This was run on average going and the weather was clear. It took place on 26th March and the time was 10 mins 14 3/5 secs.
GRAND NATIONAL 1886
|When Old Joe won the National in record time for owner
Johnstone Douglas he is reported to have made his owner £14000, the equivalent in today's
terms of just under £1 million. It is further believed that Tommy Skelton received £1000
(equivalent to £70000 in todays money) as a gift from the grateful owner. Indeed Tom was
lucky to have picked up the chance ride when his owner could not make the weight of 10st 9
The picture shown above is of Old Joe, but with owner Johnstone Douglas in the saddle. It was left to professional rider Tom Skelton to guide the winner home. It is widely believed that Tom Skelton was his professional riding name, but that his real name was Tom Tagg. Thomas Cheshire Tagg was born in 1868 at Newhall, South Derbyshire, son of Thomas Tagg and Elizabeth Cheshire. He rode his first winner in 1879, a flat race at Lichfield, but it was in steeplechasing that he was to make his name. He rode in the Grand National 7 times and, remarkably, he was placed third, first, second and fourth in his first 4 attempts before being unplaced on 3 subsequent attempts. Burgh trainer George Mulcaster acknowledged after the race that Old Joe had shown signs of lameness before the race and that he had considered withdrawing him.
Rumour has it that, at one stage in his career, Old Joe had pulled a milkcart.
I am indebted to Angie Heape, a distant relation of Tom Tagg, for the pictures on this page, and to her daughter Francesca who has inherited racing blood from her famous relation.
The picture below shows the house, 62 Grange Street, Burton on Trent, where Tom Tagg spent his early years.
am indebted to John Davis, the Great Grandson of Thomas Cheshire Tagg. Tom
Tagg (Skelton) rode in 6 Grand Nationals. The first in 1885 he came 3rd on
Black Prince, in 1886 1st on Old Joe and in 1887 2nd on Savoyard. He rode
Ringlet to 4th in 1888 and in 1889/90 on both occasions he rode Voluptuary. He also
rode on the continent and his first race was on the flat at
I am very grateful to both John Davis and Jacky
Jones for carrying out such detailed research.
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