Grand National Ultimate History



prev . next


Sa 5 Apr 1952 (3.26) 4m 4f Good to Firm 9.20.60 47 £9,268 H. Lane

  1 Teal 10 10-12 Cpt N. Crump A. Thompson 100/7   Away well and prominent when slight mistake 1st. Led outright from 5th to CT 1C. Joined next (VB) until took clear lead on run to 13th. 5L advantage WJ (where 20 remained). 4L ahead next (17th), only 2L to the good 19th and headed 21st. Vied for lead next (BB) despite mistake and left in front outright again CT 2C. Had company once more from VB to last where pair 3L ahead of the 3rd (who fell). Gradually got on top before Elbow and came away nicely towards finish.
  2 Legal Joy 9 10-04 F. Walwyn M. Scudamore 100/6 5 Slowly away, mid-division 1st. 4th by BB 1C, took 3rd next (7th) and remained there until after 12th. 4th again Chair & WJ. 3rd once more from 17th until left 2nd CT 2C. Disputed lead from VB to last where pair 3L ahead of the 3rd (who fell). Headed before Elbow and kept on relatively one-paced thereafter.
49 50 3 Wot No Sun 10 11-07 Cpt N. Crump D. Dick 33/1 DIST Very prominent 1st. 3rd BB 1C. Chased leaders in 4th CT 1C. Still 4th at 12th but closer to the front, 3rd again Chair & WJ. Dropped back to 4th from 17th until left 3rd once more CT 2C. Disputed that position at 27th where mistake and circa 7L down in 4th next. Left a distant 3rd, about 25L off of the front pair, last. Finished a bad 3rd.
  4 Uncle Barney 9 10-04 H. Clarkson J. Boddy 100/1 10 Never better than mid-division. 13th BB 1C, 9th CT 1C, disputed 11th at 12th, 10th WJ. Left vying for 11th again 17th, squabbled for 9th at 19th, left in a share of 8th at 21st, a midfield 9th once more BB 2C. Left 6th CT 2C but no threat to leading quartet. Plugged on dourly to finish a bad 4th.
  5 Overshadow 12 10-05 C. Magnier E. Newman 22/1 6 Prominent over 1st but had dropped to a mid-division 15th by BB 1C. 12th CT 1C, 14th at 12th, 13th WJ. Left 9th at 17th and left a midfield 10th at 21st. Same position next (BB). Inherited 5th CT 2C but no threat to leading quartet. Slightly weakened into a bad 5th. 
  6 Printers Pie 8 10-00 Gerry Wilson G. Slack 100/1 12 Never better than mid-division. 14th BB 1C, disputed 10th CT 1C, mistake 12th, vied for 10th again WJ. Left 8th at 17th and left a midfield 7th at 21st, same position next (BB). Inherited 5th approaching CT 2C where put off by Royal Stuart who had just refused, hesitated, lost all momentum, walked through fence & dropped to 8th. Gamely persisted.
  7 Hierba 7 10-00 Cpt T. Hanbury A. Mullins 66/1   Prominent over 1st but had dropped to a mid-division 12th by BB 1C. Disputed 10th CT 1C, vied for 11th at 12th, 14th WJ. Left in share of 11th again at 17th, 12th once more at 19th, left an outright 11th at 21st. Same position, in rear of midfield, next (BB), left 9th CT 2C. Laboured on to finish tailed off.
50 51 8 Column 12 10-00 R. Bissill P. Pickford 100/1   Mid-division 1st. Headway to be 6th BB 1C where jockey waved to his auntie in the stands. A fore of midfield 7th CT 1C. Continued to gradually fade: a mid-div 8th at 12th, vied for 10th WJ, left in dispute of 11th at 17th, 13th at 19th. Towards rear when left 12th BB 2C and when left 10th CT 2C. Laboured on to finish tailed off.
51 9 Parsonshill 13 10-01 J. Seely J. Seely 100/1   Towards rear 1st. 17th BB 1C and a mid-division 16th when mistake & nearly UR 12th. Had dropped back into rearguard in 18th WJ. Left 17th & last but one at 17th. Last by 19th, becoming tailed off. Still rearmost when left 15th at 21st and when left 11th CT. Lumbered on to finish well tailed off.
51 10R Sergeant Kelly 11 10-09 J. Paisley R. Cross 100/1   Mid-division when badly hampered 1st. Disputed 19th BB 1C. Rear of midfield when left 20th CT 1C and when vied for 18th at 12th. Progress into a mid-div 15th WJ and further headway to be left 10th at 17th. Shared 9th at 19th and left squabbling for 8th at 21st. Had secured that position outright by next (BB). Left 7th CT 2C but no threat to leading quartet. Fell somewhere along CS. Remounted, well/completely tailed off in last and finished that way.
51 U Royal Tan 8 11-06 V. O'Brien P. O'Brien 22/1 30TH Held up. Mid-division 1st, disputed 19th BB 1C, left a rear of midfield 18th CT 1C. Headway from 15th at 12th to be in a share of 8th WJ. Left 7th at 17th and left 6th at 21st. Chased leaders in same position BB 2C. Left 4th CT 2C, vied for 3rd at 27th. 3rd outright next, circa 5L down. Further progress to halve deficit in relation to leading pair by 29th. Came under immediate pressure upon landing and 3L adrift when mistake & UR last.
50 51 F Freebooter 11 12-07 B. Renton B. Marshall 10/1F 24TH (CT) Always very prominent. Largely in 2nd, however, disputed lead at 3rd and along CS 1C. 2nd again from on run to 13th until jumped into outright lead 21st. Joined next (BB) until fell CT 2C.
  R Royal Stuart(1) 9 10-03 G. Owen T. Brookshaw 50/1 24TH (CT) Mid-division 1st. 8th BB 1C and same position, in fore of midfield, CT 1C where mistake & jockey hailed a cab. Nevertheless, chased leaders in dispute of 6th at 12th, 7th WJ. Left 6th again at 17th, vied for 5th at 19th, left in outright 5th at 21st. Continued to pursue leaders in same position next (BB). Had just been left 5th once more when refused CT 2C.
  P Icy Calm 9 11-00 J. Riordan Marquis de Portago 33/1 24TH (CT) Mid-division 1st. Disputed 22nd BB 1C. Left 21st & last but one CT 1C. 20th, still with only one behind, when ran down fence & jumped markedly left 12th. Well towards rear 14th & WJ. Left 18th & last at 17th. Becoming tailed off at 19th where 17th & last but one again. Left 14th & in penultimate position at 21st. Tailed off when PU immediately after CT 2C.
  F Traveller's Pride 9 10-01 Cpt N. Crump L. Stephens 100/1 22ND (BB) Towards rear 1st. Disputed 22nd BB 1C. Left a rear of mid-division 17th CT 1C where hampered (by Possible) & nearly UR. Vied for 18th at 12th, 17th again WJ, left 15th next (17th) and left in a share of 12th at 21st. In same position outright, still rear of midfield, when fell next (BB).
  U Border Luck 7 10-12 J. Bower T. Shone 20/1 21ST Mid-division. 16th BB 1C, disputed 13th CT 1C and vied for 9th at 12th. Chased leaders in 5th WJ. Maintained 5th until mistake & UR 21st.
  P Tavoy 9 10-00 P. Lenahan D. McCann 100/1 21ST Mid-division 1st. Disputed 19th BB 1C. Left a rear of midfield 19th outright CT 1C, 16th WJ. Left 14th next (17th) where mistake & nearly UR. Towards rear in 15th at 19th. Had just been left 14th again when PU 21st.
51 P Derrinstown 12 10-00 G. Flood A. Power 100/1 21ST Mid-division 1st. 24th BB 1C. Left 22nd & last CT 1C where mistake. Well towards rear by 12th. Left 16th (last but two) at 17th. Becoming tailed off in same position 19th. Had just been left 14th (in turn) when PU 21st.
48 49 50 51 F Roimond 11 11-13 G. Beeby T. Molony 33/1 17TH Prominent 1st. 10th BB 1C. A fore of mid-division 6th CT 1C. Disputed same position, chasing leaders, at 12th. 6th outright WJ and when fell 17th.
  U Menzies 10 10-04 S. Mercer M. O'Dwyer 33/1 17TH Mid-division 1st. Disputed 8th BB 1C. Chased leaders in 5th CT 1C & 12th. Had dropped back to a share of 8th, and midfield, WJ. Had just been left 11th when mistake & UR 17th.
  U Starlit Bay 8 10-03 B. Renton C. Straker 50/1 14TH Mid-division, 18th BB 1C. Disputed 13th CT 1C, in same position outright at 12th. 14th when blundered badly & UR at 14th.
  F Another Delight(2) 9 10-10 P. Cazalet G. Kelly 25/1 9TH (VB) Mid-division 1st, rear of same in dispute of 25th BB 1C. 16th CT 1C and when fell heavily next (VB).
50 U Possible 12 11-00 W. Payne G. Weymouth 100/1 8TH (CT) Mid-division 1st, rear of same in dispute of 25th BB 1C. 17th when a loose horse jumped across his path, bad mistake & UR CT 1C.
  F Skyreholme 9 11-03 Cpt N. Crump D. Francis 40/1 7TH Mid-division 1st. 5th BB 1C. Similar position when fell next (7th).
  F Wolfschmidt 12 10-03 Maj E. Champneys F. O'Connor 100/1 7TH Mid-division 1st. 7th BB 1C. Similar position when fell next (7th).
  F Tantivy 11 11-01 Cpt T. Hanbury M. Westwick 50/1 7TH Mid-division 1st. 11th BB 1C. Similar position when fell next (7th).
  F Pearly Prince 9 10-05 E. Wright D. Leslie 25/1 7TH Mid-division 1st. Disputed 25th BB 1C. Similar position when fell next (7th).
  R Kelek 8 10-13 W. Stephenson C. Hook 40/1 7TH Towards rear 1st. Left 28th & last BB 1C. Becoming tailed off when refused next (7th).
48 50 F Skouras 12 10-13 P. Payne-Gallwey R. Keith 66/1 6TH (BB) Always towards rear. 28th & last but one when fell BB 1C. Broke neck. Dead.
  F Brown Jack 8 10-10 P. Cazalet Duke of Alburquerque 40/1 5TH Led 1st, joined by 3rd. Headed and 3rd when fell heavily 5th.
48 49 50 51 F Cloncarrig 12 11-13 F. Walwyn W. Dugdale 50/1 4TH Mid-division until fell 4th.
  F Nagara 10 11-07 J. de Moraville P. Hieronimus 50/1 4TH Mid-division until fell 4th.
51 U Caesar's Wife 10 10-06 G. Rogers G. Rogers 50/1 3RD (OD) Prominent 1st. 4th when mistake & UR 3rd.
  R Whispering Steel 7 10-11 A. Kilpatrick B. Morrow 40/1 3RD (OD) Prominent until refused 3rd, sending jockey somersaulting over the obstacle.
  U Bronze Arrow 10 10-02 J. Straker J. Straker 100/1 3RD (OD) Mid-division. Badly hampered 1st & dropped towards rear. Last but two when hampered again 3rd & UR.
  U Inter Alia 9 10-03 G. Barry C. Sleator 66/1 3RD (OD) Towards rear 1st. Last but one approaching 3rd when hampered upon take off & ploughed through fence, reaching the other side shortly after his rider who had been unseated earlier on in the incident.
  R Cream Of The Border 7 10-00 A. Paton L. Kelly 50/1 3RD (OD) Badly hampered 1st and rearmost when caught up in small melee 3rd & caused to refuse.
  F Early Mist 7 10-11 T. Dreaper P. Taaffe 18/1 1ST Away well & very prominent when fell 1st.
49 50 51 F Russian Hero 12 10-11 G. Owen L. McMorrow 50/1 1ST Prominent, fell 1st.
  F Hal's Venture 7 10-08 Maj B. Powell J. Foster 45/1 1ST Mid-division, fell 1st.
  B St Kathleen 9 10-02 W. O'Grady P. Doyle 50/1 1ST Mid-division, BD by fallen horses 1st.
51 B Irish Lizard 9 10-03 F. Nicholson R. Hamey 33/1 1ST Mid-division, BD by fallen horses 1st.
  B Cardinal Error(1) 8 11-08 J. Wight Jimmy Power 33/1 1ST Mid-division, BD five strides after fence by fallen horses 1st, jockey flying off over horse's head at start of process.
  F Golden Surprise 7 10-03 S. Warren T. Clarke 100/1 1ST Mid-division, fell 1st.
  F Rocket 8 10-01 C. Robinson V. Speck 100/1 1ST Mid-division, fell 1st.
  U Dominick's Bar 8 10-13 T. Hyde A. Prendergast 66/1 1ST Towards rear when very badly hampered by the rising Rocket & UR 1st.
  R Court Painter 12 10-00 V. Bewicke F. Carroll 100/1 1ST Towards rear on run to 1st where refused, flinging jockey over fence.



A fine renewal on a misty day, the 1952 Grand National contained all of the classic ingredients of the annual contest yet it was apparently perceived as tainted by some sections of the public due to its rough and tumble nature. Or was this perception in fact a case of some sections of the press seeking to shape public opinion rather than reporting it accurately? True, society viewed in the long-term was on a gradual arc from harshness to kindness, for example the voices of those concerned with animal welfare were becoming more likely to be listened to, but was the press unfairly highlighting certain elements of a typical renewal in a sensational and negative manner instead of focusing on the details of a positively good horse race?

Following a false start, initiated by Traveller's Pride, that was actually called this year and a consequent delay (somewhat unusual for the period) everybody, human and equine, was undoubtedly twitchy and when the 1952 National got underway for real it was frenetic. Inevitably, too much early speed resulted in ten horses coming to grief at the 1st. Five went at the 7th on this occasion by which time over half of those who had lined up were out of the race. Confusion was exacerbated for radio listeners by, following a silly dispute with the BBC, Mrs Topham's own, hopelessly inept, commentators calling the eventual winner as a faller. Typically, Mirabel was outwardly unmoved, however, she patched things up with the Beeb for 1953! Teal, a late developer who dictated much of his own pace and gave the impression of always going within himself, provided both Neville Crump and a confident Arthur Thompson with their second win. Phonsie O'Brien again aboard Royal Tan, winner of the recent National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, still hadn't learned to leave it to the horse at the last, the rider's fearless nature taking over. There was no visible sign that Freebooter was feeling the pinch when he fell at the second Canal Turn but the 1950 winner, as we will see, would have found it impossible to give 23lb to the year younger Teal with whom he was disputing the lead at the time. Printer's Pie may well have finished fourth if not for being badly inconvenienced at the same obstacle. After unseating at the 17th Menzies ran off down the Melling Road towards the city only to be apprehended by a policeman before he could explore Liverpool's delights!

The going, officially Good, was described by various sources in the contemporary press as "on top", it had rained earlier in the day following a dry spell and, therefore, was greasy which fits what can be seen on film. Even allowing for the good sustained pace at which the 1952 Grand National was run Teal's winning time, merely two-fifths of a second outside Reynoldstown's record, indicates that the surface was nearer to Good to Firm (albeit on the Good side of). A time comparison with the most recent previous example of very similar ground in 1948 finds that Teal ran 4.80s faster than Sheila's Cottage (rated -37) whilst carrying 5lb more than had the mare. At a calculation rate of 3 1/2 lengths per second this produces a raw figure of -15 for Teal. There is no doubt that his performance is worthy of a place upon my Scroll Of Merit, however, we must qualify exactly where by investigating what there is in the way of collateral form (which is usually more reliable than pure time comparisons but in the early to mid 1950s is a veritable minefield).

Due to general athletic improvement (and the abolition of the final section of plough in 1951) which would work in favour of the horses in the 1950s in contrast to, say, those of the 1930s it is safer to make juxtapositions with horses of recent vintage if possible and this brings us back, firstly, to time and Freebooter. Teal completed the course 3s faster than had Freebooter (raw rating of -18) in 1950 but carried 13lb less weight which produces a raw rating of -21 for Teal (compared to his -15 above). Also, the section of plough remained to be contended with twice in 1950 and there was a better overall sustained pace in 1952 than two years earlier which boosted Teal's time (although, in fairness, he made much of the running), however, the ground was slightly easier this year. And whilst Freebooter emerged 18 (pounds/lengths) better than Wot No Sun (like Teal trained by Crump), Teal came out at least 26 superior if we take 'a distance' to mean, as it officially did, at least 30 lengths. On both occasions Wot No Sun was well beaten but finished 10 lengths ahead of the next horse so it would be wrong to say he may have been eased more on one occasion than the other and, as I mentioned in the 1950 discussion, he was a largely consistent horse (who possibly did not quite stay strongly enough at the Grand National trip in this class) plus Neville Crump said he was possibly better for this renewal than he had been at any time since finishing runner-up in 1950. A few ifs and buts, however (bearing in mind that if the going was actually nearer to the official description than my own it would further work in favour of Teal's performance), I conclude after considering this piece of collateral form that Teal deserves the same raw rating as Freebooter, -18.

Strictly at the weights in the 1952 Grand National Teal emerged 13 superior to Legal Joy, who thus receives -31, and I will allow him 3 for his mistakes and comfort of victory for a final rating of -15 (coincidentally, equal to Freebooter's ultimate figure). I'm confident that Teal was that good, Crump was adamant that his charge would defeat Vincent O'Brien's Knock Hard in the 1953 Gold Cup but sadly in the Cheltenham showpiece Teal dropped his hind legs in the water, ruptured his bowel and died ten days later. Crump would have based his assertion upon knowing how fit Teal was when receiving weight and being beaten by Knock Hard (who was fit having run, albeit falling, in the 1952 King George) in the 1953 Great Yorkshire, which was Teal's first outing since his National success. Knock Hard (under Tim Molony) duly went on to triumph in the Gold Cup, beating Hallowe'en by 5 (lengths) and Galloway Braes by 7. Previously, in the 1952 Gold Cup, Dorothy Paget's precocious Mont Tremblant had beaten Galloway Braes by 14 lengths which suggests that Mont Tremblant was 7 better than Knock Hard, although the latter was gaining on Mont Tremblant when falling at the second last in 1952 (Phonsie again finding himself on the deck). Mont Tremblant would go on to finish runner-up to O'Brien's Early Mist in the 1953 Grand National when clearly not the same horse anymore due to injuries (he finished behind Galloway Braes in the 1953 Gold Cup) and there is a tentative line with Teal through Overshadow which places the former loosely between Mont Tremblant and Knock Hard (more on this next year!)

Finally, I don't think Royal Tan would have finished any higher than 3rd had Phonsie O'Brien not come off of him at the last. He may have improved by about 10 on the -37 I rated him in 1952, however, he was giving 8lb to a much higher rated horse in Teal (and 16lb to Legal Joy). Royal Tan had ceased to gain ground on the front pair between the last two, actually losing half a length and coming under pressure, and his winning time when scrambling home in 1954 was markedly inferior to those recorded by Teal and Early Mist. But even this is slightly complicated by the fact that he missed 1953 due to being injured and fired so may not have been quite the same horse in 1954 as he was in 1952. The Scroll Of Merit now reads: Golden Miller; -7 Troytown; -8 Reynoldstown; -11 Prince Regent; -14 Lottery, The Lamb, Disturbance, Seaman, Come Away, Cloister, Jerry M, Easter Hero, Thomond(1), Royal Mail(1); -15 Freebooter, Teal; -17 Poethlyn; -18 Congress, The Liberator; -19 Why Not, Manifesto, Kellsboro' Jack; -20 Delaneige.          











Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling