Grand National Ultimate History



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The National Hunt Committee's mandatory section of plough was reduced to a shorter stretch and fixed to a place on the run to the 1st/17th.


Fr 24 Mar 1922 (3.02) 4m 4f Good 9.55.80 32 £7,075 H. Kershaw

  1 Music Hall 9 11-08 O. Anthony L.B. Rees 100/9   Soon very prominent. 4th BB & CT 1C, kept out of trouble at the latter. 2nd (of 6) WJ. Vied for lead 2C, left 2nd BB. Rider lost irons briefly in barging match VB. 2nd ABC. Took lead last and drew away.
  2 Drifter 8 10-00 S. Harrison B. Watkinson 18/1 12 Always very prominent. 2nd BB 1C, left in lead CT 1C. 4th but extremely handy WJ. Vied for lead 2C, led BB. Suffered bad cut to leg in barging match VB but gamely maintained advantage until mistake & headed last. Weakened.
  3 Taffytus 9 11-00 T. Leader jnr T.E. Leader 66/1 6 Chased leaders 1st, 6th BB 1C, 5th - slightly adrift of front 4 - WJ. Continued to pursue leaders 2C, left 4th BB. Left 3rd at 26th and battled on without ever threatening.
19 20 4R Sergeant Murphy 12 11-00 G. Blackwell Charles Hawkins 100/6 DIST Away well & very prominent until left in lead 5th. Still ahead when slipped sideways into ditch CT 1C causing an almighty melee. Remounted only to refuse 10th where bridle came off. Kept going, completely tailed off.
  5R A Double Escape 8 10-03 A. Newey Cpt T. Bennet 40/1   Chased leaders 1st. 3rd BB 1C. Left 2nd CT 1C. Close 3rd WJ. Vied for lead early 2C. Left 3rd BB, going through gap in the fence left by Awbeg & avoiding the latter's carcass on the landing side. Shaken by barging match VB and fell next (26th). Remounted, utterly tailed off.
  R Arravale 7 10-11 P. Whitaker P. Whitaker 100/7 22ND (BB) Chased leaders 1st, 5th BB 1C, left 3rd CT 1C, narrowly led WJ. Vied for lead early 2C. 2nd when swerved left, tried to refuse & landed on top of the fence before slipping back at BB. Put to the obstacle again only to refuse once more.
20 R Square Up 9 10-06 Cpt R. Gooch J. Rennison 20/1 9TH (VB) Prominent 1st but had dropped to a mid-division 10th by BB 1C. Very badly hampered CT 1C & found himself last bar Sergeant Murphy. Refused next.
19 20 21 B All White 8 11-00 J. Fergusson B. Chadwick 100/7 8TH (CT) Led to 1st and remained prominent once headed, 7th BB 1C. Chasing leaders when baulked by Sergeant Murphy in CT ditch & fell into it.
  B Norton(2) 7 11-08 F. Hartigan I. Morgan 40/1 8TH (CT) Away well. Chased leaders 1st. 8th BB 1C. Still pursuing leaders when baulked by Sergeant Murphy in CT ditch & fell into it.
  R Masterful 9 10-01 B. Gore M. Blair 66/1 8TH (CT) Mid to rear until caused to refuse by the sight of three horses in the CT ditch.
  R Confessor 8 10-00 A. Saxby R. Trudgill 100/1 8TH (CT) Towards rear until caused to refuse by the sight of three horses in the CT ditch.
  R Sudan 13 10-00 A. Newey G. Calder 100/1 8TH (CT) Towards rear until caused to refuse by the sight of three horses in the CT ditch.
  R Such A Sport 11 10-00 A. Newey Cpt J. Delmege 100/1 8TH (CT) Slowly away & towards rear until caused to refuse by the sight of three horses in the CT ditch.
20 21 B General Saxham 9 10-09 D. Rogers P. Dennis 66/1 7TH Progress to chase leaders by BB 1C where 9th. BD by loose horses 7th.
19 20 B The Turk 12 10-11 A. Hastings I. Anthony 33/1 7TH Initially chased leaders. Mid-division BB 1C. BD by loose horses 7th.
20 F Wavertree 11 11-10 F. Withington Bryan Bletsoe 25/1 6TH (BB) Very prominent 1st but had dropped to mid-division when cannoned into on take off by a loose horse (Vaulx) & fell BB 1C.
  F Awbeg 11 10-09 M. Thomson A. Knowles 100/1 6TH (BB) Rear of mid-division until ran down fence to the left, ploughed through & fell BB 1C. Broke neck. Dead.
  B St Bernard 8 11-05 J. Batho R. Pulford 66/1 6TH (BB) Towards rear until went for gap in the fence made by Awbeg BB 1C and BD by a combination of that horse & his jockey.
  F Clashing Arms 7 11-03 A. Hastings J. Anthony 9/1 5TH Away quite well. Led by 4th. Still ahead when fell 5th.
  F Gay Lochinvar 6 10-08 R. Gordon F. Croney 100/1 5TH Prominent until fell 5th.
  F The Inca 8 10-00 W. Payne F. Brookes 100/1 5TH Away well & prominent. Had dropped into mid-division when fell 5th. Broke leg. Dead.
21 U Any Time 11 10-05 A. Saxby G. Wall 100/1 5TH Mid-division until hampered by the rising and stricken The Inca at 5th & UR.
  F Vaulx 8 10-00 C. Piggott T. Escott 25/1 4TH Had become very prominent, pressing for lead, when fell 4th. (Ran on loose, collided with Wavertree upon take off BB 1C & fell into brook where remained stuck for a while.)
  F Grey Dawn 9 10-05 A. Newey A. Newey 25/1 4TH Very prominent 1st. Still handy, to fore of mid-division, when fell heavily 4th.
20 F Dunadry 9 10-07 G. Spittle J. Hogan jnr 66/1 4TH Chased leaders to 1st but gradually lost position and in rear portion of mid-division when fell 4th.
  F Dunstanburgh 10 10-00 A. Threlfell H. Watkin 100/1 4TH Rear of mid-division until fell 4th.
20 21 F Clonree 8 11-06 G. Spittle J. Mahoney 33/1 1ST Away well & very prominent on run to 1st where fell.
19 21 F Shaun Spadah 11 12-03 G. Poole D. Rees 100/8 1ST Chased leaders, fell 1st.
  F Southampton 6 11-10 B. Gore Harry Brown 100/12F 1ST Chased leaders until hit top of the 1st & fell.
  F Mask-On 9 10-02 G. Clancy J. Burns 50/1 1ST Mid-division, fell 1st.
  U Arabian Knight 6 10-02 J. Westlake R. Spares 100/1 1ST Mid to rear, very bad mistake & UR 1st.
  F Super Man 7 10-09 A. Hastings T. Burford 100/1 1ST Towards rear, fell 1st.



Drama and chaos were very much to the fore once again in the 1922 Grand National. Only six horses remained after first Valentine's and it was the second consecutive year in which just half a dozen survived to tackle the second circuit. Any course is harder to negotiate when the ground is Heavy or Soft, however, unlike the previous two renewals or even those of 1913 and 1911, the going at Aintree in 1922 was at worst on the easy side of Good. In the five Nationals mentioned above (which fell within a span of nine renewals) there were a total of eleven finishers who had not remounted! A couple of horses unfortunately died in 1922 and there was concern expressed by the RSPCA, Members of Parliament and some sections of the press. Much blame was attributed to the so-called hopeless outsiders thought to be unsuited to the demands of the course, the mimimum weight had gone back up to ten stone in an attempt to eliminate supposed no-hopers, however, the latest big melee (neither the first nor the last at the Canal Turn!) at Liverpool, which was responsible for almost a quarter of the high number of early casualties, was caused by an improving course specialist!

Sergeant Murphy, seventh and fourth on his previous two attempts, accounted for, effectively, eight horses (including himself) after he slipped when leading at the first Canal and fell into the ditch. All White and Norton, just behind the leading handful, were baulked and joined Sergeant Murphy in the open ditch. The vision of pandemonium that confronted them caused or obliged another four horses to refuse and poor Square Up, who was very badly hampered and lost much ground, was so spooked by the incident that he refused at Valentine's. Ironically, having originated the tumult, Sergeant Murphy alone emerged from the commotion, so few horses was he in pursuit of it's easy to understand Charles Hawkins's reasoning for continuing to persist even after his mount also then refused (at the 10th). Earlier, the loose Vaulx had suffered an horrific plunge into Becher's Brook, when running down the fence and colliding with Wavertree, where he became temporarily trapped, adjacent to the carcass of Awbeg, the supposed sight of which on the second circuit was blamed by the rider of Arravale for so unnerving his mount that he refused. However, photographic evidence suggests that Arravale was too far to the inner of the gap in the fence left by the unfortunate deceased horse to have seen the body prior to his refusal (and Arravale would in fact go on to refuse first Becher's in all of the following three years!) Meanwhile, The Inca was, at last, being put out of his misery on the take off side having had a hind foot completely torn off when jumped upon by a following horse after falling at the 5th. Not long after Arravale's departure the leading trio, at second Valentine's, became embroiled in a barging match which left A Double Escape so shaken that he fell at the 26th, L.B. Rees on Music Hall briefly without irons and Drifter, who came out of this scrimmage best, with a nasty cut to a pastern having been struck into. It must have been adrenaline as well as courage that kept him going. Taffytus excepted, Hawkins could well have been better rewarded for his perseverance sans bridle.

As it was, Rees, brother of last year's winning rider Dick, prevailed. As often known as Bilbie as he was Lewis, the Welshman likened jumping Becher's to "dropping down a coalmine". The fence to this point in history had not claimed a disproportionate number of victims, however, it may be that from the 1920s the drop, the largest on the course especially on the inside, became more pronounced. We must remember that Aintree was originally farmland, dips would form on the nominally flat surface and levelling out had been and would continue to be done spasmodically in various places. Music Hall, a former Scottish Grand National winner, had been in good form coming into the race having been nursed back to health following an injury absence by Owen Anthony, a less prolific rider than his brothers Jack and Ivor, who had only embarked upon his training career in July 1921.

Strictly at the weights in the 1922 Grand National Music Hall emerged 26 (pounds/lengths) superior to Taffytus and 34 better than Drifter. The front five approaching the Water had managed to avoid the carnage all around them and a reasonable pace was sustained throughout albeit the winner's time was perhaps slightly below average for his weight carried on the going. It was a truly run renewal, best compared to those of 1914 and 1915 which were also well run on Good. In 1922 the ground was on the easy side but this consideration is likely balanced out by a tad of general athletic improvement working in the favour of Music Hall. However, the jumping test was probably a bit stiffer than in the immediate pre-war years so, having played around with the figures produced by the two time-based comparisons (there is no viable collateral fom), I'm inclined to award Music Hall a raw mark of -50. I will allow 4 for comfort of victory and Rees losing his irons, therefore, Music Hall's final rating for his 1922 National performance is -46. Taffytus consequently receives -76 while I will rate Drifter -77 because I must grant him at least 7 for running with a bad cut from second Valentine's and he erred at the last.       









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling