Grand National Ultimate History



prev . next


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 8 10-07 J. Hickey A. Birch 25/1   Prominent and inclined to pull. Left in front 4th, ploughed through 5th, headed BB 1C. Regained lead after 14th. Briefly headed again ABC 2C. Unchallenged from 29th. Easily.
03 2 Kirkland 8 10-10 Lt Col F. Lort-Phillips Tich Mason 100/7 8 Soon prominent. 4th (of 12) WJ. 3rd at 21st, 2nd CS, led briefly ABC. Dropped to 3rd at 29th. Rallied run in and following fierce battle took 2nd near post.
  3 The Gunner 7 10-04 J. Widger J. Widger 25/1 NK Away well & very prominent to 5th. Then chased leaders, 6th WJ. Always prominent 2C. Took 2nd at 29th but no chance with winner. Lost 2nd near post following long tussle run in.
  4 Shaun Aboo 6 10-01 Maj J.D. Edwards A. Waddington 100/1   Slowly away. A mid to rear 9th WJ. Still behind 2C and beaten by 28th but kept on very dourly if extremely one-paced.
  5 Robin Hood 6 10-03   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 C. Dewhurst P. Cowley 40/1   Always towards rear. Last but one WJ and no progress 2C. Well behind with no chance after 28th. Finished tailed off.
  7 Nahillah 8 9-11 A. Holman A. Wood 100/1   Mid-division until became prominent in 5th ABC 1C. Had dropped to 8th by WJ and was tailed off by 21st. Lumbered on.
03 8 Benvenir 8 9-10 J. Cowap P. Woodland 20/1   Initially mid-division. Chased leaders from BB 1C, 5th WJ. 4th at 21st. Same position and still going well when broke down badly in vicinity of 29th. 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 3rd at BB 1C and had dropped to a mid-division 7th by WJ. Towards rear by 21st and well tailed off after 28th.
03 F Pride Of Mabestown 8 11-00 J. Cannon A. Gordon 66/1 29TH Chased leaders BB 1C. Progress to become very prominent ABC 1C, 3rd WJ. 5th at 21st. Had faded into mid-division by 28th. Appeared beaten when fell next.
02 03 B Detail 8 10-07 C. Payne A. Nightingall 100/14 24TH (CT) Towards rear 1C, last WJ. Made ground quite quickly to be within 2L of leader BB 2C. 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. Vied for lead until led just before BB 1C. Headed 14th, 2nd WJ. Remained very prominent until fell 21st.
  F Honeymoon 9 9-07   W. Lynn 50/1 14TH Became very prominent by BB 1C where 2nd. Had dropped to 10th by ABC 1C. Fell 14th.
  F Old Town 13 9-08 T. McGuire H. Ripley 100/1 11TH (OD) Chased leaders 3rd but unable to remotely sustain the required pace and mid to rear when fell 11th.
  F May King(1) 8 10-05 A. Clements B. Dollery 25/1 10TH Rear of mid-division until fell 10th.
  F Biology 7 10-01 H. Batho D. Read 33/1 6TH (BB) Rear of mid-division until fell BB 1C.
03 F Patlander 8 10-10 William Nightingall E. Matthews 7/1 5TH Very prominent 3rd, fell 5th.
  F Comfit 6 10-05 Lt Col F. Lort-Phillips F. Hartigan 33/1 5TH Very prominent 3rd, fell 5th.
  F Loch Lomond 6 9-10   F. Freemantle 66/1 5TH Very prominent 3rd, fell 5th. Broke neck. Dead.
  F Hill Of Bree 8 10-04 J. Bostock G. Goswell 33/1 5TH Chased leaders 3rd, fell 5th.
  F Kiora 9 10-03 T. McGuire T. McGuire 40/1 5TH Rearmost at 3rd and when fell 5th.
02 03 F Inquisitor 9 10-11 Cpt C. Coventry E. Acres 9/1 4TH Away well & led 1st but soon joined. Vied for lead until fell 4th.
01 03 F Cushendun 9 10-07 H. Batho D. Morris 100/1 4TH Rear of mid-division until fell 4th.
99 00 03 F Ambush 10 12-06 T. Lushington A. Anthony 7/2F 3RD (OD) Away well & chased leaders until took off too soon first ditch, hit guard rail & fell.
  R Knight Of St Patrick 7 10-06   M. Walsh 100/1 2ND Mid to rear, refused 2nd.
  F Railoff 7 9-09 T. Lushington 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 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 after the second Anchor Bridge Crossing when not without hope of a place based upon last year's fifth behind fourth-placed Kirkland, and 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 soon 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, like Moifaa an 8-y-o, 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, thus -37.             









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling