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Chronicle of The Grand National

1836 The Liverpool Great Steeplechase, the race that would later become known as the Grand National Handicap Steeplechase, is founded at Aintree by Mr William Lynn.

The inaugural race proves somewhat controversial when the Melling Road Gate is unexpectedly closed as the runners approach the finish. The favourite Laurie Todd is taken completely by surprise by this and is deprived of almost certain victory in the race when unseating his bewildered rider, Mr H N Powell. The Duke, ridden by Capt. Martin Becher, manages to avoid the melee and safely negotiates the unexpected obstacle to emerge as the race’s first ever winner.

1837 The Duke wins in a canter by a dozen lengths to become the first horse to win the race on consecutive occasions.
1838 Mr Alan McDonogh becomes the first Irish jockey to win the race when victorious on Sir William, the first Irish-trained winner.
1839 The aptly named Lottery, arguably the greatest chaser of the 19th century, makes virtually all to win in a canter from arch-rival Seventy Four. Aintree’s best-known obstacle is christened when Conrad falls at the first big Brook shooting his unsuspecting rider Captain Martin Becher into it’s stream.
1840 Irish chaser Valentine, 3rd behind easy winner Jerry, gains Turf immortality when Aintree’s second big Brook is named after him.
1843 Aintree’s clerk of the course Mr Edward Topham transforms the race into a handicap event and renames it the Liverpool and National Handicap Steeplechase. Lottery, making his fifth consecutive appearance in the race, finishes a creditable 7th, under 12st 6lbs, behind Vangaurd. For the record, Lottery, ridden throughout his career by the great Jem Mason, also fell in 1840 and was pulled-up in both 1841 and 1842.
1847 Mr Edward Topham gives the race its revered title of the Grand National Handicap Steeplechase. Matthew becomes the first Irish-trained National winner.
1851 Abd-el-Kader becomes the second horse to win the race in consecutive years.
1853 1849 winner Peter Simple becomes first horse ever to regain Aintree’s coveted crown.
1854 Well-backed favourite Miss Mowbray (1st 1852 and 2nd 1853) is sensationally nobbled shortly before the start and is consequently withdrawn.
1855 Last year’s dope victim, Miss Mowbray, safely reaches the start, but is tragically destroyed when falling at the fence before Bechers.
1856 Jean du Quesne and Franc Piccard spearhead France’s first ever National challenge, but both fail to complete the course behind popular winner Freetrader.
1858 William Archer, father of legendary jockey Fred Archer, wins on 100/6 shot Little Charley at a snowbound Aintree track.
1860 The Rev. Edward Drake performs a miracle to finish 6th on rank outsider Bridegroom behind the well fancied mare Anatis.
1862 Public concern increases about course safety when James Wynne, son of National winning jockey Denny Wynne, is tragically killed when his mount O’Connell comes to grief at the notorious Chair fence, Aintree’s biggest obstacle. He is the only human fatality in Grand National history.

The race gains continental prestige when The Huntsman, 3rd in 1859 and 2nd in 1860, becomes the first French-trained National winner.

1865 Ex-flat horse Alcibiade trudges through heavy snow to amazingly win the National on his steeplechasing debut.
1866 The Grand National Steeplechase Committee – forerunner of the present day National Hunt Committee – is formed at Aintree under the auspice of Mr Edward Topham.
1868 The Lamb courageously outbattles Pearl Diver in a thrilling finish to become the first ever grey National winner.
1870 The Colonel beats The Doctor by a fast diminishing neck to become the third horse to win consecutive Nationals. Winning jockey George Stevens is gaining a record fifth victory in the race having previously won on Freetrader 1856, Emblem 1863, Emblematic 1864 and The Colonel 1869.
1871 Following a forced absence of two years, 1868 winner The Lamb regains Aintree’s coveted crown to become the fifth horse to win the great race twice. The Colonel, trying to achieve a third consecutive victory, finishes a respectable 6th carrying 12st 8lbs.
1872 The Lamb fails in a brave attempt to win his third National when finishing a respectable 4th to Casse Tette, to whom he was conceding 35lbs. Sadly, Lord Poulett’s ever popular grey is tragically destroyed when falling in Germany’s Grosser Prix Von Baden-Baden later that year.
1875 The aptly named Pathfinder carries a drunken Mr Thomas Pickernell to a sobering National win.
1879 The four Beasley brothers – Harry, William, Johnny and Tom – all ride in the race with Tom faring best when 3rd on Martha behind easy winner The Liberator.
1882 Despite breaking down badly over the last, Seaman, ridden by Lord Manners, heroically repels the late challenge of Tom Beasley on Cyrus to win by a head in blizzard conditions.
1883 The race is won by the popular Austrian diplomat Graf Charles Kinsky riding his own mare Zoedone.
1884 Voluptuary, unplaced in the 1881 Epsom Derby, wins the National on his steeplechasing debut. He later gains thespian stardom by jumping an on stage water jump in a long running play at London’s Drury Lane Theatre entitled, The Prodigal Daughter.
1885 Zoedone, strongly fancied to repeat her 1883 win, bravely lines up despite being poisoned on the way to the start. Temporarily blinded by the shocking experience, the drugged mare crashes out at the 5th fence.
1889 Justice is finally done when the Irish mare Frigate, runner-up in 1884, 1885 and 1886, finally wins the National on her sixth attempt.
1893 Cloister, runner-up in 1891 and 1892, makes all to win in a canter by forty lengths on his third and last National appearance.
1899 Legendary Victorian steeplechaser Manifesto becomes sixth horse to win the great race twice when following up his 1897 triumph. He also finished 3rd three times (1900, 1902 and 1903) and 4th once (1895) in a total of eight National appearances.
1900 Ambush II, owned by Edward Prince Of Wales, becomes the first (and so far only) horse ever to win the National carrying the royal colours.
1901 The race, run in a blizzard, is won by the heroic Grudon who survives the adverse weather conditions thanks to 2lbs of butter stuffed in his hooves by his trainer Bernard Bletsoe.
1903 HM King Edward VII’s Ambush, making his first National appearance since winning in 1900, is denied certain victory when falling at the last.
1904 New Zealand challenger Moifaa travels halfway round the world to win the National despite having been shipwrecked off the Irish coast en-route to Liverpool.
1905 Kirkland, runner-up to Moifaa in 1904, becomes the first (and so far only) Welsh-trained National winner.

The well-fancied Moifaa, now carrying the royal colours of HM King Edward VII, falls at Bechers (2nd time) and is consequently retired.

1908 66/1 outsider Rubio, who formerly pulled the hotel bus at Towcester, becomes the first American-bred National winner.
1909 Georges Parfrement, becomes the first (and so far only) French jockey to win the National when victorious on the former French-trained Lutteur III.
1910 Jenkinstown, trained by Tom Coulthwaite, wins the first National ever to be filmed.
1911 The one eyed gelding Glenside powers through driving rain to win a gruelling race from only three others finishers, all of whom were remounted having fallen.
1915 Lady Nelson becomes first woman to own the National winner when her beloved Ally Sloper gains a convincing win.
1916 The race is moved to Gatwick for remainder of World War I.
1917 The giant Limerock, ridden by a bitterly disappointed William Smith, mysteriously collapses on the run-in with the race seemingly won.
1919 The race returns to Aintree where Poethlyn, ridden by Lester Piggott’s grandfather Ernie Piggott, becomes the fourth horse to win in consecutive years.
1921 Only four horses complete the tough National course with all bar the winner Shaun Spadah having been remounted after falling.
1923 Mr Stephen Sanford’s 13-year-old gelding Sergeant Murphy, making his fifth big race appearance, becomes the first American-owned National winner.
1924 The race is won by a former plough horse called Master Robert on his first and only National appearance. Trainer Aubrey Hastings is gaining a record fourth victory in the race having previously won with Ascetic’s Silver 1906, Ally Sloper 1915 and Ballymacad 1917 (Race run at Gatwick).

Race is won by a former plough horse called Master Robert on his first and only National appearance. Trainer Aubrey Hastings is gaining a record fourth victory in the race having previously won with Ascetic’s Silver 1906, Ally Sloper 1915 and Ballymacad 1917 (Race run at Gatwick).

1925 Captain Anthony de Rothschild is as sick as a parrot when Double Chance wins the National for his new connections. Rothschild had previously owned the horse but had given him away to Fred Archer, nephew of legendary Fred, having considered him utterly useless.
1927 The Grand National becomes the first horserace in Turf history to be broadcast live on radio by the B.B.C..
1928 Easter Hero gets stuck on the infamous Canal Turn fence and brings down most of the field. Rank outsider Tipperary Tim 100/1, ridden by the Cheshire solicitor Mr Billy Dutton, avoids the carnage to land a surprise win from the American challenger Billy Barton, the only other finisher, who incidentally fell at the last and was remounted.
1929 In an attempt to improve safety measures the notorious ditch at the Canal Turn fence is filled in as the National see’s it’s biggest ever field with 66 runners.
1931 Entry is restricted to six-year-olds and upwards.
1934 The legendary Golden Miller becomes the first (and so far only) horse in Turf history to win both the National and Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same year.
1936 The race is presented on a plate to Reynoldstown, the fifth horse to win in consecutive years, when Davy Jones, ridden by the amateur Mr Anthony Mildmay, ducks out at the last fence when his jockey’s reins snap.
1937 Dual winner Reynoldstown is deprived of a possible third National victory when retired by his contented owner on eve of the race.
1938 Bruce Hobbs (17) wins on the diminutive Battleship (Height 15.2h) to become the youngest winning National jockey. The American-bred winner is owned by Mrs Marion DuPont-Scott, wife of Hollywood film star Randolph Scott.
1941 The race is temporarily suspended when the government turns Aintree into a military camp for the duration of World War II.
1946 A record 400,000 paying customers attend Aintree when the race resumes following the end of World War II.
1947 The Irish-trained Caughoo emerges from dense fog to land a shock win at 100/1. Cynics, who probably backed the favourite, wrongly claim that he only completed one circuit of the tough Aintree course.

Peter O’Sullevan makes his Grand National debut when commentating on the race for B.B.C. radio.

1948 Sheilas Cottage, owned by Grimsby fisherman John Procter, becomes the first mare to win the National in 46 years.
1949 Mr Arthur Topham and his wife Mirabel buy Aintree racecourse from Lord Sefton for a bargain £250,000.
1950 The royal colours are carried in the race for first time in 42 years when Monaveen, owned jointly by young Princess Elizabeth and her mother, finishes a respectable 5th behind Freebooter.
1951 12 of the 36 runners fall at the first fence and only three horses, headed by the mare Nickel Coin, eventually reach the National finish.
1952 Mr Arthur Topham and his wife Mirabel set up their own broadcasting team to provide the nation with a live radio commentary. It proves a complete disaster, but thankfully the B.B.C. are allowed to transmit a recording of the race only minutes after the finish.
1955 Quare Times emulates Early Mist 1953 and Royal Tan 1954 to give Irish trainer Vincent O’Brien his third National win in successive years.
1956 The Queen Mother’s Devon Loch, ridden by future novelist Dick Francis, mysteriously jumps thin air and does the splits on the run-in when well clear of eventual winner E.S.B.
1960 Clive Graham, Peter O’Sullevan and Peter Bromley call home Merryman II in the first ever National to be televised live by the B.B.C.
1961 The race takes on an international flavour when two challengers from Soviet Russia, Reljef and Griffel, take part but fail to finish behind Nicolaus Silver, the first grey winner for ninety years.
1962 Aintree specialist Wyndburgh, runner-up in 1957 and 1959, is once again the bridesmaid behind easy winner Kilmore.
1963 66/1 outsider Ayala, trained by Lester Piggott’s father Keith Piggott, beats Carrickbeg ridden by Mr John Lawrence (future Lord Oaksey) in a very close finish. The grey Owen’s Sedge, owned by Hollywood film star Gregory Peck, finishes a creditable 7th despite breaking down at the elbow.
1964 Team Spirit, ridden by Willie Robinson, wins the National on his fifth consecutive attempt. However, Robinson’s joy is short lived when he later hears that his friend Paddy Farrell (34) is left paralysed and confined to a wheelchair following the fall of Border Flight at The Chair.
1965 Mr Tommy Smith on Jay Trump becomes the first American to ride the National winner as the race is relayed live by B.B.C. to a world wide television audience for the very first time.
1966 Jockey Tim Norman survives a horrific car crash en-route to Aintree and proceeds to win the National on rank outsider Anglo at 50/1. Scotland’s luckless Freddie, runner-up in 1965, is once again second.
1967 Riderless Popham Down creates havoc at the 23rd fence and causes a huge pile-up which brings most of the runners to a standstill. The blinkered Foinavon, tailed off at the time, weaves his way through a stricken field to land a shock win at 100/1.
1968 A victim of the 1967 pile-up when strongly fancied, Different Class, owned by film star Gregory Peck, finishes a respectable third behind Red Alligator ridden by a young Brian Fletcher. American Tim Durant (68) is overjoyed when he becomes the oldest rider to complete the National course when remounting to finish 15th on the 100/1 shot Highlandie.
1971 Specify wins the National in the colours of holiday-camp king Mr Fred Pontin.
1973 Ex-Australian chaser Crisp (Richard Pitman) thrills a huge Aintree crowd with a brilliant display of bold front running and exhibition jumping, but just fails to concede 23lbs to Red Rum (Brian Fletcher). With hindsight, Crisp was faced with an impossible task. Winning owner, octogenarian Mr Noel Le Mare, dreamed of one day winning the race after watching Ambush II’s royal victory way back in 1900.

The Grand National’s future becomes uncertain when Mrs Mirabel Topham sells Aintree to Mr Bill Davies, a local property developer, for a reputed £3,000,000.

1974 Red Rum (Brian Fletcher) becomes the first horse in thirty eight years to win consecutive Nationals.

The Duke Of Alburquerque (56), who has been trying since 1952, finally achieves his life ambition of completing the tough National course when finishing 8th on his beloved Nereo.

1975 The blinkered L’Escargot (3rd in 1973 and 2nd in 1974) deprives Red Rum (Brian Fletcher) of their third consecutive victory.
1976 Ladbroke’s visionary chairman, Mr Cyril Stein, saves the historical race from almost certain extinction by leasing Aintree from owner Mr Bill Davies and initiating a successful sponsorship package with Britain’s biggest bookmaker.

Irishman Tommy Stack replaces a hugely disappointed Brian Fletcher on Aintree legend Red Rum, but the dynamic duo have to settle for 2nd behind Rag Trade. Winning trainer Fred Rimell gains an unprecedented fourth Aintree victory having previously triumphed with E.S.B. 1956, Nicolaus Silver 1961 and Gay Trip 1970.

1977 National history is made when Red Rum (Tommy Stack) wins the race for a record third time. Miss Charlotte Brew on 200/1 outsider Barony Fort (refused 27th) becomes first woman ever to ride in the Aintree spectacle.

Professional jockey Robert Kington replaces the evergreen Duke Of Alburquerque (59) on Nereo (Fell) when the Spanish aristocrat is refused a riding license on medical grounds.

1979 Scottish-trained Rubstic wins in grand style to end a 140 year hoodoo on entrants from north of the border. Tragedy strikes in the National when Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Alverton, trying to emulate the great Golden Miller, is destroyed having fallen at Bechers (2nd circuit).
1980 Sadness grips the Nation when Mrs Mirabel Topham, the undisputed Grand National Queen, dies aged 88.
1981 Emotional scenes flood Aintree when Bob Champion recovers from cancer to win the National on the once crippled Aldaniti.
1982 Mr Dick Saunders (48) wins on Grittar to become oldest winning National jockey.
1982 Mrs Geraldine Rees riding Cheers (8th) becomes the first woman ever to complete the tough National course.
1983 Jenny Pitman becomes the first woman to train a National winner when successful with the ever popular Corbiere.
1983 Following the huge success of the Save The Grand National Appeal, the Jockey Club purchase Aintree from Mr Bill Davies for a reputed £3,500,000 to safeguard the race’s long term future.
1984 For safety reasons the field is restricted to a maximum of 40 runners for all future Nationals. A record 23 of the 40 starters complete the course headed by the Hallo Dandy (Neale Doughty).
1987 The ever popular Mr Jim Joel (92) achieves his lifelong ambition of owning a National winner when Maori Venture wins by an easy 5 lengths from The Tsarevich. Winning jockey Steve Knight is later left his Aintree partner in Mr Joel’s will.
1988 The Aintree executive unveils a magnificent bronze statue, sculpted by the ex-jockey Philip Blacker, as a permanent memorial to National legend Red Rum.
1990 Traditionalists are greatly disappointed when Aintree officials cede to growing public opinion and modify the notorious Bechers Brook.
1990 Mr Frisk (Mr Marcus Armytage) wins in a record time of 8m 47.8s to beat the previous best set by Red Rum (Brian Fletcher) in 1973.
1993 The race is declared void following two false starts by starter Keith Brown. On the second occasion many of the field completes the full National course unaware that it is a no race. Esha Ness, ridden by a bitterly disappointed John White, is the winner of the National that never was. Plans to re-run the race later in year are finally scrapped and the shambles initiates a full scale enquiry to prevent such a debacle ever happening again.
1994 A worldwide television audience of 800 million tune in to see if last year’s fiasco is repeated. Following a few scary moments the race is eventually started and won by Miinnehoma, carrying the red and yellow colours of comedian Freddie Starr.

Britain goes into mourning when Red Rum, the undisputed King of Aintree, dies aged 30. Fittingly, his remains are buried in a specially marked grave opposite the Grand National winning post.

1997 The race is abandoned and 60,000 spectators evacuated when the I.R.A. warn that an explosive device is planted somewhere on the course. Racing authorities decide not to give in to terrorism and re-stage the race on the following Monday.

Peter O’Sullevan bodes an emotional farewell to the nation when he commentates on his 50th and last Grand National for the B.B.C.

Bob Champion openly weeps when hearing the news that his old friend Aldaniti has died aged 27. Fittingly, he is buried at his favourite spot in owner Mr Nick Embiricos’s paddock and a headstone erected in his memory.

1999 Bobbyjo (Paul Carberry) wins the National in grand style to give Ireland it’s first victory in the race since 1975.
2004 Donald McCain equals the Hon. Aubrey Hastings and Fred Rimell’s record feat of training 4 Grand National winners when successful with Amberleigh House.
2005 Mr Trevor Hemmings, one of National Hunt racing’s biggest supporters, achieves a lifelong dream when Hedgehunter (Ruby Walsh) carries his famous green, yellow and white colours to an easy victory in the race.
2009 The ever popular Venetia Williams becomes only the second woman to train a Grand National winner when Mon Mome runs out an easy winner at joint-record longest odds of 100/1.
2010 Tony McCoy, arguably National Hunt’s greatest ever jockey, finally breaks his National duck on Don’t Push It to win the National on his 15th attempt.
2011 The McCain family tradition continues in the National when Ballabriggs, trained by Donald McCain jnr, wins at 14/1.
2012 Neptune Collonges wins a thrilling race to become only the 3rd Grey to win the National and the first since Nicolaus Silver way back in 1961.

Tragedy Strikes in the National when Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised and the ever popular Northern chaser According To Pete are both destroyed after falling at 1st Bechers and 2nd Bechers respectively. Synchronised, attempting to become only the second horse in Turf history to win both the National and Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season, survives his initial fall but suffers a fatal injury when galloping loose down the Aintree course.

2013 Sue Smith becomes the 3rd woman in National history to train the winner when Auroras Encore, ridden by Ryan Mania, easily wins race by 9 lengths at odds of 66/1. Within 24 hours, Mania’s joy at winning National is severely dented when he suffers a horrific fall in a hurdle race at Hexham the following day and he is airlifted to Newcastle Royal Infirmary.
2013 Miss Katie Walsh, partnering 11/2 shot Seabass, becomes the first woman in National history to start the race on the outright favourite but can only finish 13th. The pair were also strongly fancied in 2012 but on that occasion they started joint favourites with Shakalakaboomboom at 8/1.
2013 The wooden frames at the centre of National fences are replaced with plastic fibre ones, the drops at landing sides of fences is reduced considerably and the start is moved forward by 90yds in attempts to make the course safer for horses and riders.