The Grand National
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Grand National History 1929 - 1920

Aintree Grand National 1929

The 1929 Grand National was won by "Gregalach" and marked two consecutive years of horses with 100-1 odds winning the National. The sixty-six runners that began the race played their part in helping such a huge outsider win the race as the chaos, which ensued, left only ten horses to complete the course. The sixty-six starters in the largest number ever to race a Grand National and should never be surpassed as only forty horses are now allowed to race, a rule which has been in place for some time.

Robert Everett rode "Gregalach" and neither horse nor jockey would finish in the top four again. "Easter Hero" who has caused much trouble the year before finished second this time after starting the race as 9-12 favourite followed by "Richmond II" and "Melleray's Belle" in third and fourth. "Melleray's Belle" began the race at 200-1 and was the first horse with odds as wide as this to finish in the top four since "Magpie" who was also a 200-1 bet back in 1886.

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Aintree Grand National 1928

Only two horses completed the 1928 Grand National, marking the first time less than three horses made it past the winning post and the only time in Grand National history, that two or less horses went the distance. The main reason only "Tipperary Tim" and "Billy Barton" were left standing at the end was because of a horse called "Easter Hero".

"Easter Hero" had the misfortune of falling at the Canal Turn causing a massive pile up which left only seven horses standing. This reduced to only three horses left, once the penultimate fence was reached with "Great Span" looking most likely to win. This all changed when "Great Span's" saddle slipped leaving only two horses left as "Billy Barton" raced ahead of "Tipperary Tim" only to fall leaving "Tipperary Tim" who began at 100-1 clear to complete the race as the only horse which wasn't remounted to go the distance. "Billy Barton" was remounted and followed through in second place as the last horse to complete the course.

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Aintree Grand National 1927

After finishing fourth in both 1925 and 1926 "Sprig" was installed as the favourite to win the 1927 Grand National as thirty-seven horses lined up to compete again marking a new record for the number of horses to race in one National. "Sprig" with returning jockey Ted Leader were favourites for the second year in a row beating out all the other horses as 100-1 bet "Bovril III" finished as runner up.

Jack Anthony again performed well finishing third on "Bright's Boy" with "Drinmond" in fourth in a year that saw the introduction of Radio to the race as BBC broadcasted the race to it's largest ever audience who all heard "Sprig" come through in first. The winning horse was originally bred by Captain Richard Pennington who had intended to one-day ride the horse in the Grand National, but unfortunately met his death shortly before the war ended.

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Aintree Grand National 1926

The 1926 Grand National was won by a horse called "Jack Horner" who was ridden by William Watkinson, the same William Watkinson who had finished fourth in 1922 on "Drifter". The pair began the race as 25-1 outsiders as both Jack Anthony riding "Old Tay Bridge" and favourite Ted Leader riding "Sprig" expected to finish better. It was then nothing strange when "Old Tay Bridge" finished second with "Sprig" in fourth place matching the finish from a year earlier. Ted Leader and "Sprig" did however start with much better odds at 5-1 than they had the previous year when the pair began at 33-1.

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Aintree Grand National 1925

Ridden my Major J P Wilson, "Double Chance" won the 1925 Grand National ahead of 9-1 favourite "Old Tay Bridge" and jockey Jack Anthony who was attempting to win his fourth National and would never come closer than on this horse which he returned with yet again the following year. Even though Jack Anthony was the favourite in 1925 he had began earlier Grand Nationals with better odds and not been expected to perform quite so well as each of his three victories saw another pairing with lower odds. "Fly Mask" finished in the top four again followed in fourth by "Sprig" who would perform very well over the next few years as ten horses completed the course from thirty-three.

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Aintree Grand National 1924

25-1 Outsider "Master Robert" shocked many by winning the Grand National in 1924, which again fielded thirty starters or more and was the third time in fours years that at least thirty horses raced. The horse and jockey Robert Trudgill would not manage to repeat the feat either together or individually, but it was a repeat victory for trainer Aubrey Hastings who had also trainer the 1915 winner "Ally Sloper".

The horse known as "Drifter" made his second appearance in the top four two years after finishing second, this time finishing fourth with "Fly Mask" and "Silvo" in second and third with the pair both starting at 100-7. "Fly Mask" would also finish in the top four for a second time the following year, dropping a place but performing very well regardless.

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Aintree Grand National 1923

Moving up from fourth in 1922 was "Sergeant Murphy" who would win the 1923 Grand National ahead of the winning jockey from two years earlier. A different jockey rode "Sergeant Murphy" to the previous years jockey as Captain Geoffrey Bennet led the horse to victory ahead of "Shaun Spadah", "The Conjurer II" and "Punt Gun" who would finish the race in that order. Twenty-eight horses raced in the 1923 Grand National, which would not see under thirty participate until 1935 when six would finish from twenty-seven.

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Aintree Grand National 1922

Another Rees won the Grand National in 1922 as Lewis Rees riding "Music Hall" came through in first with identical odds to the 1921 winner Fred Rees at 100-9. The 1922 race started with thirty-two runners marking the largest amount to race a National over any two-year period to this point. "Sergeant Murphy" finished in the top four again in 1922 following a fourth place in 1920. The only other horse to finish so high, which would make an appearance in this group, again was runner up "Drifter" ridden by Mr. W Watkinson.

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Aintree Grand National 1921

The 1921 Grand National was won by "Shaun Spadah" ridden by Fred Rees from "The Bore" in second who was again partnered by Mr. H A Brown and matched their position from a year earlier. Three of the first four to finish had to be remounted with only the winning jockey staying on throughout the race as only five of the thirty-five starters completed the race. The 35 runners was the largest amount to begin a Grand National since it started in 1836 and would be beaten when 37 horses took part six years later.

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Aintree Grand National 1920

"Troytown" won the 1920 Grand National after starting the race at 6-1, it was however not the horse that was so highly favoured, but the jockey riding him which saw the two starting with such low odds. The jockey Mr. Jack Anthony won his third Grand National following victories in 1911 on "Glendside" and victory at the last National held at Aintree before it moved south during the war, that year, he was riding "Ally Sloper".

Jack Anthony became the sixth jockey to win at least three Grand Nationals with only Brian Fletcher who would ride "Red Alligator" to victory in 1968 and "Red Rum" over half a century later to two victories to join that group. The race was only completed by five horses with "The Turk II" in second followed by "The Bore" and "Sergeant Murphy" in third and fourth respectively.

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