Grand National Ultimate History



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1st/17th - 4' 6" H (was 5'); 2nd/18th - 4' 8" H (5'); 3rd/19th (OD) - ditch 5' W (6'), fence 5' H (4' 9"); 5th/21st - 4' 10" H (5'); 6th/22nd (BB) - fence 4' 10" H (4' 6"), brook 6' 6" W (8'); 8th/24th (CT, OD) - ditch 5' 6" W (6'); 9th/25th (VB) - fence 4' 6" H (5'); 10th/26th - 5' H (4' 6"); 11th/27th (OD) - ditch 5' 6" W (7'), fence 4' 9" H (5'); 12th/28th - fence 4' 6" H (5'); 13th/29th - 4' 9" H (4' 6"); 15th (Chair, OD) - ditch 5' W (6'); 16th (WJ) - fence 3' H (2' 6"), TW 16' (13' 3").    


Fr 25 Mar 1904 (3.34) 4m 4f Good to Soft 9.58.60 26 £2,000 S. Gollan

  1 Moifaa 9 10-07 J. Hickey A. Birch 25/1   Chased leaders and inclined to pull. 10th at 3rd but left clear space by faller at next, temporarily overpowered rider and narrowly in front when ploughed through 5th. Headed & 4th BB 1C. 2nd ABC 1C and regained lead after 14th. Led WJ (where 12 remained). Joined early 2C until left ahead alone at 21st. Opened up an advantage CS. Unchallenged from 29th. Easily.
03 2 Kirkland 8 10-10 Lt Col F. Lort-Phillips Tich Mason 100/7 8 Chased leaders, 8th at 3rd. Prominent in 5th BB 1C. 7th ABC, 4th WJ. 3rd early 2C and left 3rd again at 21st. A close 2nd CT but lost some ground on leader/winner CS and dropped back to 3rd ABC. Rallied run in and following fierce battle took 2nd near post.
  3 The Gunner 7 10-04 J. Parkinson J. Widger 25/1 NK Away well & very prominent, 4th at 3rd. Then chased leaders, 8th BB & ABC 1C, 6th WJ. Became extremely handy again early 2C, left 2nd at 21st. 3rd along CS, regained 2nd ABC. No chance with winner from 29th. Lost 2nd near post following long tussle on run in.
  4 Shaun Aboo 6 10-01 Maj J.D. Edwards A. Waddington 100/1   Slowly away, last at 1st. Modest progress to be 9th WJ. Extremely one-paced but continued in same vein 2C. A mid-division 5th by ABC, though beaten. Kept on very dourly into 4th. Never nearer.
  5 Robin Hood 6 10-03 P. Lennon A. Magee 33/1   Mid-division. Effort towards end of CS 1C & 3rd ABC but had dropped back to a rear of midfield 10th by WJ. Little impression 2C and behind but plugged on.
  6 Band Of Hope 8 10-00 Cpt B. Dewhurst P. Cowley 40/1   Initially mid-division but had dropped to last but one by WJ. Rallied modestly 2C, 4th by ABC but beaten. Weakened thereafter and finished tailed off.
  7 Nahillah 8 9-11 A. Holman A. Wood 100/1   Mid-division. Some headway to become more prominent in 5th ABC 1C, however, had dropped back to 8th by WJ. 6th at 21st but had faded into rear of midfield by ABC and finished tailed off.
03 8 Benvenir 8 9-10 J. Cowap P. Woodland 20/1   Initially mid-division. Chased leaders in 6th BB 1C. Only 9th ABC 1C but rallied to be 5th WJ and left 4th at 21st, still pursuing leaders. Same position and still going well when broke down badly towards end of CS. 6th ABC and nursed home tailed off.
95 96 97 99 00 02 03 9 Manifesto 16 12-01 W. Moore E. Piggott 20/1   Away well & chased leaders. Rather inherited his position of 3rd at BB 1C and had dropped to 6th by ABC 1C and a mid-division 7th by WJ. Rearmost by 21st and tailed off by ABC. Finished well tailed off.
03 F The Pride Of Mabestown 8 11-00 J. Cannon A. Gordon 66/1 29TH Initially mid-division. Chased leaders in 7th BB 1C. Further progress to be 4th ABC 1C and 3rd WJ. Merely pursuing leaders again when left 5th at 21st and had faded into rear of midfield by 28th, beaten. Fell next.
02 03 B Detail 8 10-07 C. Payne A. Nightingall 100/14 24TH (CT) Always towards rear. Last from BB 1C, tailed off by WJ. Some progress early 2C and no longer rearmost at 21st but very questionable how well travelling when BD by loose horse (Ambush) CT 2C.
03 F Dearslayer 8 10-10 A. Law J. Phillips 25/1 21ST Away well & very prominent. Led 3rd but headed before 5th where left in lead again. 4L advantage BB 1C and maintained similar gap ABC 1C, however, headed 14th. 2nd WJ. Disputed lead early 2C until fell 21st.
  F Honeymoon 9 9-07 A. Pilkington W. Lynn 50/1 14TH Initially mid-division but rather inherited a very prominent position by BB 1C where 2nd. Had dropped to 10th by ABC 1C. Fell heavily 14th.
  F Old Town 13 9-08 T. McGuire H. Ripley 100/1 12TH Initially mid-division. Chased leaders in 7th at 3rd but unable to remotely sustain the required pace and mid to rear when fell 12th.
  F May King(1) 8 10-05 A. Clement B. Dollery 25/1 10TH Away well but rear of mid-division when fell 10th.
  F Biology 7 10-01 H. Batho D. Read 33/1 6TH (BB) Mid to rear until fell BB 1C.
  F Loch Lomond 6 9-10 J. Maher F. Freemantle 66/1 5TH Initially mid-division but soon became very prominent, 3rd at 3rd. Fell 5th. Broke neck. Dead.
03 F Patlander 8 10-10 William Nightingall E. Matthews 7/1 5TH Away well & prominent. 6th at 3rd, fell 5th.
  F Comfit 6 10-05 Lt Col F. Lort-Phillips F. Hartigan 33/1 5TH Away well & prominent. 5th at 3rd, fell 5th.
  F Hill Of Bree 8 10-04 J. Bostock G. Goswell 33/1 5TH Initially mid-division. Chased leaders in 9th at 3rd, fell 5th.
  F Kiora 9 10-03 T. McGuire T. McGuire 40/1 5TH Away in fore of midfield but had dropped to last by 3rd. Fell 5th.
02 03 F Inquisitor 9 10-11 Cpt C. Coventry E. Acres 9/1 4TH Away well & immediately led. Dropped to 2nd at 3rd but continued to vie for lead until fell 4th.
01 03 F Cushendun 9 10-07 H. Batho D. Morris 100/1 4TH Mid to rear until fell 4th.
99 00 03 F Ambush 10 12-06 T. Lushington A. Anthony 7/2F 3RD (OD) Away quite well & chased leaders until took off too soon at first ditch, hit top of fence & fell.
  R Knight Of St Patrick 7 10-06 E. Malone M. Walsh 100/1 2ND Mid to rear until refused 2nd.
  F Railoff 7 9-09 J. Maher E. Sullivan 100/1 1ST Away well & very prominent when fell 1st.



For the second consecutive year there were plenty of early casualties with almost half of the field for the 1904 Grand National gone by first Becher's. Among the most prompt departees were Ambush, watched again by the King, who was the only horse of proven and retained reasonable ability in a poor quality line up (24 of the 26 starters carried 11 stone or less) and Inquisitor for whom an operation on his eyesight following falls in the previous two renewals proved of no avail. There then appears to have been a melee at the 5th, caused by the eventual winner. Moifaa, prolific in his native New Zealand where racing under a national body was in its relative infancy, was over 17 hands and difficult to hold. It was all some jockeys could do to sit tight and guide him. Looking at the race as a whole I think his journeyman pilot, Arthur Birch, did well, however, the exit of Inquisitor (who had been vying for the lead with Dearslayer) at the 4th left the hard-pulling Moifaa clear space and allowed him to get a run on. Moifaa immediately seized the lead and then crashed through the 5th severely damaging the fence. Whilst the very close up Dearslayer avoided trouble, only to later fall when still handy and going well for the second year in a row (although much further out this time), three other horses who were very prominent, Loch Lomond, Comfit and Patlander came to grief (the former fatally and the latter not even reaching Becher's, where he had fallen when going well on the second circuit last year, the once) along with Hill Of Bree who was just behind them. The horse in last place, Kiora, also fell at the 5th and it was he, not Moifaa, who had survived being shipwrecked en route from the Antipodes. The incident happened in Table Bay, off Cape Town, and Kiora swam about half a mile to shore at Mouille Point where he was found exhausted.

Sadly, exhaustion also applied, in his record (one that is extremely likely to survive unimpeached) eighth and final Grand National, to Manifesto, an accute misunderstanding of the horse's remaining capacity having led Willie Moore to run him. Mind you, Manifesto must have fooled the handicapper too, or perhaps the handicapper was a fool, because he was allocated a ridiculous burden for a 16-y-o. With Benvenir breaking down before the second Anchor Bridge Crossing when not without hope of a place based upon last year's fifth behind then fourth-placed Kirkland, and The Pride Of Mabestown looking to have run his race by the same point, merely three horses were in with a shout at the business end in 1904. Nevertheless, even without all the carnage and ill fortune, it's doubtful whether any participant could have beaten Moifaa at the weights - certainly not the favourite Ambush who was conceding virtually two stone to a horse who here proved himself of roughly equal ability. Moifaa forcibly took the opportunity to display his prowess, hitherto shown only privately in Britain, finishing full of running. Certainly Bertie was impressed by the Kiwi bred whom he later purchased. However, in an incredibly doom-laden footnote to the 1904 National, Moifaa immediately became bad in his wind, Birch was crippled in a 1906 fall at Gatwick and died in 1911, in the latter year trainer Jim Hickey passed away in a mental asylum, His Majesty had expired a twelvemonth earlier, and the owner who sold Moifaa to the King, Spencer Gollan, an all round sportsman, was killed when he stepped out in front of a London bus in 1934 having earlier gone blind in one eye.

I have alluded above to the merit of Moifaa's performance in the 1904 Grand National being very similar to that which I projected for Ambush in last year's renewal, -36. In 1904 the winning time was average for the weight Moifaa carried combined with the going and a comparison can be made with the 1902 National which also took place on Good to Soft. On that occasion Shannon Lass earned a raw figure of -57. Moifaa's time was exactly 5 seconds faster and he toted 6 pounds more than had the mare. At 3 lengths per second that computes to an advantage of 21 (pounds/lengths). However, it is not that simple! The ground may well have been an easier shade of Good to Soft in 1902, the pace that year was only moderate whereas in 1904 it was strong, and the obstacles as a whole were a bit less demanding in 1904 than they had been two years earlier. Therefore, I am inclined to reduce the pure time component of Moifaa's superiority by two thirds to 5 for an edge of 11 and a mark of -46. Strictly at the weights in the 1904 National Moifaa emerged 5 better than Kirkland (-51) and 11 loftier than The Gunner (-62) and I will stick with those ratings for the latter two horses. But how could Kirkland have improved so much from the -80 I awarded him for his effort in 1903? The answer is that Kirkland, developing as an Aintree specialist, recaptured his old form after a prolonged below par spell. He had been prolific as a 5-y-o and aged 6 had won the Grand Sefton in 1902. Furthermore, based on my rating of -36 for Ambush, Kirkland was handicapped to run to -60 in 1904 which is in the ballpark of -51. Moifaa, though, performed more than 5 better than that, I will allow him 9 for his bad mistake at the 5th and ease of victory combined, thus -37.             









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling