Grand National Ultimate History



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2nd/18th - 4' 6" H (was 4' 7"); 3rd/19th (OD) - fence 5' 1" H (5'); 6th/22nd (BB) - fence 4' 6" H (4' 7"), brook 6' W (6' 6"); 7th/23rd - 4' 11" H (4' 10"); 9th/25th (VB) - fence 4' 9" H (5'); 11th/27th (OD) - fence 4' 11" H (4' 10"); 13th/29th - 4' 7" H (4' 6"); 15th (Chair, OD) - fence 5' 1" H (5' 3"); 16th (WJ) - fence 3' 1" H (3').  


Fr 4 Apr 1913 (3.01) 4m 4f Soft (Good to Soft places) 10.19.00 22 £3,170 Sir C. Assheton-Smith

12 1 Covertcoat 7 11-06 B. Gore P. Woodland 100/9   Held up 1C, avoiding trouble and travelling well. 9th (of 10) WJ. Headway early 2C and left in dispute of lead 19th. Led outright before CT. 2L ahead & going best when left clear 29th. Very easily.
  2 Irish Mail 6 11-04 W. Drake O. Anthony 25/1 DIST Away well & initially prominent. Soon lost place, 8th WJ. Last and behind when left 3rd at 21st. Very bad mistake 27th. No chance when left a poor 2nd at 29th. Tailed off.
09 10 11 12 3R Carsey 10 12-00 A. Hastings J. Tyrrwhitt-Drake 100/9 DIST Away towards fore. 6th ABC 1C, 3rd WJ. Left in dispute of lead 19th. Headed before CT. Tired but only 2L down in 2nd when bad mistake & UR 29th. Remounted, completely tailed off.
  F Thowl Pin 8 11-09 Cpt R. Collis I. Morgan 20/1 21ST Away well & very prominent 1st. Subsequently chased leaders, 5th WJ. Left vying for lead at 19th. Fell 21st.
  F Tokay 7 11-00 Cundell M. Hopper 50/1 21ST Prominent 1st, 3rd ABC 1C, 4th WJ. Left a close 4th at 19th. Fell 21st.
  F Merry Land 9 11-03 H. Ussher R. Trudgill 100/1 19TH (OD) Mid-division. Became prominent by BB 1C and remained very much so until left 2nd at WJ. Left in lead next. Fell 19th.
12 F Regent 8 11-07 A. Hastings J. Anthony 66/1 19TH (OD) Away quite well and remained fairly prominent, 5th ABC 1C, 6th WJ. Midfield when fell 19th.
11 12 F Foolhardy 12 11-00 Maj V. Beatty W. MacNeill 200/1 18TH Chased leaders 1st then in mid-division until 10th. Had dropped to last of those remaining WJ. Fell 18th.
  F The Rejected 10 11-03 J. Cowap G. Cotton 40/1 17TH Towards rear 5th. Headway to be prominent fron 10th, 4th ABC 1C. Continued progress and left in lead WJ. Fell next.
  F Fearless 10 11-00 A. Gordon G. Pigot-Moodie 100/1 17TH Initially chased leaders. Soon began to lose position and in mid-division from 5th. 7th WJ. Fell 17th.
  F Blow Pipe 8 11-04 Armitage W.J. Smith 25/1 16TH (WJ) Immediately led. Clear 10th & ABC 1C. Still held a healthy advantage when took a purler WJ.
10 12 F Bloodstone 11 12-07 T. Coulthwaite F. Lyall 100/6 16TH (WJ) Away well. Very prominent until after 5th. Had dropped towards rear by ABC 1C. Fell WJ.
11 F Trianon 8 12-03   W. O'Connor 33/1 11TH (OD) Mid-division 1st. A little more prominent 3rd but mid to rear by BB 1C. Still so when fell 11th.
12 F Ballyhackle 10 11-11 H. Ussher H. Ussher 5/1F 10TH Away towards fore & very prominent 1st. Remained handy and 5th when failed to rise sufficiently at the 10th & fell.
  F Dysart 8 12-04 H. Ussher Cpt P. O'Brien-Butler 50/1 10TH Very prominent 1st then chased leaders until fell 10th.
12 R Axle Pin 9 11-04 P. Whitaker P. Whitaker 100/8 9TH (VB) Initially mid-division. Improved position by BB 1C and fairly prominent when refused VB 1C.
  R Black Plum 9 11-05 F. Hunt D. Morgan 66/1 9TH (VB) Always towards rear until refused VB 1C.
10 11 12 F Fetlar's Pride 12 11-02 A. Law F. Morgan 33/1 8TH (CT) Never better than mid-division. Fell CT 1C.
  F Wavelet 6 11-00 H. Escott A. Newey 100/9 5TH Away quite well and chased leaders until fell 5th.
  F The Miner 8 11-06   L. Brabazon 100/1 5TH Slowly away & in rear until fell 5th.
  F Highbridge 7 12-00 Frayling F. Williams 100/9 1ST Away in mid-division, jockey riding very short. Fell 1st.
  F Melamar 7 11-06 E. Martin snr W. Payne 100/8 1ST Towards rear, fell 1st.



The first April Grand National was another extraordinary renewal. Covertcoat might as well have been awarded victory whilst still engaged at his food bin for all the opposition he ultimately faced as one by one his rivals capitulated. 1913 was the first time only three had finished since 1882 when just twelve started. According to the contemporary press the field went off too fast, not uncommon, the jockeys rode too short, especially the rider of Highbridge, and a further theory attempting to explain the monumental number of fallers in this era was that the fences had been changed from comprising of black birch to green and thus made indistinguishable from the grass to a horse. The withdrawal of Covertcoat's stablemate Jerry M shortly after the weights were published pushed everything up 14 pounds and meant the bottom weights carried a lofty eleven stone. Blow Pipe led until capsizing at the Water Jump when still enjoying a nice lead. This left The Rejected in front but that horse repudiated the opportunity by falling at the next. The new leader Merry Land then failed to alight happily two fences on. Five remained, however, Thowl Pin, left vying for the lead with Covertcoat and Carsey, became loose at the 21st along with the close up Tokay who lacked the adhesion to stay upright. Finally, Carsey, the sole serious adversary of the eventual winner, became tired, although we know he would have kept on dourly, and unseated his rider at the 29th. Covertcoat, a half-brother to Jenkinstown, had looked promising when winning over a mile shorter at Sandown in December and rewarded Bob Gore for earlier spotting the horse's potential by making the trainer the first to record consecutive National triumphs since Henry Linde, Gore's long ago tutor, in 1880 and 1881. It was a second success too for Percy Woodland (1903) who once again benefited from replacing an injured colleague (Ernie Piggott). Woodland had been riding regularly in France during the intervening years. Sir Charles Assheton-Smith topped them both, his own back-to-back victories giving him three in all. Covertcoat failed to win another race and would be retired in 1914 as an 8-y-o.

In the circumstances it is not easy to rate Covertcoat's performance in the 1913 Grand National but I will try. The best time comparison is with last year. Jerry M's raw figure for 1912 was -18 and the great horse ran 5.60s faster while carting 15lb more than did his yard mate one year later. My calculation (at a reasonably conservative 3 lengths per second) places Covertcoat at -49 (which equals his half-brother Jenkinstown's best rating). The going was not quite as Soft in 1913 as in 1912, however, to possibly more than counterbalance that the pace obviously collapsed a bit in 1913 whereas it was sustained decently a year earlier and in addition Covertcoat required only to go a moderate speed from the second last. Before his withdrawal Jerry M was set to give Covertcoat 32lb, therefore, based on the former's adjusted rating of -14 a case can be made to award Covertcoat -46. That figure is plausible because it's entirely possible, judging by how each was going when Carsey (rated -51 in 1912 and whom seemed to be running a similar race) departed, that had Carsey stood up Covertcoat would have beaten him by 13 lengths whilst receiving 8 pounds. However, on reflection, I am inclined to feel that 3 (pounds/lengths) undervalues how very easily Covertcoat won and the extent to which, reports indicate, he slowed when left well clear so I will give him 4 more for a mark of -42.                 









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling