Grand National Ultimate History



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1st/17th - 4' 6" H (was 4' 7"); 3rd/19th (OD) - fence 5' H (4' 11"); 5th/21st - 5' H (4' 11"); 6th/22nd (BB) - fence 5' H (4' 9"), brook 5' 6" W (5'); 7th/23rd - 5' H (4' 11"); 9th/25th (VB) - fence 4' 11" H (4' 9"), brook 5' 6" W (6' 6"); 11th/27th (OD) - fence 5' H (4' 10"); 12th/28th - fence 5' H (4' 7").


Fr 28 Mar 1924 (3.08) 4m 4f Good (Good to Firm places) 9.40.00 30 £8,240 Lord Airlie & Major S. Green

  1 Master Robert 11 10-05 A. Hastings R. Trudgill 25/1   Mid-division. 12th BB 1C. Last of leading group in 8th WJ (where 18 remained). Chased clear leader early 2C. 5th VB. Good headway to dispute lead 28th. Ahead from ABC. Kept on well. All out.
  2 Fly Mask 10 10-12 T. Coulthwaite J. Moylan 100/7 4 Left in briefly held lead at the 4th and always prominent. 6th WJ. Chased clear leader early 2C. 4th VB. 3rd from ABC and took 2nd soon after last. Kept on.
  3 Silvo 8 12-02 P. Whitaker G. Goswell jnr 100/7 6 Away well. Left 2nd at 4th, led BB 1C, 2nd again VB 1C, 4th WJ. Chased clear leader early 2C. Left in dispute of lead CT, left ahead 26th. Joined 28th and headed ABC. Still a close 2nd at last but faded thereafter.
22 23 4 Drifter 10 10-05 G. Blackwell G. Calder 40/1 6 Initially tracked leaders, 10th BB 1C. Became prominent and 3rd from VB 1C to WJ. Last of leading group in 6th CT & VB 2C. 4th ABC. Kept on one-paced.
19 20 22 23 5 Sergeant Murphy 14 11-10 G. Blackwell J. Hogan jnr 100/6 DIST Away well & very prominent, 4th BB 1C. Led or disputed lead from 11th until mistake WJ & headed soon after. Remained in leading group, chasing clear leader. 3rd VB 2C. Weakened very badly from 27th. Tailed off.
  6 Wavetown 9 10-12 G. Sanday B. Lyall 100/1   Mid-division 1C, 12th WJ. Unable to join group chasing clear leader 2C and became well tailed off by VB. Plodded on.
19 21 22 23 7 Shaun Spadah 13 12-05 G. Poole D. Rees 100/7   In mid-division until BB 1C. Gradually dropped further towards rear, 15th WJ and tailed off by CT 2C. Persisted but finished well tailed off.
  8 Ballinode 8 10-04 F. Morgan G. Fitzgibbon 25/1   Fairly prominent by 3rd but had dropped towards rear by WJ, where remained. Plodded on, well tailed off.
21 U Old Tay Bridge 10 11-13 F. Hartigan H. Hartigan 40/1 26TH Chased leaders until became prominent in 5th BB 1C. Continued progress to lead after CT 1C until 11th. Remained prominent once headed, 5th WJ. In group chasing clear leader 2C and left in dispute of lead CT. Mistake & UR next.
  R Winnall 7 10-11 P. Woodland C. Donnelly 40/1 24TH (CT) Away well & prominent. 6th BB 1C, 7th VB 1C. Took lead soon after WJ and raced 20L clear by 20th. Still nicely ahead when caused to refuse by loose horse (Palm Oil) in CT ditch, jockey ejected.
  R Mainsail 8 10-01 P. Woodland D. Livingstone-Learmonth 66/1 24TH (CT) Chased leaders, 7th BB 1C. Faded to be in second group by 13th and was a midfield 11th WJ. No revival, although had been left in 7th, when caused to refuse by loose horse (Palm Oil) in CT ditch.
  R Clonsheever 9 11-02 H. Ussher F. Brookes 66/1 24TH (CT) Fairly prominent 1C, 9th VB, until circa 13th. In second group by WJ and remained there 2C until caused to refuse by loose horse (Palm Oil) in CT ditch.
23 R Eureka 7 11-05 B. Gore A. Robson 100/6 24TH (CT) Chased leaders. Became very prominent by BB 1C where 3rd. In same position when landed on back of loose horse, badly hampered & nearly down CT 1C. Miraculous recovery but dropped into mid-division. 9th WJ. Spent 2C in second group until caused to refuse by loose horse (Palm Oil) in CT ditch.
20 P Gerald L 10 12-06 T. Gwilt I. Morgan 50/1 23RD Started off in quite a prominent position but reduced to chasing leaders 5th. Soon mid-division, 10th VB 1C. Hampered 11th and bridle became caught round horse's nose. Mistake 12th, jockey wrestling with bridle, and dropped to rear of midfield. 14th by WJ. Not able to rally 2C and gave up the unequal struggle 23rd.
  U Chin Chin 8 11-07 F. Gilbert A. Stubbs 25/1 20TH Mid-division. Became more prominent by 13th and 7th WJ. Still 7th and in group behind clear leader when bad mistake & UR 20th.
22 F A Double Escape 10 10-03 A. Newey G. Smith 100/1 20TH Away well. 8th BB 1C, 5th VB 1C. Had dropped off leading group by WJ where 10th. 8th again when fell heavily 20th.
  P James Pigg 11 10-03 T. Leader jnr H. Morris 100/1 17TH Always towards rear, well so by WJ. Not persist long 2C.
  P Newlands 10 10-00 A. Hastings T. Burford 66/1 17TH Always towards rear. Last but still vaguely in touch WJ. Soon PU 2C.
22 U Gay Lochinvar 8 10-00 R. Gordon S. Duffy 100/1 11TH (OD) Away well then settled in mid-division for a while but had become very prominent by VB 1C where 4th. In same position when mistake & UR 11th.
22 23 R Taffytus 11 10-06 T. Leader jnr T.E. Leader 100/12 8TH (CT) Rear of mid-division until refused CT 1C, falling with rider into ditch.
23 R Libretto 9 10-08 P. Whitaker B. O'Neill 100/1 8TH (CT) Rear of mid-division until caused to refuse CT 1C by Taffytus. Horse fell into ditch, landing on top of Taffytus, while jockey slowly fell over fence.
19 20 21 22 R All White 10 10-11 J. Fergusson M. Tighe 40/1 8TH (CT) Towards rear until refused at the sight of mayhem CT 1C.
23 R Pencoed 9 10-06 Lt Col F. Lort-Phillips D. Thomas 40/1 8TH (CT) Towards rear until refused at the sight of mayhem CT 1C.
  P Auchinrossie 8 10-02 W. Stokes E. Foster 25/1 7TH Slowly away & immediately got behind, soon well so and tailed off by 5th. PU 7th.
22 23 R Arravale 9 11-03 P. Whitaker P. Whitaker 33/1 6TH (BB) Mid-division 1st. Chasing leaders when ran down fence to the left & refused BB 1C.
23 F Conjuror 12 11-00 T. Coulthwaite Harry Brown 5/2F 6TH (BB) Had become fairly prominent by 4th but in mid-division when slightly distracted by the refusing Arravale, lost some momentum & fell heavily BB 1C.
  U Palm Oil 8 10-00 P. Whitaker P. Roberts 66/1 5TH Mid-division until mistake & UR 5th.
  U Winter Voyage 7 10-02 S. Harrison J. Goswell 66/1 4TH Led until mistake & UR 4th.
22 F Music Hall 11 12-07 O. Anthony J. Anthony 25/1 4TH Mid-division until fell 4th.
  U Fairy Hill 8 10-00 T. Coulthwaite B. Watkinson 33/1 3RD (OD) Away well & very prominent until jockey fell off upon landing 3rd.



There was drama aplenty in the 1924 Grand National and once again the Canal Turn with its ditch was a catalyst for incident. Repeated frosts had made the ground hard and a hint of snow was in the air. An ex plough horse and hunter type, thus an untypical National winner for his era and beyond, Master Robert had won the 1923 Valentine Chase but suffered from a disease of the bone in the foot that required regular poulticing. He had pulled up lame after a good second at Wolverhampton just a week prior to the 1924 National and never raced again after his Aintree triumph. His win, therefore, was a testament to the training skills of Aubrey Hastings who notched up his third victory. Robert Trudgill was a man of steel, the epitomy of a journeyman he would ride anything, and his great success was achieved the day after enduring an horrendous fall in the Stanley Chase. Ignoring a doctor's advice in order to pilot Master Robert, Trudgill finished the race with blood leaking from a reopened leg wound and collapsed in the weighing room. Winnall was probably unlucky but he never completed in a National so we can't be sure, however, Old Tay Bridge certainly was unfortunate to a degree because based on his form with Fly Mask in the 1925 renewal he would have finished in the first four. Shaun Spadah and Sergeant Murphy had finally become too old.

There is a tale that Bill O'Neill, having parted company with Libretto in the first circuit Canal Turn melee, grabbed the reins of the loose Conjuror, rode said horse to catch up with the loose Libretto, handed Conjuror over to a policeman, and remounted Libretto (only to susequently fall). I can find no visual evidence and the story seems dubious in the extremis to me. Whilst the loose Conjuror could well have been in the vicinity of the Canal Turn at this juncture of the race, O'Neill was on the landing side of the fence while Libretto was behind him in the ditch. How quickly could Libretto have extricated himself, not easy for a horse to do (he can't have been helped out because such assistance would've prevented him from going on loose, as in the anecdote), somehow gotten round or over the obstacle, and gone on loose far enough for O'Neill to have to borrow another horse to pursue and catch his erstwhile mount? How would Bill have located the correct steed in the usual merry mayhem of the Grand National? And why bother, when by the time all this had occurred the, supposedly, reunited partnership would be beyond utterly tailed off? It would probably have been against the rules too!

Silvo was the best horse of the very mid 1920s. A great jumper, he won eighteen chases, including the Grand Sefton and Aintree Champion Chase in 1923, and would take the Grand Steeplechase de Paris in 1925 and finish a close third as favourite for the 1927 Cheltenham Gold Cup when possibly past his best. 1924 saw the inaugural running of the Gold Cup (contested at a distance over a mile shorter than that of the National) which was initially regarded merely as a useful form guide to the Aintree Blue Riband. The Gold Cup swiftly became popular, however, and by the very end of the 1920s was already fully developed as a target for the best horses of the day along with the Liverpool institution.

Silvo did not quite stay the full trip of the Grand National but easily came out best at the weights in 1924, by 12 (pounds/lengths) over Fly Mask, 15 in relation to Master Robert and 31 in respect of Drifter. The latter was possibly improved for being stronger as a 10-y-o and for being moved to last year's winning trainer but was certainly better for being held onto a bit more. Glancing ahead to Silvo's 1927 Gold Cup form (when possibly past his best), which brings in Grakle and thus Gregalach and Easter Hero, I can translate it to a maximum of -28 for this his best performance in a National. Not bad for a non-stayer! Perhaps Winnall wouldn't have stayed either because he must've been going at some rattle when he burst clear on the second circuit considering that despite his nearest pursuer being some way adrift when Winnall met with his unfortunate demise at the Canal Turn the winnng time (per weight carried) was average or better on the prevailing ground, though conceivably the surface could have been a bit faster than my description. There is no recent previous going description that exactly matches and several fences had increased in height since 1923, bearing the latter fact and Master Robert's weight in mind I did comparisons with the times from several Nationals run on somewhat similar ground and came up with a figure of -45 or a little better for the 1924 winner. In conclusion, on balance I decided to retain Silvo's rating at the above-stated -28 and thus give Fly Mask -40, Master Robert -43 and Drifter -59. The latter's previous best rating was -77 (in 1922), however, an improvement of 18 is feasible based on the reasons also appearing above.         









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling