Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sunloch: A winning horse!

Ah, sorry! Last week I promised to tell you who John Nichols was, but there is more exciting news since then! [Huge apologies also for the type face which seems to have a mind of its own this time].

Sunloch, the horse from Loughborough who won the Grand National in 1914, has been awarded a green plaque by Leicestershire County Council. Sunloch was originally a hunting horse, but entered the steeplechase aged 8. His home, Gainsborough House on Nottingham Road, is still standing, and I'm guessing this is where the green plaque will be hung. Over the last couple of years there have been a variety of newspaper reports about Sunloch, but below, I've picked out some of the choicest articles from the time. Towards the end of the article are some links to websites of interest. Enjoy! 

Before the Grand National



From the above it will be seen that my predilections lie in the direction of F Harigan’s, Hastings’ and Whitaker’s stables, with Sunloch as the best of the light weight outsiders. At this distance of time it is most difficult to select a candidate from the above establushemnts, but, taking my courage in both hands, I hope I shall not be far wrong if I pin my faith in Ilston, and name Bloodstone and Sunloch as the most probable source of danger."
Article with No Title in The Observer, 22 Mar 1914: 19.

 
3.30 Christmas Handicap Steeplechase of 130 ? Two miles:
DRINAUGH by Springtime-This (Mr H. de Trafford), a, 12st … Trudghill 1
SUNLOCH (Mr T Tyler), a, 11st … Tyler 2
ORANGEVILLE (Mr G. Smith-Bosanquet), a, 12st 7lbs, … Gregson 3

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The race and soon after

Far and away the most interesting article on the Grand National of March 1914 appeared in the Daily Telegraph of 28 March 1914, pg 18. It describes Sunloch's race in some detail, and talks of his and his rider's win, as well as giving a run-down of the horses that came in 2nd-4th and those who didn't finish. Mention is also made of his parentage. There is also a picture of horse and rider on page 14.

"The Grand National Steeplechase was won by Mr T Tyler’s Sunloch. Mr H de Mumm’s Trianon III
Being second and Mr J Hennessey’s Lutteur III third. Won by eight lengths; time, 9 min. 58 2 6ths of a second."
From: Annual Register: A Review Of Public Events At Home And Abroad, For Year 1914.

it is impossible to forget the marvellous ease and flippancy with which Sunloch, now owned by Mr. W. W. Vivian, did negotiate the formidable Aintree fences.”
Article called Racing notes, written by Trenton, which appeared in Country Life, Jan 23, 1915: 8

"Sunloch was the last 9st. 7lb. horse to win the race [Grand National], but it was generally agreed that he was very favourably handicapped, as he had strung together a nice winning sequence, even if they were minor races."
From an article entitled: An admirable Grand National Innovation, in Country Life, Jan 7, 1922: 29.

An article entitled: The Grand National, in The Manchester Guardian, 27 Mar 1915: 11.

Grand National 1914: "JUST four horses completed the race with the Tom Tyler-owned and trained Sunloch, under jockey Bill Smith, winning. Trianon III was second, Lutteur III third and Rory O'Moore fourth. Tyler had turned down a substantial offer from owner Charles Assheton-Smith for the eight-year-old prior to the race. But shortly after the Aintree triumph, Tyler relented and sold him to Assheton-Smith. Although Sunloch was never the same again."
From: Evening Chronicle [Newcastle] April 1, 2014 Tuesday Edition 1; National Edition Article by Chris Wright, Four-star heroes.

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The hunter and the steeplechaser

"While steeple-chasing – and the earliest ‘chases were real point-to-points – had its origins in hunting and is to-day just as dependent upon the hunting field for some of its best recruits, hunting is not directly dependent upon steeplechasing. The translation of the hunter into the steeplechase horse has, as we know, been a success in many cases – Sunloch, Serjeant Murphy and Master Robert may be said to furnish three leading instance …"
Article called: The past point-to-point season, by Harborough. In: Country Life, May 3, 1924: 679-681.

"Beyond all doubt the success of Sunloch has done much to do credit to the British hunter, as until ten months ago he knew practically nothing about steeplechasing, but had, I understand, been regularly ridden to hounds and occasionally exhibited with success at shows. No doubt, therefore, his victory will inspire other owners of hunters to emulate the example of Mr Tyler and thereby enter their horses for steeplechases over long courses and big jumps. Is, the defeat of the more fancied candidates on Friday may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as it must materially benefit British horse breeding and the great sport of hunting."
From: An untitled article in The Observer, 29 Mar 1914: 21

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Long after the race

A letter which appeared in Country Life

Grand National bridle
"Sir, how long does a good saddle last? In 1914 a surprise horse from Loughborough, Sunloch, won the Grand National wearing a snaffle bridle which is still in good condition and is worn every day by the cob in the accompanying photograph. …"
B C Ridley, The Ramblers, Woodhouse Eaves, Loughborough, Leicestershire.
Country Life, Mar 13, 1958: 518.

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And finally, an interesting snippet!

According to Gerald Rawling in an article about Bottomley, who was running a betting “agency”:
"First prize was once again £5,000 but the whole event was rigged and all the tickets for the fancied horses were held by members of the stable. To everyone’s surprise the race was won by a total outsider, Sunloch."
Rawling, Gerald, Swindlers of the century. In: History Today. July 1993, Vol. 43 Issue 7, p42. 7p.

Sunloch's parents were Sundorne and Gralloch: try searching this site for other horses if you want to know their pedigree. Unfortunately, it would appear that Sunloch died in 1920 when he broke a forelock. Apparently, he's buried in Sketchley, more or less where he fell.

There are lots of photographs on the internet of Sunloch: I've read that there has been a little confusion over whether or not some published photographs are really Sunloch. If this really is him - and given the description in the Daily Telegraph article which says he has three white fetlocks, I'm pretty sure it is - then this is my favourite! This one was painted by Basil Nightingale, a hunting and racing artist, who was also a horse and houndsman, and briefly lived in Melton Mowbray. Anyway, I'll leave you to hunt out more pictures for yourself!

See you next time!


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