Grand National Ultimate History



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The race was started by tape for the first time. The course was no longer fully railed on the inside.


Fr 27 Mar 1925 (3.04) 4m 4f Good 9.42.60 33 £8,120 D. Goold & F. Archer

  1 Double Chance 9 10-09 F. Archer Maj J. Wilson 100/9   15th at 1st and mid-division all the way to BB 1C where circa 13th. Gradual headway beginning CS 1C to be 2nd (of 17) WJ. 4th early 2C. Retook lead BB. Headed once more 26th but remained close up, dropping to no lower than 4th. Renewed progress towards 29th. 3rd at last, ran on very well to regain lead 40yds out.
21 24 2 Old Tay Bridge 11 11-12 F. Hartigan J. Anthony 9/1F 4 Away well & chased leaders. Fore of mid-division 12th BB 1C. 10th VB 1C and 8th WJ. Same position early 2C, 7th VB. Good headway to be 5th at 27th and 2nd at 29th. Led last & Elbow. Relatively one-paced and headed 40yds out. Slightly eased.
24 3 Fly Mask 11 11-11 T. Coulthwaite Maj E. Doyle 10/1 6 Away well. Generally prominent from 3rd. 5th at BB 1C (where jumped markedly right), left 3rd CT 1C, took narrow lead next (VB). Almost joined late CS 1C. Still marginally in front WJ but hung right on bend out onto 2C & lost place. 9th at 17th. 5th again soon after, 4th VB. Led from 27th to 29th. 2nd at last & Elbow. Faded somewhat.
  4 Sprig 8 11-02 T. Leader jnr T.E. Leader 33/1 10 22nd at 1st. Had progressed into midfield by 3rd and circa 15th BB 1C. Slightly hampered (by Winnall) CT 1C but further headway to be 9th WJ. A little closer to the front at 17th and disputed 3rd at 21st. 3rd outright next (BB 2C) and VB. 4th at 27th, where mistake, and a beaten 5th at 29th. Plugged on quite well.
24 5 Silvo 9 12-07 P. Whitaker D. Rees 10/1 10 12th at 3rd. Soon handy, 7th BB 1C. Left in lead on inner CT 1C and 2nd VB although only 5th WJ. Led for a spell early 2C and took lead again 26th. Bad mistake next & narrowly headed. Began to tire between ABC & 29th, gradually losing places from that point and ultimately weakening badly.
  6 Dwarf Of The Forest 8 10-10 S. Bennet H. Kennard 66/1   Generally in rear of mid-division 1C, 20th BB, 14th WJ. 8th VB 2C. 6th from 29th and although beaten did plug on dourly.
  7 Jack Horner 8 10-00 W. Payne M. Blair 40/1   Never better than mid-division 1C: 16th BB, circa 14th VB & 11th WJ. Similar position when landed very steeply & nearly UR BB 2C. Had dropped towards rear of main group of those remaining by VB 2C where 9th. Received little assistance from rider but plugged on into a beaten 7th at 29th.
23 8 Max 9 11-05 H. Ussher J. Hogan jnr 20/1   Mid-division, 17th BB 1C & 13th VB 1C. Same position 11th & 12th. Disputed 8th Chair, left 6th WJ. Remained prominent early 2C, still 6th BB but had begun to fade when hampered mid 2C and in second half of main group VB. 10th at 27th and a well beaten 8th from 29th. Tailed off.
22 23 24 9 Drifter 11 10-03 G. Blackwell B. Watkinson 20/1   Not jump well but soon very prominent. 3rd BB 1C, left 2nd CT 1C, 4th VB 1C and WJ. Remained handy and still quite close up and still 4th BB 2C. Ultimately began to pay for wayward leaping, 6th at 27th and had faded to a well beaten 9th by 29th. Tailed off.
  U Ben Cruchan 11 11-03 S. Bennet B. Whitbread 40/1 29TH Mid-division 1st. Prominent from 3rd, 6th BB 1C, left 4th CT 1C and 5th next (VB). Had dropped to 10th by WJ. 9th early 2C (after 17th), 10th again VB, towards rear of main body. In same position and tired when rider fell off backwards a few strides after landing over 29th. (Rider got back aboard but did not continue.)
23 F Gardenrath 10 10-00 S. Bennet T. James 66/1 29TH Rear of mid-division, 21st BB 1C. Had dropped to last but one WJ. Improved to be an in touch 7th BB 2C but faded into 9th by 27th and tailed off when fell heavily 29th.
19 20 21 22 24 F All White 11 10-00 J. Fergusson J.F. Mason 66/1 29TH Mid-division 1C, circa 14th BB, disputed 8th VB, similar position 11th (where landed awkwardly) & 12th. 13th WJ. Well behind in 12th & last by BB 2C. No change, well tailed off and exhausted when fell heavily 29th.
  U Ballymacrory 8 10-03 W. Jones J. Moylan 33/1 22ND (BB) Fore of mid-division initially. Chased leaders in 9th BB 1C. 6th VB 1C. Left 7th WJ and led briefly going out onto 2C. Disputed 4th at 21st where jockey was pitched forward upon landing & went up horse's neck. Had dropped to 7th when similar mistake & UR next.
  R Peter The Piper 13 10-00 P. Whitaker G. Turner 40/1 21ST Midfield early. Fore of mid-division in 11th BB 1C. Headway into 7th VB 1C and up to 3rd WJ. Disputed lead 17th. Still close up in 6th at 19th where bad mistake & nearly UR. Continued to fade and towards rear when refused 21st.
22 24 R Music Hall 12 12-00 O. Anthony L.B. Rees 66/1 21ST Mid-division, 19th BB 1C. Had dropped towards rear by Chair where mistake & nearly UR, 15th WJ. No improvement and last but one when caused to refuse (by the refusing Peter The Piper) 21st.
  F His Luck 9 10-10 A. Hastings T. Burford 50/1 19TH (OD) Towards rear, 26th BB 1C. Became tailed off last by end of CS 1C. Further in arrears WJ and well tailed off when fell 19th
  U Thrown In 9 10-08 W. Hatt J. Goswell 28/1 18TH Left 20th at 1st, a midfield 18th by BB 1C, 12th WJ. Towards rear next (17th) and when mistake & UR 18th.
  F Gracious Gift 10 10-08 F. Hartigan B. Parvin 25/1 16TH (WJ) Soon became very prominent, 4th BB 1C. Left 5th CT 1C, 3rd next (VB). Occupied similar berth when fell heavily WJ.
24 U Ballinode 9 11-06 F. Morgan G. Fitzgibbon 10/1 14TH Chased leaders at 3rd, left 10th BB 1C. Disputed 8th VB 1C and progress to becme very prominent late CS 1C. Still so when took off too soon, bad mistake & UR 14th.
  F Keep Cool 10 10-07 P. Whitaker G. Green 33/1 12TH Rear of mid-division at 3rd, 23rd BB 1C. Last but one when jumped left 11th. Repeated trick 12th, went partially through fence, hind legs alighted in landing side ditch & crumpled in a heap upon landing.
24 R Winnall 8 11-00 P. Woodland F. Gurney 28/1 8TH (CT) Away well & always very prominent or disputing lead until went ahead 7th. Joined again approaching CT 1C where refused obstinately.
  R Ardeen 8 11-02 Sir K. Fraser L. Lefebve 28/1 8TH (CT) Soon became very prominent, then disputed lead. Went narrowly ahead BB 1C. Very close 2nd at 7th but joined issue again approaching CT 1C where hesitant & refused, landing partially on top of fence. Jockey fell off backwards into ditch where horse soon joined him. 
19 20 22 23 24 U Sergeant Murphy 15 11-07 G. Blackwell T. Escott 33/1 8TH (CT) Chased leaders. 8th BB 1C and same position, tight on the inside, when slightly inconvenienced by the refusing Winnall, misjudged leap, landed partly on top of fence & UR CT 1C.
23 P Ammonal 8 10-10 O. Stanley R. Trudgill 66/1 8TH (CT) Rear of mid-division, 22nd BB 1C. Stirrup leather broke at 7th & PU before CT 1C.
21 U White Surrey 13 11-04 B. Gore M. Tighe 66/1 8TH (CT) Rear of mid-division, 24th BB 1C. Hampered by loose horse (Ardeen) in CT 1C ditch & landed on top of fence, throwing rider over. Horse got stuck in fence until eventually pulled through.
24 R Mainsail 9 10-05 P. Woodland R. Prioleau 66/1 8TH (CT) Rear of mid-division, 25th BB 1C. Hampered by combination of loose horse (Ardeen) in CT 1C ditch & horse stuck on top of fence (White Surrey) and caused to refuse, also entering ditch & rider falling off backwards.
24 F James Pigg 12 10-00 T. Leader jnr A. Robson 66/1 8TH (CT) Last at 3rd and still well towards rear when hampered on take off by horses & jockeys in CT 1C ditch and landed on top of fence. Rider climbed off & eventually pulled horse through.
22 23 24 R Arravale 10 11-00 G. Armstrong J. Meaney 66/1 6TH (BB) Away well, very prominent at 3rd. Had dropped to 10th when ran down fence to left & refused BB 1C, jettisoning rider.
  F Rousham 10 10-00 D. Harrison P. Dennis 66/1 6TH (BB) Soon well towards rear (disputed last but one 3rd) and still very much so when fell BB 1C.
  P Patsey 11 10-12 B. Gore B. Lemon 25/1 6TH (BB) Already well towards rear when hampered & refused 2nd. Kept going, one fence behind, and well tailed off when rider reassesed his decision on run to BB 1C.
22 23 24 R Taffytus 12 10-09 T. Leader jnr B. Lyall 40/1 4TH Left 29th & third last at 1st, disputed last but one at 3rd, baulked & caused to refuse 4th.
  F Alcazar 9 12-03 G. Poole Sq Ldr C. Ridley 50/1 1ST Away well & very prominent, fell 1st.
23 24 U Pencoed 10 10-03 Lt Col F. Lort-Phillips D. Thomas 33/1 1ST Prominent when jumped right, bumped rival & UR 1st.



The Canal Turn ditch struck again in the 1925 Grand National! The obstacle had become the most difficult to successfully negotiate on the course, yet it had not changed since 1912. My theory is that the larger fields and slightly quicker pace in Nationals of the 1920s was responsible. It seems likely that the removal of much of the inner rail on the run down to the fence was carried out to encourage loose horses to exit the racing line prior to becoming stuck in the ditch. Ironically, however, it may have been merely the scar imprinted upon Winnall's mind from being put out of the race by an unfettered ditch-dweller in 1924 that precipitated his refusal which led to the downfall of Sergeant Murphy. Winnall would refuse again in the following day's Champion Chase. Meanwhile, the other joint leader on the approach to the Canal Turn Ardeen, a National debutant, displayed a little hesitancy which resulted in him landing on top of the fence and thus triggering the bulk of this year's chaos. He would repeat the aversion when tailed off in the renewal of 1926. Horses have good memories! Arravale staged a precise re-enactment of his antics at first Becher's a twelvemonth earlier, the third successive year he had refused there.

For the first time ever in a Grand National no horse younger than eight ran. Double Chance was in fine form coming in having already notched up seven chase victories in 1924 and 1925 combined, and he possessed a turn of foot. He never contested a National again while his trainer Fred Archer, grandson of the 1858 winning jockey and nephew of the Flat great, would be killed in a car crash in 1928. Major Jack Wilson, last seen in the Grand National bathing with his horse in Becher's Brook two years earlier, was an all-round sportsman from Yorkshire who would later represent Ladbrokes.

Assessing the merit of the performances in the 1925 National is a tiny bit tricky. Most of the fancied horses were involved towards the finish and two at bigger prices who finished in the first seven would go on to win a later renewal. This indicates that the general consistency of good quality since the war, alluded to in previous discussions, was maintained and once more in 1925 there was one horse whose effort demonstrated a touch of class, in this case Old Tay Bridge. Only in 1922 had there been a recent continuation without one. It is unfortunate, therefore, that said contest is the most obvious choice for time comparison. Also, the result of such cannot be taken literally because, aside from the pure clock and weight calculation, there exist a number of difficult to quantify variables - Double Chance encountered a slightly stiffer jumping test than had Music Hall but the former was favoured by better Good ground, a stronger, very good pace and a touch of general athletic improvement. Even after trying to take these factors into account the outcome appears unreliable, however, the result more than confirms the favourable impression of the 1925 Grand National noted above. Turning to the usually more trustworthy collateral form does not simplify matters. At the weights Old Tay Bridge emerged 7 (pounds/lengths) superior to Fly Mask, 13 better than Double Chance, 17 in advance of Silvo and 26 to the good of Sprig. The more observant reader will immediately notice there is a turn round of 22 between Silvo and Fly Mask, in favour of the latter, from 1924. In the context of my overall opinion of the 1925 National, and casting one of my sneaky glances into the future, I feel that whilst Fly Mask did not get home quite as well this year he was racing on slower going, displayed a tendency to lug right and was carting almost a stone more so actually improved upon his 1924 rating by 4 to -36 whereas Silvo, a non-stayer carrying 5lb more, had far too much use made of him, made a bad mistake at the 27th and thus weakened worsely than he had on quicker ground a year earlier. I think Silvo ran 18 below his 1924 rating but will allow him 2 for the error for -44. By virtue of Fly Mask's figure, and granting him 1 for being slightly eased, Old Tay Bridge is awarded -28. I will also allow Double Chance 1 for winning nicely and rate his performance -41. Another to receive 1 (for being hampered in the annual Canal Turn melee) is Sprig who gets -54, however, he came into the race short of work, therefore, his form was not a true reflection of his current ability.         









Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling