Bell’s Life and the Sporting Chronicle provided a detailed account of the race on Sunday 6th March 1859, the article forming the backbone of the information shown below.
It was widely believed that the entries for the Grand National were ‘a miserable lot ranging from the aged gelding Horniblow allotted 11st 7lbs to the equally aged gelding Glenamour allotted 8st 7lbs’. Nevertheless, of the 62 original subscribers, 20 did parade in Indian file in front of the Grand Stand where Mr Hibburd presented the flag to his lordship the starter. The start at 4.20 precisely was both orderly and compact, The Brewer and Xanthus showed the way over the hedge and ditch, immediately followed by Anatis, Spring and Half Caste. Xanthus took sole charge at the next few fences leading up to Beecher’s Brook, with The Gypsy King and Flatcatcher in close attendance. All proceeded merrily to the rails and ditch at which Spring came down a ‘burster’, rolling over Nightingall before galloping on without him. Xanthus was still in command at the canal side turn, but on the run to the lane Weathercock broke down, while The Gypsy King called it a day. Flatcatcher joined Xanthus over the gorse hurdles and on to the made brook, 15 feet wide, opposite the Stand. The pair charged this like greyhounds, forging 4 lengths to the good over Anatis, Jean du Quesne and Half Caste. Re-crossing Beecher’s Xanthus encountered a ‘purler’ and broke away minus his pilot, leaving Half Caste to take his colours to the fore, with Flatcatcher lying in wait near the rails. Anatis followed Half Caste to the lane for the final time, but soon tired when reaching the front, meaning Jean du Quesne , Midge and The Huntsman were the most likely to mount a challenge. At the finishing hurdle Half Caste took it to the right, Jean du Quesne to the left, both in the air together, while The Huntsman made swift progress between the two before losing a length when slipping post-hurdle. A smashing set-to ensued between the leaders before Half Caste remained a trifle the best, coming home by a short neck from The Huntsman who saved his stake, he in turn being a length to the good over Jean du Quesne. Midge finished fourth, Anatis fifth and Orkonsta sixth.