Grand National Ultimate History



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Sa 29 Mar 1980 (3.20) 4m 4f Heavy 10.17.40 30 £45,595 R. Stewart jnr

79 1 Ben Nevis 12 10-12 Cpt T. Forster C. Fenwick 40/1   Sweating. Held up towards rear, last BB 1C. 23rd & last but one next (Foinavon). Headway before ABC 1C. Hesitant Chair. 8th (of 22) WJ. Further progress to be 2nd at 17th. Maintained that position and got closer to leader until left clear BB 2C. Circa 10L ahead CT. Came back on bit ABC 2C, 8L in front at 29th. Extended lead and circa 20L to the good Elbow. Ran on. Unchallenged.
79 2 Rough And Tumble 10 10-11 F. Winter J. Francome 11/1 20 Mid-division 1C: 9th at 7th (Foinavon); 7th WJ. 2nd from 23rd. Same position, circa 10L down at CT. Maintained 2nd along the CS before closing on leader to circa 6L at the last. No more to give, about 20L down by Elbow. Kept on very tired.
77 78 79 3 The Pilgarlic 12 10-04 F. Rimell R. Hyett 33/1 10 Unable to go the pace and in rear of mid-division. 18th at 7th (Foinavon) and in similar position WJ. Began to make progress early 2C, 7th at 18th. 3rd from 23rd (Foinavon). Plodded on dourly, walked past the post.
  4 Royal Stuart(2) 9 10-10 S. Mellor P. Blacker 20/1 25 Rear of mid-division, 19th at 7th (Foinavon). Progress CS 1C to be 9th at 12th, same position WJ. More prominent, chasing leaders, 2C. 3rd when pecked badly 20th. 4th when mistake 23rd (Foinavon). Became exhausted and tailed off from ABC. Lumbered home at walking pace.
79 R Royal Frolic 11 11-04 F. Rimell J.Burke 16/1 27TH (OD) Mid to rear 1C, 17th at 7th (Foinavon). Circa 12th WJ. Progress to be 6th at 23rd (Foinavon) & 4th VB. 5th and becoming tailed off when refused 27th.
  R Rathlek 10 10-00 D. Greig P. Barton 35/1 27TH (OD) Mid-division, 13th at 7th (Foinavon). 11th at 12th, headway to be 5th WJ. Same position 23rd (Foinavon). Very tired and becoming tailed off having just been left 5th when refused 27th.
79 R Dromore 12 10-08 Mrs P. Duggan P. Duggan 100/1 27TH (OD) Chased leaders. 6th at 7th (Foinavon), 8th at 12th. Had dropped to 13th by WJ. Rallied to be 7th at 23rd (Foinavon) but faded thereafter and exhausted, tailed off 5th & last when refused 27th.
  F Flashy Boy 12 10-08 D. Smith C. Grant 50/1 24TH (CT) Always towards rear. 16th at 7th (Foinavon). Hampered (by The Vintner) & mistake Chair. 22nd & last WJ. Virtually refused 19th where tailed off. Left 8th & rearmost again 23rd (Foinavon). Tired when fell next (CT).
  F Our Greenwood 12 11-06 A. O'Connell A. O'Connell 100/1 23RD (F'AVON) Rear of mid-division, 21st at 7th (Foinavon). Mistake 11th but modest progress to be 14th WJ. Towards rear and becoming tailed off when fell 23rd(Foinavon).
  F Delmoss 10 10-02 D. Moore G. Newman 25/1 22ND (BB) Away well and disputed lead over 1st & 2nd. Left ahead on own despite pecking at 3rd and clear Chair, circa 10L to the good at WJ. Reduced advantage by 17th where again pecked. Another mistake 20th. Recently joined when fell heavily BB 2C.
  F Three To One 9 10-02 K. Oliver G. Dun 25/1 22ND (BB) Mid-division, 15th at 7th (Foinavon). Good progress to be 6th WJ. 3rd at 19th but dropped to 5th after bad mistake 20th. Had rallied and just been left 2nd when fell heavily BB 2C.
  F Jimmy Miff 8 10-05 I. Wardle A. Brown 50/1 22ND (BB) Rear of mid-division. 23rd & last at 7th (Foinavon). 16th WJ. Had just been left 7th (of 10) when fell BB 2C.
79 R Zongalero 10 10-13 N. Henderson S. Smith Eccles 11/1 20TH Away well & prominent. Even more so from 4th until BB 1C where hampered, 7th next (Foinavon). Recovered to be 5th at 11th and 3rd at 13th, same position WJ. 4th at 17th, 5th at 18th. Bad mistake & clambered over 19th. Lost ground rapidly and refused 20th.
77 U Prince Rock 12 11-00 P. Bailey T. Carmody 12/1 19TH (OD) Away well but soon settled in fore of mid-division. 10th at 7th (Foinavon). Same position 12th. Began to improve, 8th next, 4th WJ and 3rd by 17th. Fading but still chasing leaders when tried to refuse & succeeded only in UR 19th.
  R Kininvie 11 11-00 B. Forsey J. Williams 100/1 19TH (OD) Fore of mid-division 1st. Soon prominent, 4th at Foinavon & CT 1C. 3rd at 12th. Continued progress to be 2nd at Chair & WJ. Weakening early 2C when hampered by Prince Rock and caused to refuse 19th, losing rider in the process.
76 77 79 B Sandwilan 12 10-00 G. Ham J. Hembrow 100/1 19TH (OD) Prominent. Jumped well. 5th at 7th (Foinavon), 3rd at 10th, 4th at 12th & 14th. Had dropped to 10th WJ. A little further back when knocked into ditch from behind at 19th.
78 79 F Drumroan 12 10-05 P. St John Nolan T. McGivern 22/1 19TH (OD) Away well but soon raced in mid-division.14th at 7th (Foinavon), 15th WJ. Similar position when fell 19th.
  F Casamayor 10 10-12 P. Bailey J. King 50/1 19TH (OD) Mid-division, 12th at 7th (Foinavon). Chased leaders until mistake VB 1C. Had dropped towards rear in 19th by WJ. Similar position when fell 19th.
  P Levanka 11 10-04 F. Flood F. Berry 100/1 19TH (OD) Away well & very prominent. Left in dispute of 2nd BB 1C, 3rd next (Foinavon) & CT 1C. Had dropped to 6th by 12th, and to a mid-division 11th WJ having been slightly hampered at the Chair. Lost further ground early 2C and well towards rear when PU before 19th.
79 P Godfrey Secundus 10 10-00 F. Rimell S. Morshead 20/1 19TH (OD) Fore of mid-division. Jumped well. 8th at 7th (Foinavon), 7th at 12th. Increasingly outpaced, slightly hampered Chair and 17th WJ. Becoming tailed off when PU 19th.
  R Even Up 13 10-06 D. Oughton A. Webber 50/1 18TH Always towards rear. 20th at 7th (Foinavon). Hampered (by The Vintner) & bad mistake Chair. Well behind when refused 18th.
  P The Vintner 9 10-08 M. Naughton B. Davies 16/1 AFT 16TH (WJ) Prominent at 2nd but soon dropped to fore of mid-division, 11th at 7th (Foinavon). Rallied to be 5th at 12th. Blundered Chair and last but one next (WJ). PU after jumping said obstacle much to trainer's displeasure.
79 F Rubstic 11 10-11 J. Leadbetter M. Barnes 8/1F 15TH (CHAIR) Away well & very prominent. Left in dispute of 2nd BB 1C. Outright 2nd from next (Foinavon) through 14th. Contesting 3rd when reached for & landed on top of Chair, catapulting jockey from saddle and falling.
  F So And So 11 10-10 N. Gaselee R. Linley 28/1 6TH (BB) Fore of mid-division 1st but soon improved and disputing 2nd when fell heavily BB 1C.
  F Another Dolly 10 10-10 F. Rimell JJ. O'Neill 12/1 6TH (BB) Rear of mid-division until fell BB 1C.
78 79 U Coolishall 11 10-10 B. Munro-Wilson B. Munro-Wilson 40/1 3RD (OD) Away well, 2nd at 1st. Still very prominent when stirrup iron broke and rider fell off just after 3rd.
  R Jer 9 10-04 P. Bevan P. Tuck 10/1 3RD (OD) Away well & chased leaders until refused 3rd, sending jockey over fence.
76 77 78  79 F Churchtown Boy 13 10-00 T. Salaman A. Turnell 50/1 3RD (OD) Towards rear until fell 3rd (possibly hampered).
  U Mannyboy 10 10-02 J. Gifford R. Rowe 33/1 1ST Mid-division, mistake & eventually UR 1st.
  F Salkeld 8 10-00 Cpt N. Crump C. Hawkins 20/1 1ST Mid-division, fell 1st.



Gaps were left in the rails to entice loose horses to go around the Chair following the previous year's melee at the fence, however, the very Heavy going (after an overnight downpour) was never likely to produce many finishers. The ground was not quite as desperate as in 1955 but was a shade worse than in 1972, when Captain Tim Forster had last won the National with Well To Do, and it did not pay to be prominent early on in yet another bottom-heavy handicap, top weight (former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Royal Frolic) carried 11st 4lbs. The self-depreciating Forster may only have been half joking when he advised American amateur Charlie Fenwick, son-in-law of Ben Nevis's owner, to "keep remounting"! The small and light chestnut horse had won two Maryland Hunt Cups but was naught from twelve in Britain and thought to detest Soft and Heavy, but he adapted best to the conditions as Fenwick became the second (1965) American rider to taste victory in the Grand National and the partnership did so in impressive style. Ironically, the Chair, which had done for Ben Nevis in 1979, was this year the downfall of last year's winner Rubstic.

Strictly at the weights in the 1980 Grand National Ben Nevis emerged 21 (pounds/lengths) ahead of Rough And Tumble and 38 better than The Pilgarlic, placed yet again he was that fatal combination at this level of a dour stayer who preferred quickish going. Still, that preference could be applied to all the first three and Rough And Tumble beat The Pilgarlic by exactly the same amount as in 1979. With that pair again receiving ratings of -54 and -71 respectively it is, awarding Ben Nevis 6 for his ease of victory, not difficult to rate him at -27. It was an extraordinary performance by a class horse and one quite a bit better than the previous two winners had achieved in their triumphs. Comparing Heavy ground times is virtually impossible but it should be noted that Ben Nevis's rating is close to those of Shaun Spadah (-26) on Heavy in 1921, Caughoo (-21, Heavy, 1947), Quare Times (-32, Heavy, 1955) and Mr What (-21, Heavy, 1958) who all also won easily on the day.











Copyright 2017 by Chris Dowling