Grand National Ultimate History



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Sa 5 Apr 1975 (3.30) 4m 4f Good 9.31.10 31 £38,005 R. Guest

72 73 74 1 L'Escargot 12 11-03 D. Moore T. Carberry 13/2   Prominent, shared 5th at 1st, outright 5th at 2nd, 4th at 3rd, 3rd at 5th and 5th again BB 1C. Mistake next (Foinavon) & jockey did well to stay on. Contested 7th CT 1C. Outright 7th at 12th, left 6th at 13th, vied for 4th at 14th, 7th once more (of 16) WJ. Disputed 4th at 19th, 5th at 20th, slightly hampered 21st, 6th BB 2C, 5th CT. Took 3rd after 26th. A very close up 2nd at 28th and bided time, going comfortably, over last two while disputing lead. Strode away well before Elbow where circa 5L clear. Easily.
73 74 2 Red Rum 10 12-00 G. McCain B. Fletcher 7/2F 15 Hampered 1st and not travel well in rear of mid-division. Left 16th BB 1C, left 15th CT 1C, 13th at 12th, 10th at 14th and 9th WJ. Further headway early 2C, disputed 4th at 19th. Vied for lead BB. 3rd next (Foinavon) where slight mistake. Same position CT, contested 2nd VB, shared lead again over next two. Narrow advantage at 28th. Joined and pushed along before 29th. Maintained share of lead over that & last but under severe pressure immediately after and circa 5L down Elbow. Kept on.
73 74 3 Spanish Steps 12 10-03 E. Courage B. Smith 20/1 8 Mid-division. Left in dispute of 9th BB 1C. 11th CT 1C, shared same position at 12th, 8th at 14th & WJ. 9th BB 2C, 8th again CT. Steady progress along CS to be 5th at 28th. 4th next and 3rd last. Kept on one-paced. Never nearer.
  4 Money Market 8 10-13 V. Bewicke J. King 14/1 12 Away well, fore of mid-division 1st. Left in dispute of 7th BB 1C, same situation CT 1C. Shared 9th at 12th, slightly hampered at 13th, 11th at 14th where jumped markedly right, 12th WJ. Progress early 2C and 7th BB & CT. 6th at 28th. 5th over last two and, despite jumping decidedly right again 30th and being tired, kept on gamely into 4th.
  The Dikler 12 11-13 F. Walwyn R. Barry 20/1 6 Prominent, 5th at 3rd, slight mistake 5th yet 3rd BB1C & 7th (Foinavon). 4th CT 1C, 5th at 12th, disputed 4th at 14th and outright 4th again WJ. Joined once more for that position 19th, 6th next but then sole 4th from BB through 28th. 3rd at 29th but began to fade and 4th at last where another slight error. Continued to weaken.
  6 Manicou Bay 9 10-07 J. Gifford B. Champion 40/1 10 Mid-division. Left 12th BB 1C and same position CT 1C, disputed 9th at 12th, 7th at 14th and 6th WJ. 7th again 19th where slight mistake. 5th BB, 6th once more CT, 8th at 28th, 7th next. back up to 6th over last. Kept on one-paced.
  7 Southern Quest 8 10-06 E. Fletcher S. Shields 33/1   Facing wrong way when tape went up & very slowly away, rear of mid-division 1st. Began good headway and left in dispute of 9th BB 1C. Sustained progress to be 5th CT 1C, 4th at 11th and to vie for 2nd at 12th. Outright 2nd next, 3rd at 14th & WJ, 2nd again 17th, narrowly ahead 18th, outjumped 19th, 3rd once more 20th. Left 2nd at 21st, contested lead BB & Foinavon, led on own CT & VB. Joined in front over 26th & 27th where mistake and had dropped to 3rd by 28th. Soon faded badly and 8th over last two, finished 7th.
  8 Glanford Brigg 9 11-04 J. Hardy M. Blackshaw 20/1   Away well. Contested 2nd at 1st & 2nd, 3rd at 3rd, left 2nd at 4th, same position next and disputed lead BB 1C. Led from 7th (Foinavon) until narrowly headed 18th, 3rd again 19th, 2nd once more 20th, left in lead 21st. Joined over BB and headed CT. Shared 2nd at VB and remained very prominent until 26th. Faded badly thereafter and 7th at 28th, slight mistake 29th, 7th at last. Finished ahead only of the tailed off pair.
  9 Hally Percy 11 10-00 A. Stephenson M.Gifford 66/1   Mid-division. Left in dispute of 13th BB 1C and left 14th CT 1C. Remained 14th through WJ. 12th & last BB 2C. Same position CT where becoming tailed off. 9th & rearmost but one 28th where WAS tailed off. Plodded on.
  10 Rag Trade 9 10-04 A. Pitt J. Francome 18/1   Paddock negative. Hampered and barely negotiated the 1st towards rear. Well so when left 20th BB 1C. Left 18th CT 1C, 17th at 12th. Modest progress to be 12th at 14th, 11th WJ. Same position and last but one BB & CT 2C, becoming tailed off. 10th, rearmost and WAS tailed off 28th. Laboured on.
  F Glen Owen 8 10-00 Cpt N. Crump D. Atkins 22/1 26TH Away well and prominent when hampered by Junior Partner 2nd. 6th BB 1C, 10th CT 1C, 15th at 12th. 13th at 14th where jumped markedly left. Same position WJ. 10th BB & CT 2C where becoming tailed off. Left 9th VB and still so when fell next (26th). 
  U Kilmore Boy 9 10-02 A. Jarvis P. Blacker 40/1 25TH (VB) Mid-division. Left in dispute of 13th BB 1C where bad mistake & nearly unshipped jockey. Nevertheless, still 13th CT 1C. Vied for 11th at 12th, 9th at 14th and 10th WJ. 8th from 19th to BB 2C. 9th again CT and similar position when did UR VB.
71 74 F Beau Bob 12 10-01 S. Mellor J. Glover 100/1 22ND (BB) Fairly prominent 1st. 4th BB 1C, 3rd from CT 1C to 13th (and briefly disputed 2nd at 12th), 2nd from 14th to WJ. Faded quickly 2C, 5th at 17th, and 13th & last when fell heavily BB 2C. Broke neck. Dead.
  F High Ken 9 11-01 J. Edwards B. Brogan 28/1 21ST Mid-division. Left 11th BB 1C. Chased leaders in 6th at CT 1C and all along CS. Left 4th at 13th, disputed same position next, 5th WJ. Continued steady progress early 2C, jumping into lead 19th. Joined when fell 21st.
  P Ballyath 9 10-00 G. McCain J. Bourke 100/1 18TH Always towards rear. Left 21st BB 1C where jockey called a cab. Left 19th CT 1C. Well behind by end of CS 1C in same position. 16th at 14th, where unsettled by antics of two loose horses, and tailed off in 15th & last but one WJ. Still rearmost but one when PU before 18th.
72 73 74 R Rough Silk 12 10-08 E. O'Grady L. Urbano 28/1 18TH Always towards rear. Slow jump 1st. Left 22nd & last but one BB 1C. Left 19th CT 1C. Left 20th & rearmost but one CT 1C. Well behind by end of CS 1C & still last of main group in 20th. 17th at 14th. Tailed off 16th & last WJ. Remained rearmost when refused 18th.
  F Land Lark 10 10-01 T. Pocock G. Thorner 14/1 15TH (CHAIR) Rear of mid-division. Left 18th BB 1C, left 17th CT 1C. Further towards rear in 16th at 12th. 15th at 14th and 14th when suffered heart attack as jumping Chair & fell. Dead.
  P Even Dawn 8 10-04 S. Wainwright D. Mould 50/1 15TH (CHAIR) Rear of mid-division. Left 17th BB 1C, left 16th CT 1C. Well behind in 18th at 12th. Same position & last but one at 14th and when PU before Chair.
74 P Shaneman 10 10-08 M. Greenall P. Greenall 100/1 15TH (CHAIR) Rear of mid-division when fell 1st. Remounted completely tailed off a fence behind. Utterly tailed off in last when PU before Chair.
  F Feel Free 9 10-00 M. James T. Salaman 66/1 13TH Immediately very prominent. Disputed 2nd at 1st & 2nd, outright 2nd at 3rd, left in lead 4th. Joined BB 1C. 2nd again from next (Foinavon) until joined for that position 12th. 4th ABC 1C. Vying for 4th when fell heavily 13th.
  F Tudor View 9 10-00 P. Upton G. McNally 100/1 13TH Fore of mid-division. Left in dispute of 7th BB 1C where pecked. Continued to vie for 7th CT 1C. 8th at 12th. Again contesting 7th when fell heavily 13th.
  U Ballyrichard Again 10 10-01 J. Webber A. Webber 40/1 8TH (CT) Rear of mid-division. Left 19th BB 1C where rider waved to his auntie in the stands. Disputing 14th when horse turned quicker than jockey after landing CT 1C thus leaving him free to join her.
74 U Royal Relief 11 11-01 E. Courage Lord Oaksey 22/1 7TH (F'AVON) Mid-division. Bad mistake 3rd. Left in dispute of 13th BB 1C. Rear of midfield when UR 7th (Foinavon).
  U Spittin Image 9 10-00 P. Woods M. Cummins 50/1 6TH (BB) Fore of mid-division. 7th when mistake & UR BB 1C
  U April Seventh 9 11-00 B. Turnell A. Turnell 28/1 6TH (BB) Mid-division. Had just been left 12th when mistake & UR BB 1C.
  U Barona 9 10-08 R. Armytage P. Kelleway 40/1 6TH (BB) Mid-division. Had just been left 12th in turn when jockey accidentally pulled off by flailing rider of April Seventh after landing at BB 1C.
  R Castleruddery 9 10-04 P. McCreery T. Walsh 33/1 5TH Towards rear. Last but one when refused 5th.
  F Zimulator 8 10-00 Cpt D. Swan Cpt D. Swan 100/1 4TH Away well. Led to and over 1st. 5L clear at 2nd & 3rd but narrower advantage when fell 4th.
74 F Rough House 9 10-12 F. Rimell J. Burke 12/1 4TH Away well, disputed 5th at 1st. Still prominent when fell 4th.
  F Junior Partner 8 10-00 F. Rimell K. White 18/1 2ND Reshod start, delaying race by a quarter of an hour. Away well, disputed 2nd at 1st. 4th when fell 2nd.
  F Clear Cut 11 11-01 C. Hall T. Stack 20/1 2ND Mid-division until fell 2nd. (Fell again 5th when loose.)



In 1975 for the first time a sponsor's name appeared within the race title, that of the later disgraced rag News Of The World, and as a result of affording this privilege the Grand National received a prize money boost that saw the value to the winning owner shoot up by over 50%, comfortably topping the thirty grand mark for the initial occasion (not that Ray Guest, a  wealthy former U.S. ambassador to Ireland, needed the extra loot!). At the same time, however, the attendance of 9,000 (some sources say 12,000) was a modern low due to (further) increased charges of admission to a racecourse whose facilities were poor and decaying under the ownership of Bill Davies. Neither the newspaper nor the size of gathering were worthy of what was another high quality renewal.

L'Escargot since his second Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph had won only once in four seasons but had been targeted more specifically at the National in 1975 than in previous seasons by his jovial trainer Dan Moore, who had finished a head runner-up to Battleship in 1938 on Royal Danieli as a jockey, and who possessed a keen eye for a young chaser (he'd trained L'Escargot since the chestnut was a 3-y-o), for example, Freebooter (whom he bought as a youngster before selling him on). At Aintree in 1975 Moore's now veteran campaigner, in what was always intended to be his final race, decisively turned the tables on Red Rum. Ridden by Tommy Carberry, who was enjoying a purple patch, L'Escargot won very easily and was in complete command of his head-to-head with Red Rum from well before the second last. He was helped by the going which was towards the Good to Soft side of Good, dead, rather than Soft as some contemporary sources say, and wouldn't have hindered Red Rum as much as several people make out. While the latter had not had such a special season as he did in 1973/74 it had not been one without its successes and if Red Rum was slightly below his best in the 1975 Grand National it was not by much. He still ran very well, giving weight away, and was the victim of an excellent performance by L'Escargot. Seventh-placed Southern Quest was the loser in an unsatisfactory start then made progress too quickly for his own good before, unsurprisingly, fading at the end.

The time, which on the face of it appears pretty average for the going, is not awfully relevant because L'Escargot could have gone a lot quicker from a long way out and also there is considerable collateral form to go on. Strictly at the weights in the 1975 Grand National he emerged a comfortable 4 (pound/lengths) ahead of Red Rum, 31 too good for The Dikler, 37 in advance of Spanish Steps, 39 superior to Money Market and 61 better than Manicou Bay. Rag Trade was tailed off. Spanish Steps (previous best rating -34 in 1974) had clearly gone past his best as he was beaten by much more than the customary 13 or so by L'Escargot (-21 in 1974) and also by the best part of a stone more by Red Rum (-10 in 1974) than in the previous year. It may be recalled (see 1973) that L'Escargot beat The Dikler by 25L on Heavy in the 1971 Gold Cup, I don't believe that that was the latter's favourite surface, however, in the 1975 Grand National on ground that suited them both L'Escargot was a comfortable 31 better. The Dikler, meanwhile, had run very well in three Gold Cups (on going ranging from Soft to Good to Firm), winning one in 1973 and twice besting L'Escargot at the shorter trip. The latter had become more about stamina whereas The Dikler didn't quite stay the National distance, the ultimate test of a steeplechaser. All of the above goes towards proving that not only was L'Escargot's win in the 1975 Grand National an outstanding performance, very probably his best ever, but also emphasises my earlier (see 1973's discussion) point that better form was shown in the National than in the Gold Cup during the mid-1970s. L'Escargot became the second horse ever to win both races, although not in the same year like Golden Miller did (and, incidentally, deserves to occupy a place close to Arkle, just behind Golden Miler, in a list of best Gold Cup winners to this point (see 1964)). When assessing the exact merit of the 1975 National form I will rate the race around Red Rum whom Ivor Herbert, his biographer, reckoned performed about 7 below how he had done a year earlier - I will allow him 1 for being hampered at the 1st and making a slight mistake at the 23rd for 6 below and a final rating of -16. L'Escargot gets 7 for ease of victory and his mistake at the 7th for -6 (so L'Escargot made an improvement of 15 and achieved a 21lb turnaround from 1974 between the pair). The Dikler receives 1 for slight mistakes and is rated -43 while Spanish Steps  is marked at -50. Money Market gets 1 for jumping right at the 14th and 30th for -51 with Manicou Bay rated -74.

Thus, my Scroll Of Merit now reads: Golden Miller, Crisp; -6 L'Escargot; -7 Troytown; -8 Reynoldstown; -10 Red Rum; -11 Prince Regent; -13 Early Mist; -14 Lottery, The Lamb, Disturbance, Seaman, Come Away, Cloister, Jerry M, Easter Hero, Thomond(1), Royal Mail(1), Devon Loch; -15 Freebooter, Teal; -17 Poethlyn; -18 Congress, The Liberator; -19 Why Not, Manifesto, Kellsboro' Jack, E.S.B.; -20 Delaneige.       











Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling