Parent page: The Grand National – National Hunt Horse Racing
The 1956 Grand National was a thrilling race and demonstrated the unexpected results, endurance and pain that comes along with the great race. The Queen’s Mother had an entrant in the race with many believing that Devon Lock would take out the race. The horse had an ideal preparation and raced well. Near the finish line is when the horse faltered.
Devon Loch had won two races during the season and finished third in the National Hunt Handicap Chase at Cheltenham making the preparation an ideal one. Devon Loch raced like a true champion and led the race after the favourite Earl Mist fell earlier. Devon Loch was leading at the final stretch, and it looked like the horse was going to be a royal winner. Then in one of the most tragic moments in Grand National history, the horse jumped into the air and fell. At the time Devon Loch was five lengths ahead. Second place E.S.B went on to win the race.
What Really Happened?
The reason why the horse jumped was the obvious question for the crowd, trainers, jockeys and the Royals. Some believed it suffered cramp and lost control of its muscles or that the horse was confused and believed a jump was coming up because of shadows over the course and made an attempt to jump. The crowd was also boisterous because of an expected win which could have distracted the horse too.
A New Saying
As a result of Devon Loch’s drop at the line, a totally new saying came about called a ‘Devon Locke’. The saying explains an unexpected and final moment fail. The saying has been used on several occasions by the British press for sporting losses and even in politics.
The 1956 Grand National was exciting for all the wrong reasons. The fall of Devon Loch shocked the audience and has been part of the English language ever since.