What is the heaviest weight any horse has carried in the Grand National?
The race conditions for the Grand National, including the maximum weight to be carried, have changed numerous times down the years. For example, in 1956, the maximum weight to be carried was lowered from 12st 7lb to 12st 0lb and, despite being lowered twice more, to 11st 12lb in 2002 and 11st 10lb in 2009, the legendary Red Rum remains the last horse to win the Grand National under top weight. ‘Rummy’, as he was affectionately known, made light of 12st 0lb when beating L’Escargot by 7 lengths in 1974.
However, prior to 1956, four horses carried the previous top weight of 12st 7lb to victory in the Grand National. In chronological order, they were Cloister (1893), Manifesto (1899), Jerry M (1912) and Poethlyn (1919) and, collectively, they hold the record for the heaviest weight carried by a National winner. Spare a thought, though, for the inaugural Grand National winner, Lottery who, in the days before the National became a handicap, carried 12st 0lb to a 3-length victory in 1839, albeit in the slowest time ever recorded.
A faller at the dry stone wall, again under 12st 0lb, in 1840, Lottery tried again, as an 11-year-old, in 1841. Remarkably, despite being penalised 18lb for winning the National Hunt Steeplechase at Cheltenham the previous year, which took his overall weight to an eyewatering 13st 4lb, he was sent off 5/2 favourite. Less remarkably, he was pulled up at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit.