Which Grand National had the fewest finishers?
The most attritional renewal of the Grand National in recent memory came in 2001, when just four horses finished and just two of them completed the course unscathed. The combination of bottomless ground and ‘carnage’ at The Canal Turn, caused by the riderless Paddy’s Return, conspired to whittle the 40-strong field down to just seven heading out on the final circuit. Further mishaps followed and, at the fence before Becher’s Brook on the second circuit, the field was reduced to just two. Red Marauder made the best of his way home to beat Smarty by a distance, with the remounted pair Blowing Wind and Papillon and equally distant third and fourth, respectively.
However, the Grand National with the fewest finishers ever was the 1928 renewal, in which 100/1 outsider Tipperary Tim was the only horse to safely negotiate all 30 obstacles at the first time of asking. He was followed home by just one other finisher, Billy Barton, who fell at the final fence, but was subsequently remounted to finish a distant second. Once again, conditions at Aintree were atrocious and, once again, a melee at The Canal Turn on the first circuit put paid to the chances of many of the 42 runners. At the third last fence, Great Span, Billy Barton and Tipperary Tim were the only three left standing, but Great Span and Billy Barton both departed to leave Tipperary Tim to win unchallenged.