Welcome to a new post in my Horse Racing History series! Today’s is another interesting story which I felt I needed to share!
The 1928 Grand National was the 87th renewal that took place at Aintree Racecourse on the 30th of March and to this day, it still holds a record, can you guess what record that is? Let’s get straight into it!
On March 30th 1928 it was very misty in Liverpool and the going for the Grand National was heavy, being unofficially described as ‘very heavy’. With 42 horses declared to run, it started off a very normal race. That was until the field approached the Canal Turn of the first circuit.
At the Canal Turn, Easter Hero took a fall which then ended up causing a pile up of fallers including the starting price favourite Master Billie who went off at 5/1. Out of the 42 starting horses, only seven emerged from that pile up with their jockeys still seated.
The race continued with the seven remaining contenders, however when coming to the penultimate fence, there were only three horses left standing, Great Span who was 33/1 and currently leading ahead of Billy Barton who was also a 33/1 shot and closely followed by Tipperary Tim who had a starting price of 100/1.
Great Span’s saddle then slipped, which left Billy Barton in the lead who also ended up falling. Which left 100/1 shot Tipperary Tim as the last remaining horse. With baited breath, he did manage to jump the final fence safely and complete the course. The only horse to finish the race. Interestingly though, Billy Barton’s jockey Tommy Cullinan managed to remount and eventually complete the race. So the finishing order was Tipperary Tim at 100/1 winning for amateur jockey Mr William Dutton, trainer Joseph Dodd and owner Harold Kenyon. With Billy Barton eventually finishing the race in second place at 33/1 for jockey Tommy Cullinan. Due to the excessive distance between the two horses, the winning distance was officially declared as ‘a distance’.
With only two horses completing the course, to this day the 1928 Grand National set the record and holds the record for the fewest finishers in a Grand National.
Ironically, before the race Tipperary Tim’s amateur jockey Mr William Dutton’s friend had told him “Billy boy, you’ll only win if all the others fall” – Little did they know that this would be the eventual outcome only a few minutes later.
So there we have it, a record breaking Grand National that still stands to this day and in my opinion will probably never be broken. With jockeys continuously improving, horses continuously improving and the safety of both jockeys and horses improving within the sport, I don’t feel like we will ever have another occasion where there is a mass pile-up or so many horses not completing the course – touch wood.
I feel as though most of my history series are short posts, but I love sharing them as I find them interesting even when there isn’t a lot to write other than the facts. Thank you for reading and I shall see you all in my next post!