Grand National 1880 – 1889

The 1880’s held no major surprises with the great exception of the 1882 National, which was held in some of the worst conditions ever encountered at Aintree. Heavy snow and freezing conditions put many runners off and there were only 12 entrants, the eventual winner Seaman should probably not even have been in the race due to ill health.

Seaman’s owner, the 3rd Baron Manners had bet a large sum of money in late 1881 that he could buy, train and ride a winner of the 1882 Grand National, with just four months to go he bought Seaman a 6 year old gelding for 2000 pounds. The seller warned Baron Manners that the horse was too sickly to compete in a race like the National, famous last words indeed!.

It was widely known that Manners had very little riding experience and certainly not enough to win such a tough race, however he knew his short comings and set about entering as many amateur races as was possible in order to gain experience.

Twelve horses lined up for the start of the 1882 Grand National, the conditions ensured some of the more cautious riders would hold back. It was outsider Eau de Vie who took an early lead, he was jumping well despite the heavy going and kept the lead until the second lap when his rider’s stirrup broke on the approach to Becher’s Brook.

At this point in the race there were just 6 runners left and as Eau de Vie swerved off into the crowd, Zoedone took the lead, with Fay falling at the next fence and The Scot falling when a mile from home. With only two fences left before the home straight, Cyrus moved out in front and looked a certain winner.

Seaman who at this point was in second place looked exhausted and was starting to go lame but amazingly when 100 yards from the Chair Lord Manners proved he was a better horseman than he had been given credit for and encouraged Seaman into a last amazing run, he won the race by a head in a time of 10 mins 42 seconds.

Seaman had broken down badly on landing after the last fence and his racing days were over, he was kept by the family to be used as a hack for the children.

Mares who have won the national
Empress (1880)
Zoedone (1883)
Frigate (1889)


1880 | Empress | 8/1 | Mr Tommy Beasley | Henry Linde

1881 | Woodbrook | 11/2 | Mr Tommy Beasley | Henry Linde

1882 | Seaman | 10/1 | Lord Manners | James Jewitt

1883 | Zoedone | 100/7 | Count Karel Kinsky | W. Jenkins

1884 | Voluptuary | 10/1 | Mr Ted Wilson | William Wilson

1885 | Roquefort | 10/3 | Mr Ted Wilson | Arthur Yates

1886 | Old Joe | 25/1 | Tommy Skelton | George Mulcaster

1887 | Gamecock | 20/1 | Bill Daniels | James Gordon

1888 | Playfair | 40/1 | George Mawson | Tom Cannon

1889 | Frigate | 8/1 | Tommy Beasley | M A Maher IRE