Rhyme n Reason

Horses | Last ran in 1988
Dam - Smooth Lady
Sire - Kemal
Dam's Sire - Tarqogan
Born - 1979

Rhyme n Reason Grand National Wins

  • 1988 - ridden by Brendan Powell trained by David Raymond Cecil Elsworth

Rhyme n Reason was seen in the Grand National just once, he won the 1988 race but is a very popular name associated with the race, despite that. It wasn’t the fact he won, it was the manner of his victory that really caught the eye and warmed him to the public.

Foaled in 1979, when Rhyme n Reason won the Grand National, it would also be the last time we would see him on a racetrack. Aged just nine, there is no doubt he would have been back for more without the injury, so it was a real shame to think he would not be able to defend his crown, especially given the manner of his success.

Before running in the National and winning it, he carved out an impressive run of form in staying handicap chases, which led to him being well fancied on the day, and there was a real feeling that we were beginning to see the best of this horse, which makes his injury, and eventual retirement, even more disappointing.

Full Results

Year Result Prize Money Handicap Jockey Trainer
1988 1 £68,741 11-00 Brendan Powell David Raymond Cecil Elsworth

Winner Of The 1988 Grand National

The 1988 Grand National certainly served up plenty of drama on the track, and much of it focused around the winner, Rhyme n Reason. He was sent off at 10/1 after a very strong build-up to the race, winning plenty of good races, including the Racing Post Chase in January.

He was then seen in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but fell in the race. However, many still liked the run, the fall came four fences from the finish, and he was still in contention, with the staying power in him to know that he would stay and be around at the finish. The fall wasn’t ideal, but there was still plenty of positives to take from it.

Then came race day, and over the first few fences, there was enough drama to change the look of the race completely. First up, at the very first fence, favourite Sacred Path was a faller, much fancied, this certainly opened up the contest.

After this, at Becher’s Brook on the first circuit, the sixth fence, the landscape changed completely for Rhyme n Reason in almost race-ending circumstances. Somehow, the jockey on the day, Brendan Powell, managed to stay on board rather than depart the race, a move from the jockey that would pay the ultimate dividend.

After that near miss, Powell found himself at the back of the field on Rhyme n Reason, from being in a great position early. In the space of a full circuit, back to Becher’s for the second time, he managed to steady his horse, put him back in a good rhythm, and slowly work through the back markers to give himself a chance.

At Becher’s, he jumped well and was within the leading pack, moving up into second place just after. Then, with five fences to go, the fall of Little Polveir left Rhyme n Reason out in the lead, a remarkable place to be considering what had happened earlier in the race.

However, the race wasn’t over, and with two fences to go, Durham Edition came upsides him and then went past, leaving Rhyme n Reason in second place and with plenty of work to do. However, the horse didn’t give up, and neither did Powell on board.

Rhyme'N'Reason postcard

After the final fence, they began to reel in the leader, making in roads up the run-in, and the lead started to shrink. He got upside and then went past and away to win the race by four lengths in dramatic style.

Considering everything that happened to Rhyme n Reason in the race, this really was one of the most remarkable Grand National victories we have ever seen, and his guts and determination will always be remembered.

A special mention must also go to Brendan Powell. He’d only ever ridden in the Grand National once before, and that resulted in a third fence fall, so his experience in the race consisted of jumping over two fences and falling at the other. He almost came off and did well to stay on, but his awe-inspiring work came afterwards, doing all he could to get the horse back into a rhythm, jumping well and slowly moving him into contention.

The fact that he did all of that, got him back to the lead, and still had enough in the tank to battle up the run-in and win the race is certainly a testament to the jockey’s ability.

Unfortunate Injury During The Grand National

The entire story of Rhyme n Reason’s Grand National win in 1988 is made even more impressive by some unfortunate news that came out after the race had ended. Rhyme n Reason was found to have a fractured hock after the race, more than likely happening when he almost fell at Becher’s Brook.

The fracture was so bad that it forced the horse to retire after the race, we would never see him on a racetrack again. However, when you consider that, it makes his run in the race even more impressive. For two thirds of the contest, he was running with a fractured hock, getting round was an achievement in itself, never mind battling back like he did and going on to win the race.

If ever there was a display of guts and determination from a Grand National winner that stands out, then it is probably this one.

He won the Grand National as a nine-year-old, so there was plenty left for him to achieve, and it is disappointing to think that he never got the chance to defend his title after winning it in such dramatic circumstances. Given the way in which his season had gone, there was no doubt that this was the best of his career, so we were robbed of seeing how he would go on from that and if he was able to keep improving, which was certainly a possibility.

Rhyme n Reason’s Early Years

One of the key elements to the early part of Rhyme n Reason’s horse racing career was the fact that he was quickly running over long distances. He was always seen as a stayer, and when he took well to fences, staying chasing races were top of the agenda.

As he found his feet and won races, he was able to climb the ladder and ultimately, that would lead to him running in big races such as the Grand National.

Rhyme n Reason’s Big Race Wins

The Grand National is undoubtedly the stand-out win on Rhyme n Reason’s CV from his time in the sport, but it isn’t the only big race he managed to win.

The horse had a great build-up to Aintree, even though he fell in the Gold Cup. That included winning a few nice handicaps, but the biggest of those was certainly the Racing Post Chase. This came at Kempton in February, a listed handicap, and not only that, but a race that has forever been recognised as a strong Grand National trial.

It set him up perfectly, and although we only saw Rhyme n Reason once in the Grand National, it was certainly a very memorable run that people won’t forget.