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THE GRAND NATIONAL

SIXTY-SIX RUNNERS

United Press Association—By Electric Telegraph—Copyright. (Received 23rd March, 9.30 a.m.) LONDON, 22nd March. The following is the result of the

GRAND- NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE, a sweepstakes of 100 soys, with 5000 soys added; four miles and 556 yards. Mrs. M. A. Gommell's cli -g Grogalach, by My Prince—St. Germaine, 7yrs, 11.4 .. 1 J. 11. Whitney's ell g Easter Hero, by My Prince—Easter Week, 9yrs, 12.7 .. 4 .. 2 11. M'Alpine's Richmond, 6yrs, 10.6 3

There were sixty-six runners. Won by six lengths, with Richmond a bad third.

The going was unusually good. Every horse cleared the first fence, but ten fell at the third. There were about twenty-two standing up* the first time round. Seven passed the judge, but throe others also completed the course. One horso. broke his neck, and there were several bad spills, but the jockeys were not seriously hurt. . At the fourth fence Easter Hero was out alone, with Sandy Hook and Richmond following. Easter Hero continued to jump magnificently, and led until the canal turn the second time ' round, where he jumped alongside of Richmond. Sandy Hook then was third, but fell 'at the next fence. Easter. Hero drew away, but Gregalach was prominent, coming strongly, and jumping extraordinarily well, with apparently a good chance of winning. Easter Hero entered the straight first, and led at the penultimate fence. Gregalach, full of running, challenged Easter Hero, and cleared the final jump well ahead. .

Mrs. M. A.'Gcmmell, owner of Gregalach, completes the remarkable coincidence of women winning both the Lincolnshire Handicap and the Grand National Steeplechase.

There is little need to stress the unique feature of this race that no fewer than 66 'horses went to the post, nearly twice., as many as ever have started before. The scramble at the first two or three fences can be well, imagined, even though they are very wide, and the horses race straight at them for the best part .of five furlongs. Gregalachj 'the winner, comes from the 1 Newmarket stable of T. Leader, a man who has done exceptionally well with 'chasers of late years, and won the National ■' with Sprig two years ago, trained, and ridden by himself. When the last mail left England Sprig was under a cloud, but.as Leader had Bright's Boy, Gregalach, Mount Etna, and Sandy Hook in the race, he had his share of candidates. The London newspapers available do not appear to have taken much notice of Gregalach, but discussed in the main Bright's Boy as the best of Loader's lot. This, of course," was six weeks ago, and muoh might have happened in the interim. Gregalach is no newcomer to Aintree, for two years ago he won the Stanley Chase on the first day of the National Meeting from, a big field. He was then trained by T. Coulthwaite. He was a particularly-useful horse, too, for in nine, starts he won four and was once second and onco third. A lady owner has oneo again won the cross-country blue-rib-bon of the world from a field of huge dimensions. In order to' keep ,tlie race to a reasonable sizej the sweepstake was increased to 100 soys a year or so ago, but this obviously has proved inefficacious, and some' other means will have to be adopted. Incidentally, the prize this year would bo about £13*000. ■When one considers the vast amount of comment each year after the race, relative to the gruelling nature of the contest, the huge field is all the more surprising.

Easter Hero, who carried the maximum weight into second place, is trained by the ex-steepleohase jockey, Jack Anthony, for the American,-Mr. J. H. Whitney. Easter Hero has proved himself a brilliant horse over both fences and hurdles, but though he has been carrying all before him over the smaller obstacles during the present winter, we still regard the son of My Prince as first and foremost a "lepper," says "Sporting Life." But he is not bo much in favour at the moment as a "National" horse" as his' stable-com-panion, Maguelonne. That he oan clear tho Liverpool fences was' demonstrated in his younger days, but when hs set out last March in quest of the big prize all he succeeded in doing was to put a largo proportion of the.field, including himself, out of action. One would not suggest that on that account he has barred himself from any further consideration for the National. It might be unsafe to assume that he is disposed to make a habit of landing oil the top of a fence instead of getting over at in the orthodox way, and perhaps the purposes of the case would be served by the administering of a caution! Whether a course of hurdling is apt, to prove beneficial to an animal with Grand National asp?rationß is open to question, though it might conceivably have the effect of putting.an edge on his speed, and at the same time-re-storing whatever confidence. he might have lost. Easter Hero has only a couple of pounds more to shoulder this year than last, when.he was one of the leading market orders, and his task is therefore little more severe on the present, occasion. . . „

With regard to Bichmond, :the third horse, a six-year-old^ and therefore a mere juvenile for Aintree, nothing can be found in the available records.

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THE GRAND NATIONAL Evening Post, Volume CVII, Issue 68, 23 March 1929

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