1978 Grand National: Results, Runners & Fallers

One of the best finishes of the Grand National you will see. Five horses were in contention to win this race at the elbow, and the winner, Lucius, took the race by just half a length. We often see the Grand National being fought out by a couple of horses in the closing stages or a winner you could call at the final fence, but this race was the complete opposite.

The winner, Lucius, unfortunately, ran for the very last time in his career when winning the National, he was retired the following season due to injury. Trained by Gordon Richards, who bagged his first of what would be two Grand National wins here, and ridden by Bob Davies, who was a late replacement due to injury and had never ridden the horse before.

Thirty-seven runners went to post, and thanks to a nice even tempo and ground described as good, 15 managed to complete the course and come home.


Result Horse Starting Price Age Handicap Prize Money Jockey Trainer
1 Lucius 14/1 9 10-9 £29,148 Bob Davies Gordon W Richards
2 Sebastian V 25/1 10 10-1 £10,076 Ridley Lamb C H Bell
3 Drumroan 50/1 10 10-00 £4,938 Gerry Newman G Nolan
4 Coolishall 16/1 9 10-00 £2,369 Martin O’Halloran P D Cundell
5 The Pilgarlic 33/1 10 10-1 - Richard Evans Thomas Frederic Rimell
6 Mickley Seabright 33/1 10 10-3 - Peter Brookshaw Jnr Thomas Frederic Rimell
7 Lord Browndodd 16/1 10 10-7 - John Francome Frederick Thomas Winter
8 The Songwriter 50/1 9 10-00 - Bryan Smart Jenny Pitman
9 Roman Bar 33/1 9 10-8 - Pat Kiely Pat Taaffe
10 Brown Admiral 33/1 9 10-00 - John Burke Thomas Frederic Rimell
11 Golden Whin 50/1 8 10-4 - Steve Holland S F Holland
12 Tamalin 25/1 11 11-2 - Graham Thorner Gordon W Richards
13 Lean Forward 33/1 12 10-00 - James Evans Roddy C Armytage
14 Nereo 66/1 12 10-00 - Mark Floyd Frederick Thomas Winter
15 Never Rock 50/1 9 10-00 - Kevin Mooney Unknown

Non Finishers

Horse Fence Reason Starting Price Age Handicap Jockey Trainer
Cornish Princess 1 Fell 66/1 10 10-1 Richard Hoare W G M Turner
Teddy Bear II 1 Fell 50/1 11 10-4 Philip Blacker J A C Edwards
Otter Way 1 Fell 16/1 10 10-10 Jeff King O J Carter
Hidden Value 2 Fell 25/1 10 10-00 Tommy Stack S G Norton
War Bonnet 3 Fell 50/1 10 10-8 Dessie Hughes A O’Connell
Sadale VI 4 Fell 66/1 11 10-1 Clive Candy J George
Henry Hall 6 Fell 66/1 9 10-00 Frank Berry Francis Flood
Gleaming Rain 6 Fell 25/1 10 10-00 Sean Treacy M Neville
Tied Cottage 6 Fell 9/1 10 11-4 Tommy Carberry Dan L Moore
Irish Tony 8 Fell 33/1 10 10-00 Dennis Atkins Neville Franklin Crump
Master H 8 Saddle Slipped 10/1 9 11-2 Reg Crank Michael Oliver
Double Negative 10 Fell 33/1 8 10-00 Colin Tinkler Thomas Frederic Rimell
So 10 Fell 14/1 9 10-4 Niall Madden E J O’Grady
Shifting Gold 10 Fell 16/1 9 11-6 Bob Champion Kim Bailey
Master Upham 11 Fell 25/1 10 10-00 Paul Barton D R Gandolfo
Silkstone 11 Fell 66/1 10 10-00 Glenn Graham S G Norton
Burrator 11 Fell 66/1 9 10-00 John Suthern O O’Neill
Double Bridal 13 Fell 50/1 7 10-1 Bill Smith Fulke T Walwyn
Churchtown Boy 15 Fell 14/1 11 10-00 Martin Blackshaw M Salaman
April Seventh 19 Refused 20/1 12 10-11 Andy Turnell Bob Turnell
Rag Trade 21 Pulled Up 8/1 12 11-3 Jonjo O’Neill G B Fairburn
Harban 22 Unseated Rider 66/1 9 10-00 J P Byrne Francis Flood

What Happened In The 1978 Grand National?

Favourite on the day was Rag Trade, ridden by Jonjo O’Neill and trained by Fred Rimell. He won the 1976 Grand National two years earlier and fancied to come back and win another, he was sent off as the 8/1 favourite. Famously known for being the horse that denied Red Rum a win in the race, he was a very familiar name, even to those who didn’t follow racing fully, just this race in particular.

The drama came before the actual race itself, and it involved the winner, Lucius. He was initially down to be ridden by David Goulding, his regular jockey, but an injury to Goulding prior to the race forced a change in the saddle. Of course, many jockeys are already booked up for the Grand National, so trainer Gordon Richards turned to Bob Davies, and he was given the ride.

Prior to the race, despite being declared out of the contest due to injury, Red Rum was allowed to lead the parade, a horse that had won three renewals of the Grand National, an unmatched record, as well as finished second on two occasions.

Sent off as a 14/1 shot, Lucius was fancied by quite a few people, so this was a big moment for Davies to step in at such a late stage. Throughout the early part of the race, it was clear to see that Davies was being cautious on the horse, he had never ridden him before and had just three previous rides in the race, but two of those were early falls as the first and third fences.

However, as the race went on, the pair began to look in sync, Davies was a little more adventurous on the horse and was putting him into the race with a chance of winning. With good ground and an even gallop, plenty of runners were still in the contest as they came to the final fence. Over it, Lucius was one of five with realistic claims of a win.

Lucius, Sebastian V, Drumroan, Coolishall and The Pilgarlic were the five horses in with a chance of winning the contest, and they finished in that order. The Pilgarlic was finishing fast but unable to get up and involved, while both Sebastian V and Drumroan both tried to close the gap they had with the winner Lucius but ran out of time to do it.

For one of the few times in this race, we had multiple horses in with a chance of winning as the horses went up the run in, and the winning distance was just half a length. This was a real thriller, and after seeing the glory of Red Rum over the past few years, it was another big positive for the race to showcase what an event it really is.

The Final Time We Would See Lucius

When Lucius won the 1978 Grand National, he was a nine-year-old, so firmly in the prime of his racing career. He was expected to come back and defend his crown, and it wouldn’t have been too uncommon for him to race until around 12, so there were potentially three more Grand National races that he could have run in.

However, his run to win the Grand National at Aintree would sadly be the last time we saw him take part in a race. There was no issues after the Grand National, with no injury picked up in the race, but disaster struck in the following season.

While preparing to return to action, with his full campaign built around going back to Aintree to try and win the Grand National again, he picked up an injury. This forced early retirement on the horse, so we didn’t see him again, and considering we’d seen many horses come back to Aintree and defend their crown over the years, it felt as though part of the race was missing a year later.

Trainer Gordon Richards landed his first Grand National win here, as did jockey Bob Davies, despite not having any kind of connection with the horse before taking the ride.

Moments Of Note

  • At the last minute, due to injury, Bob Davies was called up to ride Lucius, and the spare mount turned out to be a winning one for him
  • On good ground, with an even pace, 15 runners completed, and five were in with a chance of winning in what was an incredibly open renewal
  • Red Rum led the parade, despite not running in the race due to an injury