Bell’s Life and the Sporting Chronicle provided a detailed account of the race on Saturday 23rd March 1872, the article forming the backbone of the information shown below.
It was broadcast loud and clear in the racing press that the Grand National was increasing in popularity, the most influential racing newspaper writing, ‘ Plain ungarnished facts always strike home more deeply than the neatest of complimentary sentences, and there is truth aplenty to support the statement that the Liverpool Grand National has increased rather than diminished in popularity to such an extent that even the Two Thousand Guineas and Epsom Derby combined possess a lesser interest during the winter months’. There was a threat of postponement on account of snow, the early morning temperature being quite Siberian, but in the early afternoon a shower of rain saw off the last of the snow covering. Despite all of the testing conditions, the flag fell at 3.35pm, barely 5 minutes after the appointed time, with Despatch on the inside, and Scaltheene on the right, setting the early pace, followed by the favourite Master Mowbray, The Lamb and Primrose. At the first fence the leading group was transformed to include Royal Irish Fusilier, Rufus, Despatch and Derby Day. At the second fence Snowstorm fell, which seemed appropriate given the state of the weather. At Becher’s Brook, (Note that Becher’s was spelt correctly this tear for the first time), the hard-pulling Primrose ran up alongside Royal Irish Fusilier and Rufus. The fence before Valentine’s Brook proved fatal for Nuage who over-jumped and broke a hip bone. The pace then slackened, enabling the field to cluster, still led by Rufus and Royal Irish Fusilier. By the time the leaders reached the Stand Water jump Primrose and Rufus were sharing the lead, although Rufus assumed sole command by the first fence in the country. It was at this fence that Primrose fell and brought down Marin, Philosopher and Schiedam. Unfortunately, Primrose broke her back and died instantly. Over Becher’s and Valentine’s the field continued to thin out, Cinderella unseating her rider Adams at the latter obstacle. Into the home straight, the next flight of hurdles was met first by Scots Grey and The Lamb, but close on their heels was Casse Tete, with Despatch also in close attendance. At the final flight of hurdles Casse Tete grabbed the initiative from The Lamb and ran on strongly to win with ease by 6 lengths, with a further 6 lengths separating Scarrington and Despatch, while the tiring The Lamb was a further 2 lengths back in fourth. Fleuriste claimed fifth place, with Master Mowbray in sixth.