Grand National Ultimate History



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Fr 25 Mar 1898 (3.41) 4m 4f Good 9.43.60 25 £1,975 C. Adams

  1 Drogheda 6 10-12 D. Dawson J. Gourley 25/1   Headway to chase leaders BB 1C. Further progress to be 5th just after ABC 1C and 2nd (of 20) WJ. Led early 2C but headed before BB where 2nd once more. Regained lead next. Briefly headed again 28th, back in front ABC. Kept on well in blinding snowstorm. All out.
95 96 97 2 Cathal 9 11-05 A. Yates Cpt R. Ward 7/1 3 Initially mid-division. Became prominent by BB 1C where 5th. 4th VB 1C, 3rd just after ABC & at WJ. 2nd early 2C but only 4th BB and 5th next. Renewed headway circa CT and 4th again from VB until regained 3rd by ABC. Reclaimed 2nd at 29th. Bravely tried to get on terms with winner last, efort unavailing but kept on well.
97 3 Gauntlet 7 10-13 T. Hardie B. Taylor 100/12 4 Away well & took lead before 1st. Headed 3rd where 2nd. Still prominent BB 1C, 5th VB. Rider took a pull and merely a mid-division 14th WJ. Renewed headway early 2C and chased leaders in 6th BB. Continued to pursue frontrunners CS, 5th ABC. 4th over last 2. Ran on very well and took 3rd run in, displaying a turn of foot.
97 4 Filbert 8 9-12 Cpt D. Beatty Cpt C. Beatty 25/1   Held up in mid-division 1C, 15th WJ. Gradual headway 2C to chase leaders 23rd. Continued to do so CS, 6th ABC and 29th. Big effort between last 2, 3rd at last. Faded run in and dropped to 4th, finished some distance behind first 3.
  5 Dead Level 6 10-07 J. Dormer A. Anthony 25/1   Chased leaders until became prominent, 4th just after ABC 1C. Merely pursued leaders again in 8th WJ. Renewed headway to be 5th early 2C and at BB. 2nd from next until mid CS. Had dropped back to 4th by ABC, 5th again at 29th. Same position last and beaten. Continued to fade and finished some distance behind first 3.
97 6 Ford Of Fyne 7 11-00 J. Dormer F. Withington 11/2F   Initially mid-division. Became very prominent by BB 1C where 4th. Further progress to lead just after ABC but had dropped back to 4th by WJ. Same position very early 2C then 3rd from before BB until led again briefly 28th. 2nd ABC, dropped to 3rd at 29th and continued to weaken between last 2 to be a beaten 6th at last. Plugged on, finished some distance behind first 3.
  7 Grudon 8 11-05 B. Bletsoe J. Hickey 25/1   Mid-division for bulk of 1C, chased leaders in 10th WJ. Continued to do so 2C but under pressure by VB and beaten by mid CS. 7th ABC. Plugged on dourly, finished some distance behind first 3.
  8 Barsac 6 9-12 B. Bletsoe M. Bletsoe 25/1   Chased leaders 1C, 7th WJ. Under pressure by VB 2C and beaten by mid CS. Continued to weaken and finished tailed off.
95 97 9 Prince Albert 10 11-00 W. Moore G. Saunders-Davies 8/1   Mid-division 1C, 13th WJ. Unable to improve position 2C and under pressure by VB. Beaten by mid CS, continued to weaken and finished tailed off.
97 10 Greenhill 7 10-03 G. Chaloner C. Hogan 100/1   Away well & immediately led. Headed before 1st where 2nd. Regained lead 3rd. Headed again just after ABC 1C but only briefly and first over WJ. Headed for final time early 2C, gradually began to fade and had shot bolt by BB. Continued to weaken and well beaten by mid CS. Finished well tailed off.
  P Nepcote 7 10-09 A. Yates B. Dollery 25/1 ABC 2C Initially mid-division. Soon became very prominent, 4th at 3rd. Still handy BB 1C and fairly so in 6th WJ. 3rd early 2C and further progress to lead before BB. Headed and dropped back to 4th next. Swerved under pressure VB and beaten shortly after. Continued to weaken and PU ABC.
97 F Little Joe 9 10-00 G. Mulcaster J. Walsh jnr 28/1 28TH Slowly away. Rear of mid-division 1C, 16th WJ. No impact 2C either and well towards rear when fell 28th.
  P Electric Spark 7 9-11   A. Waddington 100/1 EARLY CS 2C Last over 1st. Gradual headway to chase leaders in 11th WJ. No further impression, faded 2C and PU circa early CS.
  P Cushalee Mavourneen 7 9-11 Cpt D. Beatty H. Smith 100/1 24TH (CT) Away well & prominent. Very much so in 3rd at 1st & 3rd. Remained extremely handy, same position VB 1C. Still fairly prominent in 5th WJ. Had dropped into mid-division when collided with St George CT 2C and immediately PU.
  F St George(2) 8 9-11 M. Widger T. Widger 40/1 24TH (CT) Initially mid-division but chased leaders for much of 1C including WJ where 9th. Had dropped back into midfield when collided with Cushalee Mavourneen & fell CT 2C.
96 P Swanshot 8 10-07 S. Rustell H. de Montmorency 100/1 24TH (CT) Away well & initially chased leaders but soon outpaced and had dropped to last by WJ. Tailed off when PU CT 2C.
  F Hall In 7 9-08 G. Howard L. Bland 100/1 22ND (BB) Slowly away. Rear of mid-division 1C, 17th WJ. No great progress when fell BB 2C.
  P Cruiskeen 6 10-00 A. Yates T. Kavanagh 100/1 22ND (BB) Away well & very prominent to BB 1C, where 3rd, but began to lose position soon afterwards and last but one WJ. Became tailed off 2C and PU BB.
  P Athelfrith 8 10-04 R. Cowe W. Hoysted 100/1 EARLY 2C Away well but settled in mid-division, 12th WJ. Weakened rapidly 2C and soon PU.
  P Kingsworthy 7 10-00 F. Hunt E. Acres 20/1 EARLY 2C Never better than rear of mid-division 1C, towards rear in 18th WJ. In danger of becoming tailed off when PU early 2C.
96 97 U The Soarer 9 11-05 W. Moore A. Nightingall 100/7 16TH (WJ) Chased leaders until raced prominently in 5th at 3rd. Further progress to be 2nd BB & VB 1C but jumped poorly and to be found in 6th just after ABC. Still handy on inside when made one mistake too many WJ & UR.
96 97 F Barcalwhey 8 10-06 J. Cannon R. Chaloner 100/7 13TH Initially chased leaders but jumped particularly wildly in the snowstorm and more mid-division when eventually came to grief at the 13th.
  F Hobnob 6 9-11 A. Yates H. Box 40/1 2ND Last but one 1st where jumped sideways. Repeated the trick 2nd & fell.
  F Sheriff Hutton 6 10-00 A. Holman J. Morrell 50/1 1ST Chased leaders, fell 1st.
  F Surplice 9 10-01 P. Lawless J. Latham 100/1 1ST Mid to rear, fell 1st.



The absence, due to injury, of Manifesto from the 1898 Grand National exposed the relative lack of quality horses partaking in renewals in this part of the decade compared to the first half of the 1890s, the co-top weights shouldered just 11st 5lb. Nevertheless, the race was competitive, an extremely good pace stood up and the winning time was excellent despite proceedings being conducted in a blinding snowstorm. No doubt because of the filthy weather, some sources give the going as Heavy for this edition of the National, however, leading contemporary sporting newspapers describe the ground as beautiful. Fierce winds had kept rain away in the build-up to the great chase and the slush produced by the blizzard did not immediately affect the racing surface which may have been on the fast side of Good. This is born out by the time recorded and that Drogheda had won three races, including the Galway Plate, in the Irish summer of 1897 so likely relished quick going. Subsequently put away by his trainer Dick Dawson, who in the meantime had relocated to Britain where he would later have three Derby winners, Drogheda, whose appearance was that of a streetfighter, exploited the combination of conditions to overcome his opponents in the 1898 National. Neither the victorious horse nor his jockey John Gourley, who was rewarded with a life pension by Drogheda's owner, would contest another renewal. The Soarer, miraculously back for a third time having fractured his skull when running loose after falling at first Becher's last year and undergone an operation, was understandably unpersuaded by the experience to restore his jumping to its 1896 level although, to be fair, the snowstorm affected the leaping of several participants.

Cathal was not amongst them and became a dual runner-up. At the weights in 1898 he emerged the best horse, 4 (pounds/lengths) superior to Drogheda and 10 better than Gauntlet. Had Cathal stayed on his feet in 1897 he would have finished second that year too and I rated him -34 last year and in 1895. Notwithstanding the time in 1898 there is no indication or reason to believe that Cathal markedly improved which is the same conclusion I came to last year when I calculated ratings of -59 for Ford Of Fyne and -73 in respect of Filbert. That form, on similar ground, appears to have held up in the 1898 Grand National because Filbert is said to have finished some distance behind the third, Gauntlet. If that distance was 14 lengths Filbert would again come out 39 inferior to Cathal. Furthermore, at the revised weights for 1898 Filbert should have finished a couple of lengths ahead of Ford Of Fyne on this occasion and it does seem that the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh finished close together (with a large gap to the eighth). This also brings Grudon and Dead Level in at roughly a few superior to and about half a stone inferior to Ford Of Fyne respectively. For 1898, therefore, I will award the following ratings: Cathal -34, Drogheda -38, Gauntlet -44, Grudon -57, Ford Of Fyne -59, Dead Level -66 and Filbert -73.



> Some sources say that Nepcote PU as soon as the 26th.        









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling