The Grand National & Aintree 1970-79

1978 - Lucius` year


Leading Fancies

With the last minute withdrawal and the subsequent announcement of the retirement of RED RUM those that did make the final line up were given very much second billing. Yet even without the nations favourite racehorse it still looked a very decent renewal of the worlds greatest steeplechase. Heading the eight strong challenge from Ireland was TIED COTTAGE, winner of the 1976 Sun Alliance Chase and second in the 1977 Gold Cup. He had been aimed all season at the National and had run well behind Master H in the Leisure Caravans Chase at Sandown . MASTER H the winner of  that race for the second year running was considered to be one of the most improved horses in training having won three other competitive chases. The 1976 winner RAG TRADE returned to the scene of his greatest triumph. Lightly raced since his victory and now with a different trainer he had missed most of the following season with injury but had won one of two prep races at the now defunct Teesside Park and started favourite. In the absence of Red Rum last years Topham Trophy winner and National runner up CHURCHTOWN BOY came in for considerable support despite the fact that he had shown no form whatsoever in his six races this season and he had even refused on his latest start. Of the newcomers SHIFTING GOLD had won twice at Sandown including the Mildmay Memorial, old favourite TAMALIN a winner three times this season and OTTER WAY a former top hunter chaser and surprise winner of the 1976 Whitbread Gold Cup all came in for support.

The Anoraks selection : CHURCHTOWN BOY

Each-way : MASTER UPHAM 

SUN GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE (68 entries) 4 1/2 miles, £29,148 to the winner, £10,076 to the second, £4,938 to the third & £2,369 to the fourth

 2  40111F SHIFTING GOLD  9, 11-6 K C BaileyR.Champion 
 3  402022 TIED COTTAGE  10, 11-4 D L Moore - IRE T.Carberry 
 4  110F31 RAG TRADE  12, 11-3 G B Fairburn J J ONeill 
 5  012211 MASTER H  9, 11-2 M E Oliver R.Crank 
 6  013331 TAMALIN  11, 11-12 G W Richards G.Thorner 
 7  404432 APRIL SEVENTH  12, 10-11 R.Turnell A.Turnell 
 8  100F31 OTTER WAY  10, 10-10 O J Carter J.King 
 9  F22122 LUCIUS  9, 10-9 G W Richards B R Davies 
10  403320 ROMAN BAR  9, 10-8 P.Taaffe - IRE P.Kiely 
11  004300 WAR BONNET  10, 10-8 A O`Connell - IRE D T Hughes 
13  232F11 SO  9, 10-4 E J O`Grady - IRE Mr N Madden 
14  240403 MICKLEY SEABRIGHT  10, 10-3 T F Rimell Mr P Brookshaw 
15  212400 GOLDEN WHIN  8, 10-4* S F Holland S.Holland 
16  311434 HIDDEN VALUE  10, 10-0 S G Norton T.Stack 
17  401040 BROWN ADMIRAL  9, 10-0 T F Rimell J.Burke 
18  41F211 COOLISHALL  9, 10-0 P D Cundell M.O`Halloran 
19  110220 MASTER UPHAM  10, 10-0 D R Gandolfo P.Barton 
20  22U320 IRISH TONY  10, 10-0 N.Crump D.Atkins 
22  042344 DOUBLE NEGATIVE  8, 10-0 T F Rimell C.Tinkler 
23  03F130 SEBASTIAN V  10, 10-1* C H Bell R.Lamb 
24  142430 DRUMROAN  10, 10-0 Mrs G Nolan - IRE G.Newman 
25  30000R CHURCHTOWN BOY  11, 10-0 M.Salaman M.Blackshaw 
27  101240 CORNISH PRINCESS   10, 10-1* W G Turner R.Hoare 
28  423210 LEAN FORWARD  12, 10-0 R C Armytage H J Evans 
29  334003 LORD BROWNDODD  10, 10-7* F T Winter J.Francome 
30  034402 NEREO  12, 10-0 F T Winter M.Floyd 
31  023300 THE PILGARLIC  10, 10-1* T F Rimell R R Evans 
32  00F003 HARBAN  9, 10-0 F.Flood - IRE J P Byrne 
34  F20F0P HENRY HALL  9, 10-0 F.Flood - IRE F.Berry 
36  103300 BURRATOR  9, 10-0 O O`Neill J.Suthern 
37  U214P3 DOUBLE BRIDLE  7, 10-1 F T Walwyn W.Smith 
38  111010 TEDDY BEAR II  11, 10-4* J A C Edwards P.Blacker 
39  1300U0 SILKSTONE  10, 10-0 S G NortonG.Graham 
40  400202 THE SONGWRITER  9, 10-0 Mrs J Pitman B.Smart 
41  000001 GLEAMING RAIN  10, 10-0 M.Neville - IRE S.Tracey 
42  2443U1 SADALE VI  11, 10-1* Capt J George C.Candy 

 Non Runners : 1 RED RUM (T.Stack), 12 FOREST KING (R.Barry)

S.P : 8-1 Rag Trade, 9-1 Tied Cottage, 10-1 Master H, 14-1 Churchtown Boy, LUCIUS & So, 16-1 Coolishall, Lord Browndodd, Otter Way & Shifting Gold, 20-1 April Seventh, 25-1 Gleaming Rain, Hidden Value, Master Upham, Sebastian V & Tamalin, 33-1 Brown Admiral, Double Negative, Irish Tony, Lean Forward, MIckley Seabright, Roman Bar & The Pilgarlic, 40-1 Nereo, 50-1 Double Bridle, Drumroan, Golden Whin, Never Rock, Teddy Bear II & The Songwriter, 66-1 Burrator, Cornish Princess, Harbam Henry Hall, Sadale VI & Silkstone 

Aintree debutants (22)

Coolishall, Cornish Princess*, Double Bridle*, Double Negative, Drumroan, Gleaming Rain*, Golden Whin*, Henry Hall*, Irish Tony*, Lean Forward, Lucius*, Master H* ,Master Upham*, MIckley Seabright*, Never Rock, Otter Way*, Sadale VI*, Shifting Gold*, Silkstone*, So, Tamalin*, Tied Cottage*

Winner at Aintree

Rag TradeGrand National (1976) 


1stLUCIUS Bob Davies 
2nd SEBASTIAN V Ridley Lamb 
3rd DRUMROAN Gerry Newman 
4th COOLISHALL Martin O`Halloran 
5th THE PILGARLIC Richard Evans 
7th LORD BROWNDODD John Francome 
8th THE SONGWRITER Brian Smart 
9th ROMAN BAR P.Kiely 
10th BROWN ADMIRAL John Burke 
11th GOLDEN WHIN S.Holland 
12th TAMALIN Graham Thorner 
13th LEAN FORWARD H J Evans 
14th NEREO Mark Floyd 
15th NEVER ROCK Kevin Mooney 

Time : 9 minutes 33.9 secs

Distances : 1/2-nk-2-hd-15-nk

Owned by Mrs D A Whitaker

Trained by Gordon W Richards at Greystoke in Cumbria 

The winner

For me Lucius is the forgotten National winner of the decade. At nine he still had more Nationals in him but like Well to Do before him he never returned to Aintree. That wasn`t the plan though as after a superb third place behind future Gold Cup winner Alverton in the Greenall Whitley Breweries Chase he was one of the favourites for the 1979 renewal but a last minute bout of coughing ruled him out. Thereafter he disappeared from the limelight although he continued running in small events until May 1981 when he finished unplaced in an amateur riders chase at Uttoxeter. He spent his retirement being hunted in Scotland until his death aged twenty seven. 

1979 - Rubstic`s year


 Leading fancies

For the second time in three years the current Cheltenham Gold Cup winner took his place at Aintree and carrying only ten stone thirteen the Peter Easterby trained ALVERTON looked to have an outstanding chance. A top class performer over both the flat and hurdles he had progressed to the top of the steeplechasing tree after a career threatening injury at Newcastle that had kept him off the track for a season. He had won the 1978 Arkle Trophy at the Festival and after a series of narrow defeats he had won the Greenall Whitley Breweries Chase at Haydock and then won the Gold Cup by twenty five lengths. Admittedly it could be said to have been a slightly substandard renewal and his nearest rival had fallen at the last fence when upsides him but ALVERTON had done all that had been asked of him and he started a worthy favourite. With Lucius a last minute absentee through coughing and Sebastian V injured the 1978 form was represented by the horses who had finished third fourth and fifth. Third placed DRUMROAN had shown no form at all whilst COOLISHALL had run just three times, his best performance being second in the Mandarin Chase at Newbury whilst fifth placed THE PILGARLIC had won his first race in more than two years when winning a hunter chase at Stratford. Of the newcomers the lightly raced MR SNOWMAN a winner at Wincanton in January and the 1978 Greenall winner RAMBLING ARTIST a winner this season of the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby came in for support. The Scottish trained RUBSTIC had never fallen in his career and had twice won the Durham National and finished runner up twice in the Scottish Grand National. Finally there was not just one but two Gold Cup winners in the field as the 1976 Gold Cup winner ROYAL FROLIC lined up. He had pulled up in this years renewal and had only won one race since his Gold Cup win when landing a small race at Hereford. The field was given an international flavour this year with the inclusion in the field of BEN NEVIS and THE CHAMP. BEN NEVIS had won two Maryland Hunt Cups over timber in the United States and THE CHAMP was a former Australian chaser and had won Italys premier steeplechase the Gran Premio di Merano and a race at Switzerland.  Both were now trained in the UK and to be fair their English form gave them no better than each way prospects at best. 

The Anoracks selection : ALVERTON

Each-way : DRUMROAN 

COLT CAR GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE (92 entries) 4 1/2 miles £30,204 to the winner, £10,446 to the second, £5,123 to the third & £2,461 to the fourth 

1 P20F1P ROYAL FROLIC  10, 11-10 T F Rimell J.Burke 
  U0432 BEN NEVIS  11, 11-2 T A Forster Mr C Fenwick 
 2F2211 ALVERTON  9, 10-13 M H Easterby J J O`Neill 
 102010 THE CHAMP  11, 10-12 D.Kent W.Smith 
 4100F2 PURDO  8, 10-11 N A Gaselee R.Champion 
1211-13 MR SNOWMAN  10, 10-9 T A Forster G.Thorner 
8 2004F0 SAND PIT  9, 10-7 E P Harty - IRE T.Carmody 
10 1030-P0 WAYWARD SCOT   10, 10-7 D.McCain R F Davies 
11 21P-312 RAMBLING ARTIST  9, 10-6 T A Gillam D.Goulding 
12 34-0000 DRUMROAN  11, 10-4Mrs G St John Nolan - IRE G.Newman
13 1111-43 GODFREY SECUNDAS  9, 10-3 T F Rimell C.Tinkler 
14 0P-2203 ZONGALERO  9, 10-5* N J Henderson B R Davies 
15 14B-320 COOLISHALL  10, 10-2 P.Cundell A.Webber 
16 D-20113 ROUGH AND TUMBLE  9, 10-7* F T Winter J.Francome 
17  200200 DOUBLE NEGATIVE  9, 10-1 T F Rimell Mr E Woods 
18  03104F ARTISTIC PRINCE  8, 10-3* Mrs J.Pitman P.Blacker 
19 3000-P1 THE PILGARLIC  11, 10-1* T F Rimell R R Evans 
20 00-4033 LORD BROWNDODD  9, 10-0 F T Winter A.Turnell 
21  131000 RED EARL  10, 10-0 S.Nesbitt H J Evans 
22  002021 RUBSTIC  10, 10-0 S J Leadbetter M.Barnes 
23 0-0000P KINTAI  10, 10-0 S N Cole B.Smart 
24 42-0040 NO GYPSY  10, 10-1 D.Nicholson J.Suthern 
25 PP-PPPP CHURCHTOWN BOY  12, 10-0 M.Salaman M.Salaman 
28  033010 DROMORE  11, 10-10* P.McCreery - IRE Mr P Duggan 
30  024202 KICK ON  12, 10-0 K.Lewis R.Hyett 
31  010200 FLITGROVE  8, 10-1* D.Nicholson R.Linley 
32  1111P0 OSKARD  10, 10-0 H F Blackshaw M.Blackshaw 
33 112-000 WAGNER  9, 10-0 W  A Stephenson R.Lamb 
34 2-30000 ALPENSTOCK  12, 10-0 S.Mellor Mr D Gray 
35 0P4-30P BROWN ADMIRAL  10, 10-0 D.McCain S.Morshead 
36  321023 SANDWILAN  11, 10-0 G A Ham Mrs J.Hembrow 
37 3/11-P0P VINDICATE  12, 10-0 D O`Connell - IRE Mr A O`Connell 
38  432232 CARTWRIGHT  8, 10-0 R F Fisher A.Phillips 
39 010-40P PRIME JUSTICE  9, 10-0 W D Francis A K Taylor 

Non Runners : 7 TAMALIN (B R Davies), 26 THREE GEMS (R.Crank) 

S.P : 13-2 Alverton, 10-1 Mr Snowman, 12-1 Coolishall, 14-1 Ben Nevis & Rough and Tumble, 16-1 Rambling Artist & The Pilgarlic, 20-1 Drumroan & Zongalero, 22-1 Rubstic, 25-1 Artistic Prince, Churchtown Boy, Lord Browndodd, Godfrey Secundus, Purdo, Royal Frolic, RUBSTIC & The Champ, 50-1 Dromore, Flitgrove, Kick On, Red Earl & Wagner, 66-1 Double Negative & No Gypsy, 100-1 Alpenstock, Brown Admiral, Kintai, Oskard, Sandwilan & Wayward Scot, 200-1 Cartwright, Prime Justice & Vindicate

Aintree debutants (24)

Alpenstock*, Alverton*, Artistic Prince, Ben Nevis, Cartwright*, Dromore, Flitgrove, Godfrey Secundus*, Kintai*, Mr Snowman*, No Gypsy, Oskard*, Prime Justice*, Purdo*, Rambling Artist*, Rough and Tumble, Royal Frolic, Rubstic, Sand Pit*, The Champ*, Vindicate*, Wagner, Wayward Scot*, Zongalero 

 Winner at Aintree

Churchtown BoyTopham Trophy (1977) 


1st RUBSTIC Maurice Barnes 
2nd ZONGALERO Bob Davies 
3rd ROUGH AND TUMBLE John Francome 
4th THE PILGARLIC Richard Evans 
5th WAGNER Ridley Lamb 
6th ROYAL FROLIC John Burke 
7th  PRIME JUSTICE A K Taylor 

Time : 9 minutes 52.9 secs

Distances : 1 1/2-5-1-6-12

Owned by J Douglas

Trained by John Leadbetter at Denholm, Roxburghshire in Scotland - The first (and so far only) Scottish trained winner. 

The winner

After a spell over hurdles to freshen him up Rubstic continued to be campaigned in staying chases in the north finishing third in the Great Yorkshire Chase and winning at Kelso and picking up his third Durham National. All looked set for a second attempt at the National and he started the 8-1 favourite. All was going well and he was up with the leaders on the approach to the Chair where he appeared to slip slightly on take-off hitting the top of the fence and unseating his rider for the first time in his career. In 1980-81 he only managed to win a small race at Doncaster from ten starts but he did run another solid race at Aintree finishing seventh behind Aldaniti. He stayed in training for one further year but concentrated on hunter chases. He last ran at Ayr in May 1982.