Grand National Ultimate History



prev . next


Fr 24 Mar 1939 (3.15) 4m 4f Good 9.42.20 37 £7,284 Sir A. Maguire

38 1 Workman 9 10-06 J. Ruttle T. Hyde 100/8   Held up in mid-division, 13th (of 25) WJ. Mistake 20th. Left 9th BB 2C. 4th CT, where went wide, & VB. Headway to dispute lead 26th, went ahead just before next. Joined on run to 29th. Narrow lead last. Ran on well. Pulled away.
  2 MacMoffat 7 10-03 Cpt L. Scott Briggs B. Alder 25/1 3 Chased leaders 1C, 11th WJ. Headway early 2C to be 4th BB. 2nd CT, 5th VB. Hampered next (26th) but left 3rd at 27th. Took 2nd again immediately after 28th and disputed lead on run to 29th. Began to feel pinch before last where outjumped by winner and 1L down. Kept on one-paced.
  3 Kilstar 8 10-03 O. Anthony G. Archibald 8/1F 15 Slowly away but made ground steadily over the early fences, left 3rd BB 1C. Same position CT 1C, 4th VB 1C. Disputed lead from after 12th to WJ. Headed 17th but remained prominent and 6th when blundered badly BB 2C & lost several lengths. A mid-division 8th VB 2C, however, rallied to be 4th at 28th. Under pressure chasing leading pair on run to 29th. Faded & 10+L down last. Continued to weaken run in.
37 38 4 Cooleen 11 11-08 Harry Brown J. Fawcus 22/1   Slowly away. Made up ground very steadily, 17th WJ. Continued in same vein 2C, left 8th BB. 7th CT, a midfield 9th VB, left 7th again 27th, same position next. Stayed on but not really quicken. Never nearer.
  5 Symaethis 7 10-00 G. Langlands M. Feakes 66/1   Towards rear 1C, 25th & last WJ. Still among backmarkers CT 2C. Plugged on extremely dourly. Never nearer.
38 6 Dominick's Cross 8 11-01 W. Payne B. Everett 33/1   Always prominent. Left 5th BB 1C. Cornered well CT 1C & disputed lead VB 1C. 3rd or disputed 3rd from 12th to WJ. Carried wide by loose horse at turn onto 2C but had regained 3rd by BB. 2nd when bad mistake 23rd & dropped back to 3rd once more. Took 2nd again mid CS. Weakened badly from immediately after 28th.   
  7 West Point 6 10-02 M. Arnott J. Brogan 66/1   Held up, disputed 20th WJ. Mistake 21st. Left 14th BB 2C. A midfield 10th CT 2C. Plugged on dourly. Never nearer.
36 37 8 Pencraik 12 10-00 K. Goode A. Scratchley 100/1   Mid-division 1C, 15th WJ. Left 13th BB 2C. Still midfield in 11th CT 2C. Laboured on.
37 38 9 Royal Mail(1) 10 12-07 I. Anthony D.J. Morgan 100/8   Rear of mid-division when mistake 1st & nearly UR. Hampered 2nd & in rear. Recovered ground steadily to chase leaders in a dispute of 9th WJ. 7th when slightly hampered by Kilstar BB 2C. Held a tight inside line CT 2C & took 5th. A midfield 7th next (VB). 6th at 28th. Weakened thereafter due to toll of earlier exertions and weight. 
35 36 38 10 Bachelor Prince 12 10-02 Harry Brown T. Isaac 66/1   Away well & prominent, 7th CT 1C, 6th VB 1C. Had dropped to 12th by WJ. Faded further early 2C but left 12th again BB. Refused 23rd. Kept going, well tailed off. Finished completely tailed off.
38 11R Under Bid 7 10-00 P. Whitaker Gerry Wilson 22/1   Away well & very prominent. Nearly UR 1st but jockey helped back into saddle by rider of Red Hillman. Remained handy, 6th CT 1C. Headway to dispute lead at Chair & WJ. Headed going out onto 2C but continued to be close up for a few more fences. Began to lose ground after 20th, left 10th BB 2C. A midfield 9th CT 2C where mistake. Beaten when fell 27th. Remounted, well tailed off. Finished completely tailed off. 
36 38 F Inversible 11 10-07 J. Wight M. Hogan 22/1 30TH Progress to chase leaders in a dispute of 7th WJ. Carried wide by loose horse at turn onto 2C, nevertheless, further headway to be 2nd BB. Had dropped to 6th when took a tight inside line CT & 2nd again at VB. 5th at 28th, under pressure. Beaten in 4th when fell last.
  U Black Hawk 8 10-08 J. Goldsmith J. Moloney 40/1 27TH (OD) Mid-division, left 18th BB 1C. Headway to chase leaders in a dispute of 7th WJ. Carried wide by loose horse at turn onto 2C, nevertheless, further progress to lead BB. Still going well and had only just been headed when collided with Workman in mid-air & UR 27th.
  F Milano 8 10-10 I. Anthony L. Stoddard 50/1 23RD Mid-division, left 22nd BB 1C. Headway to be 16th WJ. Further progress early 2C and 5th BB where pecked. Still prominent when fell next.
  P Lucky Patch 9 10-00 S. Mercer T. Elder 66/1 23RD Mid-division 1C, 14th WJ. Left 11th BB 2C. Hampered by the refusing Bachelor Prince at next (23rd) & made bad mistake leaping both horse & fence. Immediately PU.
  F Red Hillman 11 10-12 F. Brown E. Foley 66/1 22ND (BB) Chased leaders. Became more prominent after ABC 1C, 6th WJ. Jumped into lead 17th. Still ahead 20th but had dropped to 8th when fell BB 2C.
  F Deslys 10 10-01 W. Lyde A. Marsh 100/1 22ND (BB) Rear of mid-division 1C, 18th WJ. 14th when made first mistake of the race & fell BB 2C.
  F Scotch Wood 9 10-00 C. Freake Cpt P. Herbert 100/1 22ND (BB) Always towards rear. 23rd WJ and had just been left 15th when fell BB 2C, horse slipping back into brook.
  F Montrejeau 9 10-05 B. Briscoe F. Nicholson 40/1 22ND (BB) Mid-division most of 1C but had advanced to 9th by WJ. Faded quite badly early 2C and towards rear when fell BB.
  F Second Act 8 10-05 Maj B. Powell J. Dowdeswell 100/1 21ST Never better than rear of mid-division. Left 23rd BB 1C, disputed 20th WJ. Still travelling well and had just begun to lengthen stride when fell 21st.
  R Birthgift 8 10-00 B. Bissill T. McNeill 100/1 21ST Away well & led over 1st. Remained very prominent when headed and left in dispute of lead BB 1C. Led outright again CT 1C. Joined next (VB) and headed once more when hesitant into 12th. 2nd at 13th, vied for 3rd WJ. Carried wide by loose horse at turn onto 2C. Dropped away and rear of mid-division when ran down fence & refused 21st.
  CO Tuckmill 9 10-00 C. Kelly G. Kelly 100/1 21ST Always towards rear, 22nd WJ. No great change when carried out by the refusing Birthgift 21st.
  R St George(3) 8 10-11 B. Briscoe B. Petre 33/1 21ST Never going well. Towards rear Chair, 19th WJ. Still among back group when caused to refuse 21st by loose horse (War Vessel).
38 F Blue Shirt 8 10-04 N. Smyth R. Smyth 10/1 21ST Always towards rear, 24th & last but one WJ. Similar position when fell 21st (possibly hampered by the loose War Vessel).
  F Sporting Piper 8 10-00 P. Thrale J. Hislop 50/1 20TH Soon very prominent and left in dispute of lead BB 1C. 2nd CT 1C, vied for lead again next (VB). Ahead alone again 12th & 13th, had dropped into a dispute of 3rd WJ. Lost position rapidly early 2C and rear of mid-division when fell 20th.
  U Red Freeman 8 10-05 P. Thrale B. Redmond 50/1 13TH Soon prominent, left 6th BB 1C. 5th at CT & VB 1C. 3rd when mistake & UR 13th.
  F Perfect Part 9 10-13 F. Brown J. Ward 33/1 10TH Away well but soon lost position, left 21st BB 1C. Had dropped to last when fell heavily 10th.
38 F Rockquilla 9 11-07 G. Beeby T. Carey 100/6 7TH Away well & immediately led. Very prominent 1st. Left 4th BB 1C. Same position when fell 7th.
  P Luckpenny 10 10-12 W. Payne Maj B. Moseley 100/1 7TH Very prominent at 2nd & 3rd. Left 8th BB 1C but hampered upon landing & broke down. PU well before 7th.
38 F Royal Danieli 8 11-13 Reggie Walker D. Moore 100/8 6TH (BB) Chased leaders until became very prominent at 3rd. Took lead 5th and still ahead when fell BB 1C.
  B Epiphanes 7 10-00 A. Bridgman H. Applin 100/1 6TH (BB) Away well, disputed lead 2nd & 3rd. Had just been left 4th when BD by Royal Danieli BB 1C.
38 F Dunhill Castle 9 11-09 H. Lowe F. Walwyn 28/1 3RD (OD) Chased leaders until fell 3rd.
  F Teme Willow 8 10-13 T. Rimell F. Rimell 100/9 1ST Prominent, fell 1st.
  F Mesmerist 8 10-00 T. Gosden Cpt P. Harding 100/1 1ST Mid-division, fell 1st.
  B Brendan's Cottage 9 11-02 G. Beeby G. Owen 25/1 1ST Mid-division, BD by Mesmerist 1st.
37 38 U Drim 12 10-06 P. Thrale J. Morris 100/1 1ST Mid-division, on outer, when stumbled on landing & pitched rider over his head 1st.
  U War Vessel 6 10-07 R. Hobbs B. Parvin 50/1 1ST Mid-division, mistake & jockey eventually came off backwards 1st.



The 1939 Grand National evolved into a substandard affair compared to the bulk of the decade's renewals. Royal Mail, under top weight, had no good fortune, Cooleen required Soft ground to show her best and several fancied horses, such as recent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Brendan's Cottage, were early casualties. Workman, who became the first Irish trained victor since Troytown in 1920, was another horse sired by Cottage (who got two more National winners post-war as well as triple Gold Cup hero Cottage Rake). An extra year of maturity, a less hasty advance along the canal side and a relatively weaker race enabled Workman to stay in 1939, even on going that was slower than that of the previous year, thus denying a first success for Scotland via MacMoffat. The trainer of the triumphant horse, Jack Ruttle, had convinced ex-show jumper Tim Hyde to become a jockey. Hyde was unfortunately partially paralysed in a 1951 fall but spiritedly turned to training. Black Hawk, on the bit when knocked out of the race by Workman at the last ditch, had previously been carried wide on the turn onto the second circuit and must be considered unlucky, especially considering he was good enough to be a ten length second in the 1940 Gold Cup. Dominick's Cross was another of those carried wide and his effort to recover was likely part of the reason, along with a bad mistake at the 23rd, that he ultimately weakened so badly. Kilstar's very bad blunder at second Becher's cost him several lengths in a year which saw the introduction of individually named (by horse) Tote machines upon which to bet on course.

Workman would never win another race and the form of MacMoffat, basically a hunter, was nothing to write home about coming in albeit he was an improving 7-y-o. His owner felt that Workman had improved by at least 10lb since 1938 and had been doing his best work at the end of recent races. Strictly at the weights in the 1939 Grand National he emerged 6 (pounds/lengths) superior to MacMoffat and 21 better than Kilstar. There is no sensible collateral formline available so, unfortunately, the tale of the clock is the major evidence in this instance with time comparisons based upon 3 lengths per second. The pace was probably not quite as sustained overall as on the last couple of occasions the going had been Good (in 1932 and 1936). In 1932, when the ground was a shade quicker than in 1939, Forbra was 2.40s slower than Workman whilst carrying 1lb more and achieved a raw mark of -55. The result of the calculation places Workman at -50, however, allowing for the slightly quicker ground and pace in 1932 I will say -45 (raw). In 1936, when the surface was a shade slower than in 1939, Reynoldstown was 4.40s faster than Workman whilst carrying 24lb more and achieved a raw mark of -18. The outcome of this calculation places Workman at -54, however, balancing out the factors of slightly slower ground but slightly better sustained pace of 1936 I will say -51 (raw). The average of these two figures is -48 (raw) and I will allow Workman 1 for his mistake at the 20th for a final rating of -47, certainly a big improvement upon any rough rating that could be calculated for his 1938 effort but, I think, a fair conclusion. MacMoffat, consequently, receives a raw mark of -54 but I will grant him 2 for being hampered at the 26th for a final rating of -52 and Kilstar deserves 7 due to the ground he lost at second Becher's for -62.          











Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling