The Grand National
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Grand National History 1849 - 1840

Aintree Grand National 1849

"Peter Simple" won his first of two Grand National titles in 1849, 5 years after he'd been installed as 3-1 favourite. His odds weren't so short this time around at 20-1 but anyone who backed him, would have been very happy they didn't lose faith for the 11 year old. Ridden and trained by Tom Cunningham who would have been pleased the forecasted snow held off allowing the 24 runners to compete with him leading the way.

"The Curate" ridden to second place last year fell first at the second fence requiring the vet to end his misery on a day that turned out to be full of early casualties.

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Aintree Grand National 1848

With a field of 29 starters and Tom Olliver installed as 6-1 favourite the 1848 Grand National was firmly established on the sporting calendar. Although Olliver was again riding a different horse "The Curate", his huge fan base seemed intent on backing him, no matter which horse he rode. It wasn't much of a surprise then when he finished in second place to 12-1 bet "Chandler" making his debut in the National.

Tom Eskerit at his stables in Littleworth in Hednesford prepared "Chandler" for the 1848 Grand National. The horse had been given his name after he'd pulled a Chandlers cart at one time and the Captain as he was known, Joseph Little was both Jockey and Co Owner along with William Peel who was on "Mr. O'Higgin's Pioneer" in a race that saw 50-1 bet "British Yeoman" finish third.

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Aintree Grand National 1847

In 1847 the big race at Aintree was finally given the title of "The Grand National Handicap Steeplechase" after the name had previously been used to describe the event but not officially. The race saw 28 runners participate, again a new record and almost double the amount from two years earlier, with Ireland also sending over the very popular "Mathew" causing a bit of controversy at the time. In the end that didn't seem to matter as "Mathew" won the race after also starting as favourite.

The race again saw Tom Olliver play a large part as he moved into the lead at the final hurdle while riding "St Leger" into first place, but the horse was tiring and "Mathew" had the energy to pass "Jerry", then catch up "Mathew" beating them in a hard fought close race by one length.

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Aintree Grand National 1846

10 Years after the first Grand National the events popularity for the racers perspective was never better. With 22 runners lining up at the start, the most seen at the time and the first year over 20 competed on the big day at Aintree. 1846 was the last year the event didn't carry the name the Grand National, but with an original 25 runners planned to compete the event certainly started seeming more like the event it's become today.

What isn't common today however is the youthful age of the winning horse, "Pioneer" a six year-old riding in his first Grand National won as a huge 30-1 outsider while running on the largest field to date after the course was wrongly marked out increasing it in size to almost five miles, changing the fate of the winner to "Pioneer" the energetic youngster.

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Aintree Grand National 1845

1845's Grand National was won by three debutants with William George Loft riding "Cure All" trained by Chris "Kitty" Crisp to victory as "Cure All" became the first horse to complete the course in under 11 minutes. The incredible speed achieved at the same may have been aided by the weather, there was a sharp overnight frost after an evening of heavy rain which left the ground at Aintree rock hard, following several complaints over whether the race should be run though it indeed went forward as planned a little later at 5pm with the 15-1 outsider beating out all the competition to victory.

"Vanguard" made a return after his 1843 victory with Tom Olliver again riding the horse that lead him to victory two years earlier, but the 4-1 favourite left the race when he pulled him up as the approached Becher's Brook for the second time.

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Aintree Grand National 1844

For the third year in a row a horse making his debut won the Grand National. "Discount" the 5-1 favourite ridden by John Crickmere beating out 15 other runners and the winner of both the 1842 and 1843 Grand National Tom Olliver riding on "Wiverton". Winning horse "Discount" had actually been called "Magnum Bonum" but in a strange deal when he was sold to Mr. Quartermaine, he acquired the new name. Mr. Quartermaine then quickly sold "Discount" after the victory while the horse's value was at its peak.

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Aintree Grand National 1843

Another year another win for a horse running for it's first time in the Grand National, "Vanguard" ridden by Tom Olliver who certainly was proving very good at leading horses to victory in their first National in a year that saw the race become a handicap for the first time with the event retaining it's handicap rule ever since. 1843 also saw the introduction of proper race cards for the spectators, cards, which listed all the runners complete with their colours.

Last years third placed horse "Peter Simple" started as a 3-1 favourite ridden by John Frisby, but he was beaten to the post by seven other racers all battling for the £535 jackpot and a place in history. Olliver and "Vanguard" won by three lengths from "Nimrod" after they had done well to come back after almost being carried out at the start of the second circuit.

"Vanguard" did return to participate in 1845 and was listed as being owned by Tom Olliver, who, it was believed, had been given the horse as a gift. The hide of the horse was also actually made into a sofa, which is now owned by Aintree.

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Aintree Grand National 1842

7-1 Fourth favourite "Gaylad" ridden by Tom Olliver in the horses first Grand National which again saw little interest from runners who took place a year before when only one of the first four home "Peter Simple" under new ownership returned to compete again. The winner "Gaylad" was owned by John Elmore, who had also owned "Lottery" when he won the 1839 Grand National along with trainer George Dockeray who won for an impressive the third time in 1842 after also training "Lottery" three years ago and "Jerry" when he rode to victory in 1840. Tom Olliver finally won in his fourth Grand National and went on to become was of the most famous riders in race history.

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Aintree Grand National 1841

With none of the first four finishers returning in 1841 another outsider "Charity" at 14-1 reached the winning post first in a hard fought race just pulling away from "Cigar" to win by one length, becoming the first mare to win the Grand National. "Charity" completed the race in 13 minutes and 25 seconds, which by today's standards is very slow indeed, but owner Lord William Craven wouldn't have minded at all considering the only time "Charity" raced in the Grand National before 1841, he refused to jump a fence late on.

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Aintree Grand National 1840

The horse which made the last 18 runners in 1839 but dropped out just before the race, managed to win as a 12-1 outsider in his Grand National debut in 1840. "Jerry" ridden by Bartholomew Bretherton ended up with a seemingly easy victory from what had been a hard fought race. The 1840 Grand National however is far more famous because of the events surrounding another horse "Valentine". Irish amateur Alan Power was so confident in his horse that he bet they would be ahead at the wall, well they set off at a fantastic pace and were ahead approaching the "Valentine" second brook before the horse reared up violently and corkscrewing over in a style which drew everyone's attention and still reaching the other side. The event must have been an amazing display as the brook has been known as "Valentine's Brook" ever since.

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