By the 1840's the founder of the race, William Lynn (who was the proprietor of the Waterloo Hotel and Head of a syndicate who had leased the land for Aintree, from William Molyneux 2nd Earl of Sefton.) was suffering from ill-health.
He found his enthusiasm for the race waning and he started to take a back seat leaving the way open for Edward Topham, a prominent member of the Syndicate and a well respected handicapper to take over the National.
It was Topham who turned the race into an Handicap race in 1843, having been a weight for age race for the first four years, in 1848 he took over the land lease (100 years later the Topham family would buy the course outright.)
The 1849 race was the first run over a course that is similar to today's, except the fences and ditches that were encountered en-route were natural features, unlike today's man made fences.
YEAR | HORSE | SP | JOCKEY | TRAINER
1840 | Jerry | 12/1 | Mr Bartholomew Bretherton | George Dockeray,
1841 | Charity | 14/1 | Mr A. Powell | William Vevers
1842 | Gaylad | 7/1 | Tom Olliver | George Dockeray
1843 | Vanguard | 12/1 | Tom Olliver
1844 | Discount | 5/1 JF | Mr John Crickmere
1845 | Cure-All | | Mr William Loft | Kitty Crisp
1846 | Pioneer | | William Taylor |
1847 | Mathew | 10/1 | Denny Wynne | John Murphy
1848 | Chandler | 12/1 | Capt. Josey Little | Tom Eskrett
1849 | Peter Simple | 20/1 | Tom Cunningham | T. Cunningham