Grand National Ultimate History



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Sa 3 Apr 1971 (3.20) 4m 4f Good 9.34.20 38 £15,500 F. Pontin

70 1 Specify 9 10-13 J. Sutcliffe snr J. Cook 28/1   Held up in mid-division. Left 18th BB 1C, 15th CT 1C, 8th at 12th. Vied for 9th at 14th. 12th (of 20) WJ. Slightly more prominent 2C: 6th at 19th, left 7th BB and same position CT. 6th again from next (VB) to 28th. Left 5th (in leading group), about 6L back, at 29th. Still 5th over last. 3rd at Elbow, squeezed through a convenient gap to dispute lead just after and went ahead with 100yds to go. Kept on well under hands & heels.
  2 Black Secret 7 11-05 T. Dreaper J. Dreaper 20/1 1/2 Mid-division 1st. 6th BB 1C, vied for same position CT 1C, left 13th at 12th, 11th at 14th and 8th WJ. Left 5th BB 2C. Mistake next (23rd) & rider temporarily lost an iron. Nevertheless, 3rd from CT until took 2nd shortly before 29th (where 2L down). Identical situation last. Narrow 2nd at Elbow, disputed lead briefly just after it and headed with 100yds to go. Kept on well. 
  3 Astbury 8 10-00 J. Bissill J. Bourke 33/1 2 1/2 Left 17th BB 1C, 18th CT 1C. Good headway CS and vied for 3rd at 12th. Outright 3rd at 14th and led WJ. 3rd again from 17th until left in dispute of lead BB where bad mistake & very nearly down. Contested 4th CT and 5th from next (VB) until left 4th at 29th where slightly hampered. Same position last. 5th once more Elbow and with 100yds to go. Ran on well. 
70 4 Bowgeeno 11 10-05 Cpt T. Forster G. Thorner 66/1 1 1/2 Well held up 1C: left 20th BB, 21st CT, left 15th at 12th, 16th WJ. Took closer order early 2C and left 6th BB. Same position CT. 4th from next (VB)until left 3rd at 29th. Still 3rd at last, 4th Elbow, kept on same pace.
  5 Sandy Sprite 7 10-03 J. Edwards R. Barry 33/1 NK Soon prominent, disputed 3rd BB 1C and 2nd CT 1C where went wide. Contested 5th at 12th & 14th, shared 4th WJ. Vied for lead 17th & 18th, headed next and 2nd again until left in dispute of lead BB. 2nd once more from 23rd to VB and contested lead again over next two before going 1L ahead 28th. Went lame ABC but gamely extended advantage to 2L over 29th (where jumped right) & 30th. Very narrow lead when joined on either side just after Elbow, headed with 125yds to go and dropped to 3rd then eased.
70 6 Two Springs 9 11-04 G. Owen R. Edwards 13/1 7 Towards rear. Left 26th BB 1C. Same position & last but one CT 1C. Left in dispute of 16th at 12th. Some headway to be 10th WJ. Left 9th BB 2C, vied for 8th CT, 7th at 28th. Left 6th (in leading group) at 29th. Soon beaten after last and took bad angle towards Elbow. Plugged on.
  7 Vichysoise 9 10-03 V. Bewicke P. Blacker 100/1   Mid-division 1st. Left 13th BB 1C. 9th CT 1C where cut corner and made headway. Disputed 2nd next (VB) and 2nd outright at 11th. Contested 3rd at 12th and shared 5th at 14th. Still going well when hampered by the unseating Miss Hunter at Chair and dropped back to midfield, 15th WJ. Left 10th BB 2C and vied for 8th CT as gamely tried to get back into it. Outright 8th at 28th, left 7th (in leading group) at 29th but soon well beaten after last. Plugged on.
  8 King Vulgan 10 11-00 J. Costelloe J. Crowley 16/1   Rear of mid-division 1st. Left 25th BB 1C where mistake. Same position CT 1C. Left 21st & last at 12th. Slight mistakes 13th & 14th. A last but one 19th WJ. Left in dispute of 14th BB 2C. Still 14th (in rear group) CT. Some late progress: 10th at 28th, left a midfield 8th next and plugged on.
  9 Regimental 8 10-06 K. Cundell J. Lawrence 66/1   Prominent 1st. Vied for 7th BB 1C where mistake, dropped to 14th by CT 1C. Rallied to dispute 9th at 12th but slight mistake there and 12th at 14th. 11th WJ. Error 20th but left 8th BB. Dropped to 10th by CT. 9th at 28th. Left 9th again next. Plugged on.
  10 Gay Buccaneer 10 10-00 J. Cox P. Black 66/1   Led 1st & 2nd, joined from 3rd to 5th, led again BB 1C & 7th (Foinavon). Jumped CT 1C still ahead but carried wide upon landing (almost into the canal!) by a loose horse (Twigairy) & relegated to last. Left 18th at 12th, same position 14th, 17th WJ. Earnestly tried to get back into it, left 13th BB 2C, but only 11th and in rear group CT. Still 11th at 28th, left 10th next and plugged on. 
  11 Final Move 11 10-00 I. Jordan T. Stack 66/1   Prominent 1st. Disputed 7th BB 1C, 10th CT 1C, contested 9th at 12th, shared 13th at 14th and same position outright WJ. Left 12th BB 2C where slightly hampered (by Money Boat) and dropped to a last but one 15th by CT. Tailed off in a rearmost but one 12th at 28th, left 11th next, plodded on.
69 12R Limeburner 10 10-00 B. Turnell J. Buckingham 100/1   Prominent 1st. Disputed 7th BB 1C, shared 11th CT 1C, vied for 5th at 12th, contested 7th at 14th and 6th WJ. Further progress 2C to be 4th at 19th and left in the same position BB. Led from next (Foinavon) until joined 26th and continued to dispute lead 27th. Just 1L down in 2nd at 28th. Appeared to be tiring when 3rd & fell next. Remounted and finished well tailed off.
  13 Common Entrance 10 10-00 A. Maxwell M. Morris 100/1   Mid-division. Left 24th BB 1C where slight peck. Same position CT 1C. Hampered 11th. A last but one 20th at 12th, 21st & last (though in touch) 14th. Still rearmost when refused Chair, firing rider into fence and ending up in the ditch. Eventually kept going, utterly tailed off.
69 R The Inventor 10 10-07 E. Cousins B. Fletcher 20/1 27TH (OD) Mid-division. Left 22nd BB 1C where mistake. Disputed 19th CT 1C, shared 11th at 12th, contested 7th at 14th and vied for 4th WJ. 5th at 19th, left 3rd BB and disputed 4th again CT. 8th and tiring when refused last ditch (27th).
69 P Flosuebarb 11 10-01 J. Hooton J. Guest 33/1 27TH (OD) Very prominent 1st. Disputed lead from 3rd to 5th. 2nd BB 1C where pecked & jockey called a cab. Contested 3rd CT 1C where blundered. 2nd again from 11th through WJ. Faded 2C and had dropped back to be left in a share of 14th by BB where erred. 12th (rear group) CT. Had just been left 11th when PU 27th.
  R Charter Flight 9 11-08 B. Turnell B. Rees 25/1 27TH (OD) Rear of mid-division 1st. Left 23rd BB 1C, 22nd CT 1C, left in dispute of 16th at 12th and vied for same position 14th. 14th WJ. Left 11th BB 2C where mistake and hampered by Beau Bob. 13th (rear group) CT. Had just been left 11th in turn when refused (or caused to) 27th.
  U Beau Bob 8 10-03 P. Cazalet R. Dennard 40/1 22ND (BB) Mid-division 1st. Left in dispute of 14th BB 1C where slightly hampered by the rising Copperless. 16th CT 1C, shared 11th at 12th, contested 9th at 14th and continued progress to be 3rd WJ. Vied for lead 17th & 18th and went ahead 19th. Led by circa 6L 21st. Advantage reduced to 3L BB where pecked, saddle slipped & eventually UR.
  F Money Boat 7 10-07 F. Flood B. Coonan 16/1 22ND (BB) Rear of mid-division 1st. Left 21st BB 1C. Disputed 19th CT 1C. Left 14th at 12th, vied for 13th at 14th, 9th WJ. Had just been left 9th again when fell BB 2C.
  F Smooth Dealer 9 10-03 D. Moore A. Moore 33/1 19TH (OD) Prominent 1st. Left 12th BB 1C. Disputed 3rd CT 1C where mistake, nevertheless led VB 1C. Joined next (10th), dropped back to 3rd at 11th and 7th at 12th. 4th at 14th and 7th once more WJ. Mid-division when fell 19th.
70 R Vulture 9 10-00 T. Dreaper S. Barker 16/1 19TH (OD) Fore of mid-division 1st but soon lost position and left 19th BB 1C where slightly hampered by the rising Copperless. 23rd CT 1C, left 19th again 12th, same position 14th and 18th WJ. Becoming tailed off when abruptly refusing 19th with rider being thrown over fence.
69 70 U Miss Hunter 10 10-00 D. Auld J. Fowler 33/1 15TH (CHAIR) Fore of mid-division 1st. Disputed lead at 3rd & 5th. Contested 7th BB 1C, shared 3rd CT 1C, vied for 2nd VB 1C, disputed lead again 10th and led outright from 11th until joined Chair where mistake & UR.
69 F Kellsboro' Wood 11 10-00 D. Ancil A. Turnell 100/1 12TH Rear of mid-division 1st. 11th BB 1C where slightly hampered by Regimental when jumping. Shared same position CT 1C. Still contesting 11th when fell heavily 12th.
  R Lord Jim 10 10-09 F. Walwyn S. Mellor 9/1 11TH (OD) Prominent 1st. Disputed 3rd BB 1C. 8th CT 1C where went wide. Fore of mid-division when refused 11th sending jockey over fence.
  R Zara's Grove 8 10-00 E. Collingwood G. Holmes 66/1 11TH (OD) Mid-division 1st. Disputed 3rd BB 1C. Shared 6th CT 1C where very slightly hampered. Mistake next (VB). Hampered by fallers 10th and towards rear when refused 11th, horse & jockey winding up in the ditch.
70 F The Otter 10 10-01 Maj R. Dening B. Jones 12/1 10TH Mid-division, left in dispute of 14th BB 1C. Vied for 11th CT 1C. Still midfield when fell 10th.
  U Cnoc Dubh 8 10-11 D. Moore T. Carberry 20/1 10TH Fore of mid-division 1st. Left 16th BB 1C where pecked badly & jockey waved to his auntie in the stands. 17th CT 1C. Still midfield when mistake & UR 10th.
  P Highworth 12 10-05 D. Woodhouse D. Woodhouse 100/1 9TH (VB) Always towards rear. Left a last but one 27th BB 1C. Same numerical position & rearmost CT 1C. PU before next (VB).
  U Indamelia 8 10-05 M. John Thorne P. Hobbs 100/1 7TH (F'AVON) Very prominent 1st. Mistake & UR 3rd. Remounted tailed off. Left 28th & last BB 1C. Remained so when blundered & UR (again) next (Foinavon).
  F Copperless 10 10-01 A. Neaves M. Gibson 100/1 6TH (BB) Mid-division 1st. 12th when fell BB 1C.
  F Soldo 10 10-07 P. Cazalet D. Mould 66/1 6TH (BB) Mid-division 1st. Had just been left 24th when fell BB 1C.
70 B Pride Of Kentucky 9 10-00 E. Courage T. Mawson 50/1 6TH (BB) Rear of mid-division 1st. Had just been left 27th when BD by Soldo BB 1C.
70 R Battledore 10 10-06 A. Stephenson J. Enright 45/1 4TH Towards rear when hampered in aftermath of melee at the 1st. Further behind when refused 4th.
  F The Laird 10 11-12 B. Turnell J. King 12/1 3RD (OD) Rear of mid-division 1st. Towards rear on outer when fell 3rd.
70 F Gay Trip 9 12-00 F. Rimell T. Biddlecombe 8/1F 1ST Prominent when overjumped, sprawled on landing, possibly impacted by Brian's Best & fell 1st.
  B Brian's Best 11 10-11 G. Owen R. Evans 33/1 1ST Mid-division when BD in melee 1st (possibly by Gay Trip).
  B Country Wedding 9 10-00 T. Balding B. Champion 50/1 1ST Rear of mid-division, BD in melee 1st.
  F Craigbrock 12 10-01 K. Oliver P. Ennis 80/1 1ST Rear of mid-division. Fell 1st.
  U Twigairy 8 10-06 R. Armytage E. Harty 25/1 1ST Rear of mid-division on outer when hampered upon landing & UR 1st.



Suddenly the Grand National began to enter another golden age. Firstly in this period the typical amount of drama was added to by tight finishes (this year and next), then these segued into a series of epic, quality performances. The 1971 renewal saw the most competitive denouement in the history of the race to this point (see 1852) with the first five being seperated by merely about 4 1/2 lengths. The field set off at quite a pace, enough to cause the early exits of the two horses carrying the most weight (including the previous year's winner Gay Trip), but soon settled down on going that was Good, towards the Good to Firm side, as it had been in 1968. Specify, hailing from a small mixed stable, had won five previous chases including the 1969 Mildmay Of Flete and was in essence, like Gay Trip, a 2 1/2-miler. John Cook was fortunate to find a gap to squeeze through at the Elbow and, as his mount detested the whip, largely employed hands and heels to win. Cook broke a leg later in the year and was forced to retire; Specify never won again. The half-length runner-up Black Secret must have lost more ground than that with his mistake at second Foinavon, which left JIm Dreaper temporarily without an iron, and can be considered unfortunate.

Black Secret had won six of his last eight races coming into the 1971 Grand National, including the Troytown Chase, and emerged here strictly best at the weights by 6 (pounds/lengths) over Specify, 12 better than Two Springs, 18 ahead of Bowgeeno, 20 in advance of Sandy Sprite (who finished lame) and 21 too good for Astbury. With the three in the first six to have run in the National before all having failed to finish on their only previous appearance in 1970 we are in luck to have a handy time comparison with 1968. On that occasion Red Alligator's time was 9.28.80 carrying 10 stone dead and I rated him -48 raw. In 1971 Specify carrying 13lb more was 5.40s slower so, at a Good ground equation of 3 lengths per second, I calculate a rating of -51 which puts Black Secret in at -45 and, allowing the latter 1 for his incident at the 23rd, a final mark of -44. Two Springs also gets 1 for his bad angle towards the Elbow and is thus rated -56 while Bowgeeno receives -63 and Astbury the same (allowing him 3 for his bad mistake at second Becher's and being slightly hampered at the 29th). Finally, it is hard to quantify exactly what Sandy Sprite would have done had she not gone lame because she extended her lead after picking up her injury and it was only after the Elbow that she was passed so I will have to rate her -65. Another unlucky non-winner perhaps, she was retired to stud.      











Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling