London: R. Ackermann, Junr. Sporting Gallery, 1830. Item #03266
The Grand Leicestershire Steeple Chase
Eight Magnificent Hand-Colored Plates by C. Bentley after Henry Alken
ALKEN, Henry. Grand Leicestershire Steeple Chase. On the 12th. of March, 1829. London: R. Ackermann, Junr.Sporting Gallery, Jan[uar]y. 1st, 1830.
First edition. Oblong folio (14 1/2 x 17 7/8 inches; 368 x 455 mm.). Eight superb hand colored aquatint plates by C. Bentley after Henry Alken. (Plate images 10 x 14 1/4 inches; 254 x 361 mm.).
Later gray wrappers with rectangular printed label on front cover. Housed in a quarter gray morocco over marbled boards clamshell case. A few short marginal (repaired) tears to four of the plates (none affecting image).
1. The Start
2. Going the Pace, Captain Ross leading - Mr. Field Nicholson taking a line of his own.
3. Symptoms of Distress - The Cocktail Floored.
4. The field becomes Select - The Captain still leading.
5. A Rich scene; and such as no other County can exhibit…
6. Dick Christian's last fall, commonly called "A Header"…
7. The Climax of Disaster…
8. The Winning Post at Billesden Coplow / This Covert is celebrated for having produced the stoutest Foxes
in the Quorn Hunt.
Here Mr. Maher was appointed judge and the horses were thus placed:
Sir Harry Goodricke's Magic……1
Mr. Maxse's King of the Valley……2
Mr. Patrick's Lazy Bet……3
Captain Ross's Clinker……4
The other three No where.
A steeplechase is a distance horse race in which competitors are required to jump diverse fence and ditch obstacles. Steeplechasing is primarily conducted in Ireland (where it originated), the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia and France. The name is derived from early races in which orientation of the course was by reference to a church steeple, jumping fences and ditches and generally traversing the many intervening obstacles in the countryside.
The first recorded steeplechase over a prepared track with fences was run at Bedford in 1810, although a race had been run at Newmarket in 1794 over a mile with five-foot bars every quarter mile. The first recognized English National Steeplechase took place on Monday 8 March 1830. The 4-mile (6.4 km) race, organized by Thomas Coleman of St.Albans, was run from Bury Orchard, Harlington in Bedfordshire to the Obelisk in Wrest Park, Bedfordshire. The winner was Captain Macdowall on "The Wonder", owned by Lord Ranelagh, who won in a time of 16 minutes 25 seconds. Report of the event appeared in the May and July editions of Sporting Magazine in 1830.
The most famous steeplechase in the world is the Grand National run annually at Aintree Racecourse, in Liverpool, since its inception in 1836 (the official race was held three years later), which in 2014 offered a prize fund of £1 million.
The Grand Leicestershire Steeple Chase in 1829, preceded the first Grand National by seven years.