| 3 March 1847|
John Murphy IRE
The 1847 Grand National Steeplechase was the ninth official annual running of a Handicap Steeple-chase Horse race which took place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool on 3 March 1847 and attracted a then record field of twenty-six runners. It was won by Mathew, ridden by Denny Wynne in the colours of County Cork landowner, John Courtenay.
1847 Grand National Wikipedia
During the first circuit there were several refusals but only Marengo, who fell heavily at the third fence and Cumberland Lassie, who ran out in the vicinity of Anchor Bridge, did not make it back to set off on the second circuit.
Jerry led over the water jump and back out into the country the second time where several rivals issued challenges only to refuse or fall. Despite this only Clinker who fell and Red Lancer, who was pulled up were not persevered with.
St Leger led over the final hurdle but was caught and passed on the long run in by Mathew who scored by 1 length with Jerry a further length back in third place. Pioneer was fourth, Culverthorpe fifth, The False Heir sixth and Brunette last of seven officially recorded finishers.
Sixteen other horses have been officially recorded as non finishers as they had not reached the distance judge's chair, positioned beside the plain fence in front of the stands, alongside the elbow, by the time Brunette had past the finishing post. In modern times they would still have been classed as finishers and are recorded as passing the post in the following order. Ballybar, Young Lottery, The Pluralist, Frederick, St Ruth, Latitat, Avoca, Cavendish, Midnight, Barmaid, Grenade, Gayhurst, Tramp, Quicksilver, Valeria and last to finish, the favourite The Roarer.
The win has gone down in history as being a hugely popular one among the Irish, bearing in mind that this was at the height of the potato famine in the country. In truth the Irish press largely ignored the race in those days and it was only the wealthy friends of Mr John Courtenay in and around the County Cork area who benefited from the victory. In actuality Courtenay was considered among the most ruthless of the landowners who were, at this time forcibly evicting their tenants for being unable to meet their rent and as a result the rank and file Irishmen had placed heir support with another Irish entrant Brunette.
Much of the early history of the Grand National was told many years after the events and often from memory with the result that the winner, Mathew appears on the winners board at Aintree carrying the modern spelling of Matthew. The sixth horse The False Heir is often recorded as a non finisher while the favourite The Roarer, along with Young Lottery are not recorded as having taken part at all. As a result, many modern books and websites state six finishers in a field of twenty-six runners instead of the seven from twenty-eight recorded by the press of the time.