Grand National Ultimate History



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Fr 26 Mar 1915 (3.01) 4m 4f Good 9.47.80 20 £3,515 Lady Nelson

  1 Ally Sloper 6 10-06 A. Hastings J. Anthony 100/8   Mid-division. Bad mistakes 2nd (where jockey's brother helped rider stay on) & CT 1C. Towards rear WJ (where 15 remained). Jumped better 2C and gradual progress, 7th BB. Further headway CS, 3rd ABC & 29th. Took 2nd shortly after. Leapt into lead last and ran on well.
14 2 Jacobus 8 11-00 L. Robinson A. Newey 25/1 2 Mid-division. Became prominent by WJ where 6th. Continued progress to be 2nd BB 2C. Hampered & bad mistake VB, nevertheless took lead shortly after. Not headed until outjumped last. Kept on gamely.
  3 Father Confessor 6 9-10 F. Hartigan A. Aylin 10/1 8 Mid-division 1C, 7th WJ. Moved up to 4th by 19th, 6th BB 2C. 4th again by ABC. Under pressure from 29th. Kept on at same pace.
  4 Alfred Noble 10 10-12 P. Whitaker T. Hulme 25/1 2 Soon dropped towards rear. Made gradual progress to be 4th WJ. 3rd BB 2C and 2nd from ABC to 29th. Weakened thereafter.
13 14 5 Thowl Pin 10 10-08 F. Withington W.J. Smith 33/1 8 Always mid-division. Plodded on one-paced. Never nearer.
  6 Silver Top 8 10-00 Bruce S. Walkington 9/1   In rear, bad mistake 2nd. Nevertheless mid-division by BB 1C. Some further progress after WJ, 5th BB 2C. More improvement to be 3rd at 28th. Weakened quickly staight after.
  7R Balscadden 8 11-08 L. Robinson F. Lyall 10/1   Mid-division until fell 10th. Remounted but up to 2f behind and no chance of getting back into it. Finished strongly but tailed off.
13 14 8 Blow Pipe 10 10-04 Cotcheiler W. Smith 50/1   Very prominent 1st. Led BB 1C. Headed before VB 1C but in front again by ABC 1C. Led until VB 2C. Faded badly thereafter and finished well tailed off.
  9 Hackler's Bey 8 10-02 D. Rogers S. Harrison 40/1   Chased leaders from BB 1C. Progress to be 3rd WJ. Bad mistake 21st and faded horribly to finish completely tailed off.
13 P Irish Mail 8 11-12 B. Gore L. Brabazon 6/1F 28TH Interrupted preparation. Very prominent 1st. 3rd BB 1C, 2nd WJ, 4th BB 2C. Lost ground quickly CS. Exhausted when PU 28th.
12 13 14 P Ballyhackle 12 11-09 H. Ussher S. Avila 50/1 26TH Away well & prominent very early but had dropped towards rear by BB 1C. No further impact or revival. Broke down badly & PU 26th. Broke leg. Dead.
  P Distaff 7 10-10 A. Hastings E. Piggott 25/1 26TH Always towards rear. PU 26th.
  P The Babe 7 10-00 F. Withington B. Chadwick 50/1 26TH Prominent 1st and remained handy 1C, 5th WJ. Still prominent 19th. Thence began to fade and towards rear when PU 26th.
  B Denis Auburn 8 9-07 A. Hastings J. Reardon 33/1 25TH (VB) Headway to lead 4th. Headed BB 1C and soon dropped into mid-division. No further impact, BD by a loose horse (St Mathurin) VB 2C.
  F St Mathurin 10 9-10 A. Scott T. Dunn 50/1 22ND (BB) Took close order circa BB 1C but had dropped to mid-division by WJ. Beginning to weaken further when fell BB 2C.
  F Bullawarra 10 11-12 H. Escott Charles Hawkins 100/7 16TH (WJ) Very prominent 1st, 2nd BB 1C and took lead before VB 1C. Had been headed by ABC 1C but still 2nd when hampered & fell WJ.
14 F Bahadur 12 9-07 Cpt E. Craven P. Roberts 50/1 10TH Towards rear until fell 10th.
  F Bachelor's Flight 8 9-08 Reggie Walker H. Harty 100/9 5TH Away well, keen & led over first 3. Headed by 4th, fell next.
  F Lord Marcus(2) 7 10-03 P. Whitaker G. Parfrement 7/1 5TH Mid-division until fell 5th.
14 F Ilston 7 11-08 A. Hastings I. Anthony 33/1 3RD (OD) Mid-division until fell 3rd.



1915 saw the first true khaki National and with the Great War raging the stands were half empty. There was nothing comic about it as Ally Sloper provided second successes in the race for Aubrey Hastings and Jack Anthony. The latter's brother Ivor's reward for keeping Jack aboard at the 2nd was to fall at the next! The ground lost early may have done Ally Sloper a favour because none of the first seven home were involved with the suicidal pace on the first circuit, the highest placed of them at the Water was Alfred Noble in fourth and although finishing in the same position he ultimately weakened. Several riders it seems were hell-bent upon trying to emulate the tactics employed on Sunloch in 1914. Those horses up with the pace to varying degrees who finished well beaten or not at all included Blow Pipe, Bullawarra, Irish Mail, Hackler's Bey, The Babe, Denis Auburn, Bachelor's Flight and St Mathurin. From the other perspective, the jockeys who chose to hold up their mounts showed courage after what had happened last year. And the above is not to say the pace really collapsed when Jacobus took over from Blow Pipe just after second Valentine's. Ally Sloper had won the Stanley, Becher and Valentine chases over the Grand National fences as a 5-y-o and as a young Liverpool specialist he may have been able to improve upon his effort in the 1915 renewal of the big race, certainly his jumping was below its usual standard in the opening stages here. However, Aintree was taken over by the War Office until hostilities ceased and the next authentic Grand National would not take place until 1919. In the meantime Lady Nelson, the first female winning owner, fittingly gave 25% of her prize money to funds for soldiers and sailors.

Ally Sloper's time in triumph was par for the Good going. I compared it with two contrasting renewals, in terms of strength of performance, on similar ground, those of 1899 (using Manifesto's raw figure and holding that the pace collapse in that race counterbalanced the slightly stiffer jumping test now present) and 1914. This produced two figures within a span of 9 (pounds/lengths), the better of them in relation to Sunloch to whom I was as generous as possible. Therefore, I'm happy to split the difference and allocate a raw mark of -48 to Ally Sloper. At the weights in the 1915 Grand National Jacobus emerged 6 better than Ally Sloper and the former made a bad mistake at second Valentine's for which I will allow Jacobus 2 and rate him -40, however, Ally Sloper's two notable early errors must have cost that horse at least 4 so his final grade is -44. Jacobus was 12 superior to Alfred Noble (-54) who in turn came out 12 in advance of Thowl Pin (-66) with Father Confessor a further 2 inferior (-68).  









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling