Grand National Ultimate History



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Fr 5 Apr 1940 (3.17) 4m 4f Good to Firm 9.20.60 30 £4,225 Lord Stalbridge

  1 Bogskar 7 10-04 Lord Stalbridge Fl Sgt M. Jones 25/1   Held up. 17th BB & CT 1C. 10th (of 25) WJ. Left 6th BB 2C. 5th CT 2C, 12L off lead VB. 6th again 28th. Further headway to be 2L down in 2nd at 29th. Very close up last where slight mistake. Hit front soon after, 3L ahead Elbow. Ran on well. Comfortably.
39 2 MacMoffat 8 10-10 Cpt L. Scott Briggs B. Alder 8/1 4 Away well & always prominent. Disputed lead BB 1C & 7th. 3rd when nipped up inside CT 1C and vied for lead again until narrowly ahead WJ. Headed circa 18th, 3rd again 21st. Left merely 5th BB 2C. Landed 3rd once more over CT, however, again took smooth inside route to regain lead. Lit up by loose horse (National Night) from VB and 2L to the good 28th & 29th. Only narrowly in front last and headed soon after. Kept on, relatively one-paced.  
  3 Gold Arrow 8 10-03 D. Whitton P. Lay 50/1 6 Away well & disputed lead 1st. 6th BB 1C but vied for lead again CT 1C where went wide and had dropped to tied 6th VB 1C. 3rd at 12th & WJ. Took lead circa 18th, joined by 21st. A very close 2nd BB 2C and landed ahead again CT 2C, however, carried wide by loose horse (National Night) & headed once more. 2nd at 27th & 28th, 2L down. 4th at 29th, 3rd last and kept on all out to just hang on to that position.
39 4 Symaethis 8 10-03 G. Langlands M. Feakes 100/6 1/2 Mid-division, 12th BB 1C, 16th CT 1C. Still midfield WJ. 13th at 21st, left 12th again BB 2C. Good progress to be 7th CT 2C. Left 6th at 29th, disputed 4th last. Kept on one-paced but not quite get up for 3rd.
  5 Venturesome Knight 10 10-08 J. Wight R.R. Tweedie 28/1   Away well. 11th BB 1C, 8th CT 1C, disputed 4th VB 1C, 3rd at 14th, 4th WJ. Still vying for 4th at 21st but dropped back to be left 9th BB 2C. 6th CT 2C, 5th at 28th & 29th, 6th again last. Regained 5th after Elbow despite suffering broken blood vessel.
  6 The Professor 9 11-08 Cpt J. Storie G. Owen 100/8   Away well & disputed lead 1st. 4th BB & CT 1C and tied for that position next (VB). Dropped to 5th by 14th and 7th WJ. Rallied to dispute 4th again at 21st, 2L down in 3rd BB 2C. Still 3rd at 28th & 29th. Began to tire before last where disputed 4th once more & mistake. 5th Elbow, further weakened badly. 
38 7 Takvor Pacha 8 10-04 F. Brown Maj O. Prior-Palmer 33/1   Mid-division, 16th BB 1C. Rear of same CT 1C. Left 13th BB 2C, 14th CT 2C. Some late progress, never nearer.
  8 Away 9 11-02 K. Muir K. Muir 100/1   Started well & disputed lead 1st. Soon settled for chasing leaders, 8th BB 1C, 9th CT & VB 1C. 8th again WJ. Lost position early 2C, left 16th at 21st and again next (BB). 12th CT 2C and plugged on dourly.
36 38 39 9 Inversible 12 10-06 J. Wight M. Hogan 25/1   Held up 1C. 19th BB, 18th CT, midfield WJ. Steady headway to dispute 7th at 21st, left 7th next (BB). 8th CT 2C. No further impression.
38 39 10 Dominick's Cross 9 11-01 W. Payne C. Mitchell 40/1   Initially prominent, 5th at 1st. Soon dropped into mid-division, 13th BB & CT 1C. Left 14th BB 2C, 11th CT 2C. Plugged on.
  11 Luxborough 6 10-03 A. Wood E. Brown 100/1   Initially rear of mid-division. Fore of same in 10th BB & CT 1C. Took tight inside line at the latter and disputed 6th next (VB). Soon dropped back into midfield, 11th WJ. 14th at 21st, left 15th BB 2C, same position CT 2C. Plugged on, gaining a few places.
39 12 Kilstar 9 11-00 O. Anthony G. Archibald 5/1   Hesitant 2nd, mid-division when bad mistake 3rd & not travel well after. 18th BB 1C, rear of midfield CT 1C. Very modest progress to be 11th at 21st, left 11th BB 2C. 10th CT 2C. Faded.
38 39 13 Rockquilla 10 11-05 G. Beeby T. Carey 20/1   Away well & prominent. 7th BB 1C, 5th CT 1C, 3rd next (VB) and 4th at 12th. Gradually faded 2C: vied for 7th at 21st, left 8th BB, 9th CT. Weakened further.
  14 Downright 11 10-06 B. Bissill Cpt J. Seely 100/1   Chased leaders 1st. Became more prominent and 5th when bad mistake BB 1C. 7th CT 1C and began to fade CS, rear of mid-division 12th. Towards rear of main group WJ, adrift of it BB 2C. Continued to weaken. Well tailed off.
35 36 38 15 Lazy Boots 14 10-10 Sir G. Congreve Sir G. Congreve 100/1   Slowly away & rearmost 1st. 28th & last BB 1C where becoming tailed off. Certainly so by 13th. Lumbered on to complete in own time.
  16 Red Eagle 9 11-02 W. James T. Elder 50/1   Last but one BB & CT 1C. Tailed off by WJ. Lumbered on to finish completely so.
39 17 Tuckmill 10 10-03 C. Kelly G. Kelly 100/1   Away well & prominent 1st. Soon dropped away and 23rd BB 1C where mistake. 26th CT 1C. Remained towards rear of main group, left 18th at both the 21st & BB 2C. Weakened badly to finish completely tailed off.
38 39 F Royal Danieli 9 11-13 Reggie Walker D. Moore 4/1F 29TH Away well. Disputed lead 1st, ahead alone from 2nd to 5th, joined from BB 1C to 14th, 2nd WJ. Vied for lead again 21st, narrowly in front BB 2C. Approached & landed 2nd over CT but carried a little wide by loose horse (National Night) & slightly lost position. Began to fade from next (VB) but still 4th at 28th. 6th, quite close up, & under pressure when fell 29th. 
39 F Black Hawk 9 11-00 J. Goldsmith F. Rimell 100/6 28TH Generally fore of mid-division 1C: 9th BB, 11th CT, 10th VB, 9th again WJ. Had dropped to rear of midfield when left 17th BB 2C. 13th CT and staying on again when fell 28th.
39 P Milano 9 10-09 I. Anthony D.J. Morgan 100/9 28TH Mid-division, 15th BB 1C. Headway to dispute 7th at 21st, 4th BB 2C. 7th again CT. Began to fade and beaten when hampered by a loose horse (possibly Black Hawk) & PU 28th.
  P Sterling Duke 9 10-03 J. Ruttle T. Hyde 100/6 27TH (OD) Towards rear, 25th BB 1C. Rear of mid-division CT 1C but well behind by BB 2C. Tailed off when PU 27th.
  F Boyo 9 10-04 R. Hobbs R. Morgan 66/1 24TH (CT) Fore of mid-division 1st but had dropped to 24th by BB 1C. Still rear of midfield CT 1C. Very steady progress to be left 10th BB 2C, however, had declined to 16th when fell heavily CT 2C.
39 F Red Freeman 9 10-03 P. Thrale B. Redmond 50/1 22ND (BB) Held up towards rear of main group entire 1C. Rather rapid headway early 2C to dispute 7th at 21st. Prominent in 5th when fell next (BB 2C).
  F Litigant 9 10-07 F. Furlong D. Black 50/1 21ST Rear of mid-division, 20th BB 1C. Same story all the way and 16th when fell 21st.
38 39 F Under Bid 8 10-03 P. Whitaker F. Nicholson 33/1 20TH Rear of mid-division, 22nd BB 1C. 14th CT 1C, 11th VB 1C. Still in midfield at 14th but progress circa Chair and prominent in 5th WJ. Remained fairly handy until fell 20th.
39 P Second Act 9 10-03 Maj B. Powell J. Dowdeswell 100/1 16TH (WJ) Chased leaders 1st but soon settled in mid-division, 14th BB 1C, 15th CT 1C and 13th VB 1C. Had dropped towards rear of main group by 14th and last of same when caught back legs on front lip of WJ, severely injured back end & immediately PU. Dead.
  U National Night 8 10-05 J. Anthony Fl Sgt H. Jones 100/1 14TH Fore of mid-division 1st. Soon became very prominent, 3rd BB 1C. 6th when forced wide by The Professor CT 1C & dropped to 8th VB. Rallied to dispute 5th at 12th but had declined back into midfield when mistake & UR 14th.
38 39 F Dunhill Castle 10 11-05 H. Lowe Gerry Wilson 50/1 13TH Mid-division, mistake 1st and not jump well thereafter. A rear of midfield 21st BB 1C. Similar position CT 1C and when finally fell 13th.
  F Corn Law 8 10-03 T. Rayson T. McNeill 100/1 4TH Initially prominent. Fore of mid-division when jumped big and slow 3rd, making awkward shape. Rear of midfield when fell 4th.
35 36 38 39 F Bachelor Prince 13 10-09 L. Elwell R. Loewenstein 100/1 2ND Fore of mid-division 1st. Had quickly dropped to rear of midfield when fell 2nd.



With the Second World War poised to exit its phoney phase the second, and hopefully final, khaki National was all round the worst renewal since before the first cataclysmic global confrontation. Despite featuring a terrific three-way battle on the pace between MacMoffat, Gold Arrow and Royal Danieli for much of its length the 1940 Grand National was similar in quality to the previous year's renewal and relatively devoid of incident. There was an unusually high percentage of finishers for the era and it was generally agreed that Liverpool's new groundsman had not made the fences quite as stiff as normal, visual evidence suggests the spruce was pretty loose. April 5th was the latest date upon which the National had been run and the value to the winning owner barely more than one third of that in 1929. The held up Bogskar, named after a small group of islands off the coast of Finland, arrived late and ran out a comfortable winner under a well judged ride from Mervyn Jones. Bogskar had broken his maiden in the Lingfield National Trial earlier in 1940 and never won again after this National. His owner/trainer Lord Stalbridge had helped save Wincanton races fron liquidation in 1925. Nephews of the Anthony brothers and both on special leave from the RAF, siblings Mervyn and Hywel Jones and their mounts ironically combined to reduce MacMoffat to dual runner-up status as National Night, the loose erstwhile steed of Hywel, certainly softened up the Scottish trained horse for the late pounce of Bogskar! An interesting second circuit move by Red Freeman was curtailed at Becher's Brook. Tragically, Mervyn Jones was killed on active service in 1942 at the age of just 22.

The winning time was excellent, merely 1/5 of a second slower than Golden Miller's in 1934 and 2/5's outside Reynoldstown's the following year, both also on Good to Firm. On a late date and in brilliant sunshine in 1940 I'm inclined to think the going was a bit faster than officially described. The fairest time comparison (at 3 1/2 lengths per second) is with 1935 because the ground was on the quick side of Good to Firm that year too (and the pace obviously similar). As well as being almost half a second faster Reynoldstown (raw mark -21) carried a stone more than Bogskar, therefore, I will place a raw rating of -37 on the latter. Strictly at the weights in the 1940 Grand National MacMoffat emerged on top, by 2 (pounds/lengths) over Bogskar, 9 over Symaethis and 13 over Gold Arrow. I cannot downgrade these horses by more than 2 due to the easier fences because I have largely judged horses' ratings independent of the degree of course difficulty over the years. As it happens, Bogskar is allowed the 2 back for comfort of victory and thus receives a final rating of -37. Similarly, MacMoffat is granted 2 for being lit up by the loose National Night and duly receives -35. Gold Arrow went wide on both circuits (once forced) at the Canal Turn so is allowed 6 for a final mark of -44. And Symaethis receives -46. She and MacMoffat (rated -52 last year) both improved by more than a stone, however, this is understandable given they were now 8-y-o's, that they loosely confirmed the collateral form with each other, and, even allowing for the quicker going than in 1939, MacMoffat ran about 22s faster whilst carrying 7lb more. No wonder that Royal Danieli (rated -38 in 1938) was tired and under pressure when falling at the 29th considering he was giving Bogskar 23lb.

It would be six years before the Grand National was run again.   











Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling