Grand National Ultimate History



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Sa 2 Apr 1977 (3.24) 4m 4f Good 9.30.30 42 £41,140 N. Le Mare

73 74 75 76 1 Red Rum 12 11-08 G. McCain T. Stack 9/1   Mid-division 1st. Left 10th BB 1C. Disputed 9th over next 2. Left vying for 4th at 12th, 5th at 14th, contested that position WJ (where 24 remained). 4th again from 18th through 21st. Left 2nd BB. Led next (Foinavon), 4L ahead from CT through 27th (despite pecking 26th), 2L in front over next 2. 5L to the good last. Powered away and circa 10L advantage Elbow. Kept up to work hands & heels. Very easily. 
76 2 Churchtown Boy 10 10-00 T. Salaman M. Blackshaw 20/1 25 Mid-division 1st. Left 14th BB 1C. Same position WJ. Good headway early 2C, left 3rd BB, disputed 2nd next (Foinavon), outright 2nd from CT. Pecked 26th, mistake 27th and error 28th but clear in 2nd and had narrowed disadvantage from 4L to 2L at the same time. However, further mistakes at last 2 and 5L down final fence, circa 10L Elbow. Kept on very tired.
76 3 Eyecatcher 11 10-01 J. Bosley C. Read 18/1 6 Mid-division. Hampered BB 1C, 18th next (Foinavon), 17th WJ. Steady progress: left 8th BB 2C, left 6th CT, 4th from 27th through 29th, disputed 3rd at last (where hampered by The Pilgarlic), took 3rd outright just after. Kept on.
  4 The Pilgarlic 9 10-04 F. Rimell R. Evans 40/1 8 Mid-division. 17th at 7th (Foinavon), 13th WJ. Left 7th BB 2C. 5th CT. Further steady progress to be 4th at 26th and 3rd at next. Joined for 3rd at last where jumped right and dropped back to 4th just after. Tired but plugged on gamely if slowly.
  5 Forest King 8 10-02 K. Hogg R. Crank 33/1 4 Prominent 1st, very much so 2nd, mistake 3rd. Left 6th BB 1C, same position next 2 but bad mistake at latter of these (CT 1C). Jockey waved to his auntie 10th, left in dispute of 4th at 12th, 10th WJ. 9th at 19th, left 9th BB where pecked. Remained in mid-division next (Foinavon) and left 8th CT. 7th at 27th & 28th, 6th at last and kept on dourly.
  6 What A Buck 10 11-04 D. Nicholson J. King 20/1 4 Away well but soon settled in mid-division. Left 15th BB 1C and same position next (Foinavon). Good progress from ABC 1C to be vying for 3rd WJ. 2nd at 19th & 21st and left in lead BB. Disputed 2nd next (Foinavon), 3rd from CT through 26th but had dropped to 5th over 27th. Maintained that position over the last (at which jumped right). Continued to weaken, losing another place.
  7 Happy Ranger 10 10-05 J. Thorne P. Blacker 66/1   Mid-division. 16th at 7th. Very minor headway to be 12th WJ. Better progress to be left in dispute of 4th BB 2C. 4th outright over next 2, 5th at 26th and 6th at 27th & 28th. Continued to gradually fade and 7th last. Plugged on.
  8 Carroll Street 10 10-00 T. Balding R. Linley 50/1   Hampered 1st and rear of mid-division. Disputed 20th at 7th (Foinavon), 18th WJ. Left in a share of a midfield 10th BB 2C and left 10th again CT. Left 8th at 27th. Same position last, never threatened leaders. Plugged on.
  9 Collingwood 11 10-01 Cpt N. Crump C. Hawkins 50/1   Away well but soon outpaced and in mid-division. Left 13th BB 1C, same position next (Foinavon), 16th WJ. Mistake 18th, left 12th BB, tailed off in same position next (Foinavon). Left 11th CT and left 9th at 27th. Plodded on.
  10R Hidden Value 9 10-04 S. Norton J. Bourke 40/1   Chased leaders and soon became very prominent, left 2nd BB 1C. Joined for that position next (Foinavon), 3rd CT & VB 1C, left 3rd again at 12th. Same place 14th where circa 10L behind the 2nd. Left 2nd once more Chair where bad mistake. Disputed 3rd WJ, left 2nd yet again 17th. Had dropped to 3rd again by 19th. Left in a share of 4th BB where pecked. Left 7th CT where slightly hampered by Sir Garnet. Continued to gradually fade and 8th when swerved & UR 27th, jockey holding onto reins. Remounted and utterly tailed off thereafter.
  11R Saucy Belle 11 10-00 R. Peacock R. Davies 200/1   Towards rear, disputed 20th at 7th (Foinavon). Jumped badly left 13th. 21st WJ. Tailed off from 19th. Leaped violently left 21st. Tired fall BB. Remounted, utterly tailed off thereafter.
  R Barony Fort 12 10-01 C. Brew C. Brew 200/1 27TH (OD) Always towards rear and last by 5th. Well tailed off by 12th. Utterly tailed off before 19th. Left last but one temporarily by Saucy Belle's fall at BB but overtaken by that remounted horse when persistently refusing 27th.
  F Zeta's Son 8 11-04 P. Bailey M. Morris 18/1 25TH (VB) Midfield until took off too soon & mistake 3rd. In a rear of mid-division share of 20th at 7th (Foinavon). Modest recovery to be 15th WJ. Little further progress: left in dispute of 10th BB, 11th next (Foinavon), left 9th CT. Losing ground again when fell VB. Broke leg. Dead.
  U Sir Garnet 8 10-03 G. Richards JJ. O'Neill 20/1 24TH (CT) Fore of mid-division. Left 11th BB 1C. Some headway down the CS 1C and 8th at 12th. Same position over WJ & 19th. Further progress to be left in dispute of 4th BB. 5th next (Foinavon). 6th when mistake & UR CT.
  F Andy Pandy 8 10-07 F. Rimell J. Burke 15/2F 22ND (BB) Prominent 1st & 2nd. Chasing leaders when left 8th BB 1C. Same position over next 2 before left 7th at 12th. Disputed 4th at 13th, outright 4th next. 2nd by WJ. Left in lead 17th, 8L ahead 18th and 10L advantage 19th. Identical amount clear & going well when fell BB 2C.
73 74 76 F Nereo 11 10-00 F. Winter R. Kington 100/1 22ND (BB) Fore of mid-division 1st. Left 12th BB 1C, disputed 11th next (Foinavon), 12th again CT 1C, 11th once more WJ. Good steady headway 2C: 7th at 19th, 3rd at 21st. Had just been left in a share of the lead when fell BB 2C.
  F Brown Admiral 8 10-01 F. Rimell S. Morshead 28/1 22ND (BB) Away well. Remained very prominent despite mistake 1st and left 3rd BB 1C. Disputed 2nd next (Foinavon), outright 2nd (6L down) CT 1C, 8L adrift VB 1C, shared 2nd again 10th, left contesting 4th at 12th. Vied for 5th WJ. 6th at 19th and had just been left in joint 7th when fell BB 2C.
76 R Sandwilan 9 10-00 S. Wright R. Hyett 50/1 22ND (BB) Chased leaders 1st. Left 7th BB 1C and same position next 2. In dispute of 8th WJ. Had just been left 10th, towards rear of main group, when refused BB 2C.
  P The Songwriter 8 10-00 J. Pitman B. Smart 200/1 22ND (BB) Rear of mid-division. Badly hampered BB 1C. 19th next (Foinavon). Same position WJ. Refused 17th but kept going, utterly tailed off. Hassled (again) by loose horses and PU immediately after jumping BB 2C.
  R Foresail 10 10-00 M. Chapman G. Holmes 100/1 21ST Always towards rear. 24th & last but two 7th. Similarly positioned in 22nd WJ. Involved in an incident at 17th after which found himself utterly tailed off with Barony Fort & The Songwriter. Refused 21st. 
76 F Roman Bar 8 10-10 P. Taaffe P. Kiely 25/1 20TH Fore of mid-division. Left 9th BB 1C. Disputed 9th over next 2 (Foinavon & CT 1C). 7th WJ. Continued progress to be 5th at 19th. 6th when fell heavily 20th.
  P Gay Vulgan 9 10-08 F. Walwyn B. Smith 9/1 20TH Mid-division when hampered 1st (by Pengrail) then not fluent & towards rear thereafter, 23rd at 7th (Foinavon). 20th WJ, circa 10L behind The Songwriter. Tailed off & disputing 18th when clambered over the 20th. (Began to) PU immediately after.
76 R Boom Docker 10 10-00 D. Marks J. Williams 66/1 17TH Initially chased leaders. Good headway to be left in lead BB 1C. 6L clear CT 1C. Well clear from 11th. Led by circa 15L at 14th. Left even further ahead Chair and at least 30L in front when suddenly refused 17th.
  P Lord Of The Hills 10 10-01 R. Bastiman D. Goulding 100/1 END 1C Already well towards rear when bad mistake & miraculous recovery BB 1C where left 25th & last but one. Same position next (Foinavon). Tailed off by 12th, well so by WJ. PU end of 1C.
  F Sage Merlin 9 10-05 J. Bingham I. Watkinson 20/1 15TH (CHAIR) Chased leaders, soon becoming more prominent. Left 5th BB 1C. Disputed 4th next (Foinavon). Outright 5th again CT 1C. Further headway CS 1C to be 2nd from 12th. Slightly hampered by a loose horse 14th where circa 15L behind clear leader but circa 10L ahead of the 3rd. Similar circumstances when fell Chair.
  U Prince Rock 9 10-06 P. Bailey G. Thorner 18/1 12TH Very prominent, left 2nd at 1st. Same position 2nd. Left 4th BB 1C. Joined for that position next (Foinavon) but outright 4th again CT 1C. Disputed 2nd at 10th. 3rd, behind tearaway first 2, when swerved left at 12th causing horse & jockey to each negotiate it separately.
  U Sebastian 9 10-01 H. Bell R. Lamb 22/1 6TH (BB) Away well and led from 1st until mistake & UR BB 1C.
  F Winter Rain 9 10-06 T. Dickinson M. Dickinson 16/1 6TH (BB) Chased leaders 1st. Remained towards fore of mid-division and 10th when fell BB 1C. Broke neck. Dead.
75 F Castleruddery 11 10-00 P. McCreery L. O'Donnell 40/1 6TH (BB) Always towards rear, well so when fell heavily BB 1C.
  R Harban 8 10-00 F. Flood F. Berry 66/1 4TH Rear of mid-division until hampered by a loose horse & caused to refuse 4th.
  U Fort Vulgan 9 10-00 K. Oliver N. Tinkler 50/1 4TH Rear of mid-division until hampered, very bad mistake & UR 4th.
  U Davy Lad 7 10-13 M. O'Toole D. Hughes 10/1 3RD (OD) Rear of mid-division until mistake & UR 3rd.
  F Burrator 8 10-00 A. Jarvis J. Docker 50/1 3RD (OD) Rear of mid-division 1st. A little further back when forced to swerve left and fell 3rd.
  F Inycarra 10 10-00 C. Fryer S. Jobar 100/1 3RD (OD) Mid-division 1st where hampered. Towards rear when fell 3rd.
  U Royal Thrust 8 10-00 F. Rimell C. Tinkler 100/1 3RD (OD) Soon dropped towards rear. Mistake & UR 3rd.
  F Duffle Coat 9 10-04 D. Morley B. Davies 100/1 1ST Disputing 2nd when fell 1st.
  F Willy What 8 10-00 S. Mellor J. Glover 50/1 1ST Prominent when fell heavily 1st.
  B War Bonnet 9 10-06 J. Dreaper T. Carberry 16/1 1ST Chasing leaders when BD by Willy What 1st.
75 76 F Spittin Image 11 10-05 M. Scudamore B. Champion 50/1 1ST Away well & chasing leaders when fell 1st.
  F Pengrail 9 10-08 F. Winter R. Atkins 15/1 1ST Fore of mid-division. Fell 1st.
74 76 U Huperade 13 10-07 J. Carden J. Carden 200/1 1ST Fore of mid-division when overjumped, slight mistake & UR 1st.
75 76 B High Ken 11 11-03 J. Edwards J. Edwards 50/1 1ST Rear of mid-division, BD 1st.



The 1977 renewal provided the greatest moment in sporting history as Red Rum became the first horse to win three Grand Nationals. Rummy didn't just win - he pulverised the opposition, galloping home under Tommy Stack's hands and heels. It was his finest performance, an extraordinary display at the age of 12. In a race full of drama from start to finish there was no mistake from Stack this time, he pushed on not long after being left ahead at second Becher's to cheers that grew from the first realisation that Red Rum SHOULD win at the Canal Turn to a soaring crescendo on the run in. Previously, seven horses exited at the 1st in a minor melee, the recent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Davy Lad (the first such to also run in a National in the same year since Prince Regent in 1946) departed at the 3rd, sixteen horses in total were out by the 6th, Sage Merlin was clear in 2nd when coming to grief at the Chair, Boom Docker was so far in front as to be almost off the radar when he decided he didn't fancy a second circuit, and Andy Pandy, who had beaten Red Rum twice during the season and remained well weighted, was nicely ahead and going every bit as well as Rummy when he fell at the 22nd. However, this was Aintree, which Red Rum now reserved his best for, and if using proven evidence to speculate upon who would have won had Andy Pandy stood up only one conclusion can be drawn. Red Rum appeared calmer before this National than his previous ones and had been prepared perfectly by Ginger McCain with more focus upon Aintree than ever before. McCain along with Noel Le Mare also gained their third victories while Stack would retire in May 1978 due to injury and later become a trainer. Meanwhile, Charlotte Brew (Barony Fort) became the first female rider to compete in the Grand National, in truth she was more competitive than her horse. The only dangers to Rummy during the closing stages were Churchtown Boy who didn't quite stay the National trip and who had won the Topham Trophy only two days before, and viewers' collective, illogical fear that the weight of Grand National history said a horse does not, cannot, win the race three times. Well the greatest pure Grand National horse of them all could! Red Rum's triumph was a fitting exclamation point to the Liverpool meeting becoming for the first time a true Jumps festival with Flat racing rightly banished.

Strictly at the weights in the 1977 Grand National Red Rum emerged 47 (pounds/lengths) superior to Churchtown Boy, 51 better than What A Buck, 52 too good for Eyecatcher, 53 in advance of Forest King and 57 in front of The Pilgarlic. The going was solidly Good - after rain overnight on the Thursday Aintree saw gale force winds for 36 hours which dried the course out. The pace was blistering on the first circuit, the field well spread out from a very early stage, However, the self-inflicted demise of runaway leader Boom Docker obviously saw a bit of a collapse on the second circuit and only Red Rum finished strongly - the rest were all very tired - and Rummy was not seriously pressed, hence the unspectacular time. Actually, no sensible time comparison can be made here. It was, in fact, one of the most overwhelming margins of victory in the National to this point, a very easy win indeed. Excluding Grand Nationals in which only one horse finished without being remounted and those run on Heavy (specifically 1958) we have to go back to before the First World War to find a greater winning distance (namely 1893 and 1913). In 1977 Red Rum ran better than he had done before in a Grand National (-10 in 1974) and clearly better than he had in 1976 (-17). He may have appreciated the Good ground more at his age than the jarring Firm of the previous year. The same might be said of Eyecatcher (rated -42 in 1976) yet in the only piece of realistic collateral form available Rummy extended his advantage over the mare by 27 from 1976 despite her staying better this time (possibly by not being as prominent after being hampered at first Becher's) on relatively more testing going to boot. Perhaps Eyecatcher was on the downgrade though (and in 1977 she lacked the services of master Aintree jockey Brian Fletcher). Looking at a comparison with Dan Moore's great horse L'Escargot (-6 in1975), Red Rum ran 0.80 of a second quicker in 1977 whilst carrying 5lb more which equates to 7 better but the ground was on the easy side of Good in the earlier year and the shade of difference in the going might negate most or all of that advantage. Then again Rummy won even more easily than 'The Snail'. In conclusion to this conundrum I will give Red Rum a pure mark of -14 and allow 10 for ease of victory (L'Escargot received 6 for this component in 1975) for a final rating of -4. Churchtown Boy gets 4 for mistakes and a final rating of -57, Eyecatcher receives 2 for being hampered at the 6th and at the last for -64, What A Buck is rewarded with 1 for jumping right at the 30th and a rating of -64 also, Forest King is allowed 2 for mistakes for -65 and The Pilgarlic is rated -71.

My Scroll Of Merit thus now reads: Golden Miller, Crisp; -4 Red Rum; -6 L'Escargot; -7 Troytown; -8 Reynoldstown; -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.



> Foresail may have pulled up as opposed to refusing at the 21st.











Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling