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   Fore of mid-division, 10th BB 1C. Avoided trouble and travelled well. 6th mid CS 1C but 8th (of 9) WJ. Headway early 2C and left in dispute of lead 19th. Soon led outright, however, joined circa VB and still vied for lead ABC. 2L ahead and going best when left well clear 29th. Very easily.
  2 Irish Mail 6 11-04 W. Drake O. Anthony 25/1 DIST Away well & initially prominent. Soon lost place, 9th BB 1C. 8th mid CS 1C, 7th WJ. Last and a bit behind when left 4th at 19th and 3rd at 21st. Very bad mistake 27th. 6L down in 3rd ABC but very tired. 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, 3rd shortly after 1st. 5th BB 1C, 4th mid CS 1C, 6th ABC and 3rd WJ. Left in dispute of lead 19th. Soon headed but vied for lead again from circa VB to ABC. 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, 8th BB 1C, 7th mid CS 1C, 5th WJ. Left vying for lead at 19th. Fell 21st. (May have been remounted.)
  R Merry Land 9 11-03 H. Ussher R. Trudgill 100/1 19TH (OD) Chased leaders until became very prominent, 2nd from BB 1C until after ABC and left 2nd again WJ. Left in lead next. Refused 19th, falling into ditch.
12 R Regent 8 11-07 A. Hastings J. Anthony 66/1 19TH (OD) Prominent, 4th shortly after 1st. 6th BB 1C, 5th ABC, 4th again WJ. Midfield when refused 19th, falling into ditch.
11 12 F Foolhardy 12 11-00 Cpt V. Beatty W. MacNeill 200/1 18TH Mid-division, 11th BB 1C. Dropped towards rear CS, 9th and last of those remaining WJ. Fell 18th.
  F The Rejected 10 11-03 J. Cowap G. Cotton 40/1 17TH Towards rear, 14th BB 1C. Tremendous headway to be 3rd mid CS 1C, 4th ABC. 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 a mid-division 13th BB 1C. 9th mid CS. Rallied into 6th WJ. Fell 17th.
  F Blow Pipe 8 11-04 S. Armitage W.J. Smith 25/1 16TH (WJ) Immediately led. Clear mid CS 1C, well so ABC. Still held a healthy advantage when took a purler WJ.
10 12 F Bloodstone 11 12-07 F. Hartigan F. Lyall 100/6 16TH (WJ) Away well. Very prominent 1st, 3rd BB 1C. Had dropped towards rear by mid CS 1C. Fell WJ.
12 F Ballyhackle 10 11-11 H. Ussher H. Ussher 5/1F 9TH (VB) Away in fore of mid-division, up to 5th shortly after 1st. 7th BB 1C. Failed to rise sufficiently & fell VB 1C.
11 U Trianon 8 12-03   W. O'Connor 33/1 9TH (VB) Initially chased leaders but soon lost position and dropped towards rear. 16th & last BB 1C. UR VB 1C.
12 R Axle Pin 9 11-04 P. Whitaker P. Whitaker 100/8 8TH (CT) Initially fore of mid-division, 2nd shortly after 1st. 4th BB 1C. Similar position when refused CT 1C.
10 11 12 F Fetlar's Pride 12 11-02 A. Law F. Morgan 33/1 8TH (CT) Never better than rear of mid-division, 12th BB 1C. Fell CT 1C.
  R Black Plum 9 11-05 F. Hunt D. Morgan 66/1 8TH (CT) Towards rear. Last but one in 15th BB 1C. Refused CT 1C.
  F Dysart 8 12-04 H. Ussher Cpt P. O'Brien-Butler 50/1 5TH Chased leaders until fell 5th.
  F Wavelet 6 11-00 H. Escott A. Newey 100/9 5TH Away quite well. 10th shortly after 1st and chased leaders until fell 5th.
  F Tokay 7 11-00 L. Cundell M. Hopper 50/1 5TH Mid to rear, fell 5th.
  F The Miner 8 11-06 R. Harrison L. Brabazon 100/1 5TH Slowly away & in rear until fell 5th.
  F Highbridge 7 12-00 J. Frayling F. Williams 100/9 1ST Chased leaders, jockey riding very short. Fell 1st.
  F Melamar 7 11-06 E. Martin snr W. Payne 100/8 1ST Mid-division, 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 had a distinctly unmerry experience at the ditch, two fences on. Four remained, however, Thowl Pin, left vying for the lead with Covertcoat and Carsey, became loose (at least temporarily) at the 21st! Finally, Carsey, the sole serious adversary of the eventual winner, got 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 was 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