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. Chased leaders until became very prominent VB 1C, 4th at 13th. Dropped to 8th (of 22) WJ but renewed and smooth headway to dispute lead BB 2C. Headed CT. Remained extremely handy and 2nd at ABC. Took lead again 29th, clear advantage last. Lead reduced after Elbow but held on well.
92 93 94 95 2 Father O'Flynn 11 10-12 H. Escott C. Grenfell 40/1 1 1/2 Headway CS 1C to be very prominent after 12th, 3rd WJ to BB 2C. Took lead CT. Slow jump 27th, headed and back in 5th ABC. 4th when hampered by a loose horse after 29th, same position last. Rallied gamely and ran on well, especially after Elbow.
  3 Biscuit 8 10-00 R. Wheeler E. Matthews 25/1 1 1/2 Mid-division 1C, 10th WJ. Headway early 2C and 4th from BB to CT. Further progress CS and led towards 28th. Headed before next. 2nd over last 2. Kept on under pressure. Lost 2nd Elbow.
  4 Barcalwhey 6 9-08 J. Cannon C. Hogan 33/1   Away well, prominent 2nd. Chased leaders WJ. Continued to do so 2C, 6th CT. Headway into 4th ABC and 3rd over last 2. Lost that position before Elbow, kept on one-paced.
89 90 91 93 94 95 5 Why Not 15 11-05 W. Moore A. Nightingall 100/7   Away well & very prominent 1C, 5th WJ. 2nd early 2C, 5th again CT. Faded CS and a beaten 6th ABC. Plugged on, regained 5th before last.
  6 Rory O'More 6 10-09 William Nightingall B. Nightingall 7/1F   Away well & very prominent 1C, 2nd WJ. Left in lead at start of turn onto 2C. Joined BB, 3rd from CT to ABC. Faded thereafter, 6th at last, laboured home.
  7 Kestral 9 9-10   H. Smith 100/1   Headway to become prominent by 13th, 7th WJ. Chased leaders to CT 2C then faded and a tailed off 7th by ABC. Laboured on.
95 8 Cathal 7 11-13 A. Yates Cpt R. Ward 100/9   Very prominent by BB 1C and remained so along the CS 1C. More towards mid-division WJ. Chased leaders to BB 2C then faded and became tailed off by ABC. Laboured on.
95 9 Van Der Berg 10 10-09 Craddock G. Mawson 20/1   Never a factor or better than rear of mid-division. A tailed off 7th at last, weakened run in.
  F Westmeath 7 9-08 T. Hardie G. Morris 66/1 28TH Slowly away & always towards rear 1C. Headway early 2C and 12th BB but well beaten when fell 28th.
  B Clawson 6 10-04   B. Bissill 66/1 27TH (OD) Very prominent. 2nd BB & VB 1C, 3rd at 13th. 6th WJ and reduced to chasing leaders early 2C, 7th BB. Had not recovered former prominence when BD by a loose horse 27th.
92 94 95 F Ardcarn 9 11-01 Sir C. Nugent G. Williamson 8/1 27TH (OD) Rear of mid-division 1C, 17th WJ. No notable progress 2C, fell 27th.
  F Dollar 6 10-11 W. Halsey W. Halsey 50/1 27TH (OD) Away well. Very prominent BB 1C but had dropped to mid-division by WJ. 11th BB 2C. Becoming tailed off when fell 27th.
95 F Caustic 7 9-07 H. Mason H. Mason 100/7 24TH (CT) Initially prominent. Chased leaders in 11th WJ. Rallied to be 4th early 2C but had begun to feel the pinch when fell CT.
  F Swanshot 6 10-13 H. Beasley A. Anthony 20/1 23RD Became prominent CS 1C. Chased leaders in 12th WJ. Rallied early 2C and prominent again when fell 23rd.
  B Miss Baron 6 10-00 M. Widger T. Kavanagh 66/1 23RD Became very prominent by 2nd. 5th VB 1C, 4th WJ. Had dropped to 9th BB 2C. BD by Swanshot next.
  B Waterford 8 10-13 M. Widger J. Widger 100/12 23RD Mid-division 1C, 13th WJ. 10th BB 2C, BD by Swanshot next.
  P Philactery 8 9-11 J. Cannon E. Driscoll 100/1 19TH (OD) Slowly away. Mid-division WJ. Soon struggling 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 very well beaten when fell heavily 18th.
  P Fleetwing 6 10-06   W. Parsons 100/1 18TH No impact whatsoever. Tailed off last WJ. Broke blood vessel & PU 18th.
  RO Alpheus 5 10-10 J. Elsey A. Gordon 20/1 END 1C Keen. Took lead 1st and went clear. 6L ahead BB 1C. Still had a handy advantage when bolted & ran out at start of turn onto 2C.
  P Moriarty 6 11-02 Swan S. Acres 40/1 END 1C No great impression until landed plum in the water at the WJ. Quickly became apparent was very lame so PU & dismounted.
  F March Hare 7 11-07   R. Chaloner 100/6 12TH Away well & prominent 2nd. Had dropped into mid-division when slipped & fell on the flat in the vicinity of the 12th.
  B Emin 7 10-08 J. Cannon H. Brown 50/1 9TH (VB) Slowly away & towards rear until BD by a loose horse VB 1C.
  F St Anthony 7 10-10 A. Yates Cpt W. Ricardo 100/1 8TH (CT) Always towards rear until fell CT 1C.
94 95 F Wild Man From Borneo 8 12-00 M. Widger T. Widger 40/1 4TH Slowly away & towards rear until fell 4th.
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 Parker G. 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 the idea of extending the bottom end of the weight range a few years earlier was 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 running 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, Algy Anthony aboard, brought down both of the Widgers' remaining pair, Miss Baron and Waterford (Joe in the saddle) at the 23rd! 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 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 -64 in the shocking renewal of 1864).    








Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling