st, which was likely connected to the biggest field lining up for a Grand National since 1873. Assuming that the idea of extending the bottom end of the weight range a few years earlier had been to attract more runners it was working. The 1896 National was, however, a second consecutive renewal of lesser quality than the four that had preceded them. Low weights, who were outsiders, dominated the placings. Only four horses had any chance from just after the second Anchor Bridge Crossing and three of them carried 10st or less while The Soarer tied the record for the longest winning odds to this point. Also equalling a record, by taking part for the seventh time, was Why Not who was three times the age and showed triple the willingness of Alpheus. Mike Widger launched a triumvirate of horses at the race. Wild Man From Borneo, ridden by brother Tom who had not had a mount in the National since 1884, had to cart 17lb more than he had to victory last year, was seemingly unfancied and departed early (along with Manifesto) while their fellow Irishman Harry Beasley's Swanshot, having rid himself of Algy Anthony, brought down both of the Widgers' remaining pair, Miss Baron and Waterford (Joe in the saddle) in the vicinity of the second Canal Turn! The 1895 runner-up Cathal (up 18lb) was among the disappointments. Maddeningly for connections March Hare slipped up on the flat.

Ridden by his former owner, Lieutenant David Campbell (who would fight throughout the First World War and was knighted in 1919), The Soarer gave Willie Moore his second training success in the Grand National. Campbell steered sensibly and stuck to the middle of the course. The Soarer had won just one of his previous eleven outings and Father O'Flynn would surely have claimed his second National but for a slow jump at the last ditch and being hampered by a loose horse at the second last. The latter was clearly the best horse at the weights, emerging 11 and 13 (pounds/lengths) superior to The Soarer and Biscuit respectively. There is no reason for thinking that Father O'Flynn wasn't capable (when applying himself which was not always the case) of running to the rating of -30 I awarded him for his 1892 triumph and I believe his travails in 1896 must have cost him 7, therefore, I will give Biscuit -50 and The Soarer -48 (the lowest mark, incidentally, for a winner since Emblematic's -62 in the shocking renewal of 1864).



> Sources are all over the place for this renewal. In respect of Westmeath, for example, some contemporary papers say he exited along the CS 2C (perhaps at the 27th) by virtue of his only fall, however, Northern Whig is pretty specific, in my opinion, that the horse PU ABC 2C and, as I have suggested in the race facts, if he actually fell much earlier on the circuit (and was remounted) it would explain how he went from making modest progress to being tailed off by BB (which many sources say he was). In its preamble to its race narrative Sporting Life says Westmeath did not get over that obstacle a second time which, whilst very likely incorrect because even its own narrative concurs with the vast majority of the other papers' reports in saying his ultimate departure from the race came later, at least suggests his fall may have been circa Becher's.

> Ardcarn and Dollar may have fallen at the 28th rather than at the 27th; Clawson may have been BD at the 27th as opposed to the 26th.

> Some historians hold that Miss Baron and Waterford were BD by Swanshot at BB 2C where the latter fell, however, I tend to believe the sources that have Swanshot "running on loose" or "moving on riderless" before bringing down the pair.

> Contemporary descriptions and thus modern historians are also at odds regarding the location of The Midshipmite's departure. The Sportsman says he fell at the 19th, however, Sporting Life not only states his purler happened at the 18th but in addition links it with the exit of Fleetwing at the same fence and then goes on to say Philactery PU at the next, both of which locations are not disputed.

> Wild Man From Borneo may have fallen at either the 4th or the 5th as opposed to the 3rd.       








Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling