The first ever Grand National

February 26, 1839
This event, of which so much has been said and written, and which has created so great a sensation in all the sporting circles, came off this day in the presence of the greatest concourse ever seen at Aintree. The course, long before the hour appointed for the race, was thronged, and the Grand Stand full to an overflow; in fact, many hundreds were turned away.

In this and in the Steward’s stand we observed many titled and distinguished visitors; amongst them were Prince Troutmansdorf, Prince Lichtenstein, Lord Sefton, Lord W. Bereford, Lord Chesterfield, Lord Howth, Count Batthyany, Lord Alford, Lord Douglas, Sir F. Johnstone, Sir. D. Baird, the Hon. Col. Anson, the Hon. Major Baring, the Hon. G. Mostyn, the Hon. Charles Forrester, Mr. A. Graham, Mr. Russell, Mr. Massey Stanley, Mr. J. Stanley, Mr. Swan, Mr. Calvert, Mr. Peel, Mr. Harpur, Mr. E.G. Hornby, Mr. Clowes, Mr. Sandys, Col. Copeland, Captain White, Captain Dyson, Captain Lamb, Captain Willan, Captain Child, &c. Fortunately for the sport the weather was beautiful.

The line of country run over commenced in a field on the Liverpool side of the lane, which runs parallel with the course, the first flag being nearly opposite the distant post; it continued in a straight direction for three or four fields into a large enclosure, the first part of which was grass, and the rest ploughed; crossing a ditch, which was made severe by a put-up timber fence on the taking-off side, it proceeded with a bend to the left over here or four grass fields, to another piece of fallow, the jump out of which was similar to the one just described. It then turned short to the left, proceeding in a direct line across the lane into the race-course, at the lower end, the last fence but one before the lane being a formidable ditch with a timber on the other side. It now entered the training course, across which a stone wall, four feet eight inches high, was erected, exactly opposite the Grand Stand. It then took a sweep to the right, crossed the land at the upper part of the course, and re-entered the original line at the second field. There was no other change till it again reached the bottom of the course, when, instead of going up the training ground, it proceeded up the last half-mile of the race-course, with a hurdle across it, and finished at the judge’s chair. The distance was rather more than five miles, and the fences nearly 30 in number, all light except those pointed out.

The following are the conditions and results of the race: –
A Sweepstake of 20 sovs each, 5ft, with 100 added, for horses of all denominations; 12st each. Gentlemen riders; over a line of country within 15 miles of the town of Liverpool; the second horse to save his stake. No rider to open a gate, or to rie through a gateway, or more than 100 yards along any road, footpath, or driftway. The winner to pay 10 sovs for expenses, &c. (55 subscribers.)

(1) Mr. Elmore’s “Lottery” (Mr. J. Mason);
(2) Sir E. Mostyn’s “Seventy Four” (Mr. Oliver);
(3) Lord Chesterfield nd “Paulina” (Martin);
(4) Mr. Stephenson’s “True Blue” (Mr. Barker).

The following also started: – Mr. T. Chawnor named “Daxon” (Mr. Ferguson); Lord Macdonald’s “The Nun” (Mr. A.M. McDonough); Captain Lamb’s “Jack” (Mr. Wadlow); Mr. A.G. Bowen named “Rambler” (Morgan); Mr. G. O’Moore named “Barkston” (Byrne); Mr. Marshall’s “Railroad” (Mr. Powell); Captain Childe’s “Conrad” (Captain Becher); Sir D. Baird’s “Pioneer” (Mr. T. Walker); Mr. J.H. Leeches named “Charity” (Hardy); Mr. Kent named “Rust” (Mr. W. McDonough); Mr. Oswell named “Dictator” (Carlin); Mr. Robertson’s “Cramp” (Wilmot); Mr. Haddy named “Cannon-ball” (Mr. Newcombe).

Betting. – 5 to 1 against “Lottery”; 6 to 1 against “The Nun”; 7 to 1 against “Rust”; 8 to 1 against “Daxon”; 9 to 1 against “Railroad”; 12 to 1 against “Cannon-ball”; 12 to 1 against “Seventy Four”, and 20 to 1 against “True Blue”.

About a quarter-past three o’clock the start took place, Daxon going strong away with a strong lead, followed by The Nun, Seventy Four, Lottery, Charity, Railroad, True Blue, and several others, Conrad taking his course more to the left, and nearly abreast of Daxon. At the first ditch Conrad frightened by the crowd, refused and threw Becher, and Cannon Ball fell. Daxon got “through” it, The Nun taking it next, with the others mentioned above as lying with them. At the next ditch Barkston fell, at the third Daxon “followed suit,”, and in attempting to get up knocked down The Nun. Charity now too the lead, followed by Lottery, Railroad, Jack, Seventy Four, and kept it to the stone-wall, which he refused. Railroad took it, followed by Lottery, The Nun, True Blue and Jack, and kept in front for two fields next beyond the lane; Lottery now made the running, clearing his fences in beautiful style; on reaching the race-course Seventy Four was lying second, and behind him Railroad, Pioneer, Paulina, True Blue, Jack, and one or two others; Lottery took the last jump splendidly, and won cleverly by two or three lengths, Seventy Four second, Paulina third, and True Blue fourth. Next to them were Pioneer (who fell at the last jump), Jack, The Nun, Rambler, and Railroad, the others “nowhere.” Dictator fell at the second ditch in the last round, broke his back, and died in a few minutes. Rust was baulked by the crowd at the lane the first time round, and thereby lost all chance.
(Source: London Standard: February 28, 1839)

Lottery, Coloured Aquatint, Engraved by Artist Charles Hunt, published by J Moore April 22nd 1839, corner of West Street, Upper St Martins Lane, London. First winner of the Grand National Steeplechase at Liverpool 1839.

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