The Irish Grand National first took place in 1870 and the next 6 years of it’s history would produce some very bizzare if not unfortunate tales! In 1871 a horse by the name of Mabel Grey romped home at 10/1 but this was no thoroughbred because Mabel Grey was bought for five bob from a knackers yard. And if that wasn’t enough triumph over adversity she then went on to produce the 1881 English Grand National winner!
Two years later, in 1873, Scots Grey came in 2nd place but only after the horse had bolted into the betting ring scattering the bookies. His rider, Garry Moore, got him back on track but not fast enough to take the Grand National. He tried again the following year but only managed third place so in 1875, and third time being a charm, Scots Grey finally won the Irish Grand National.
This in itself is not so unusual but there was a delay in the official verdict in which time a young clerk fom Dublin, convinced that Scots Grey had lost (he had backed him with money that wasn’t his) fled the course and committed suicide!
The following year, 1876, the race was won by a horse called – and this is true – Grand National!