Bell’s Life and the Sporting Chronicle provided a detailed account of the race on Saturday 12th March 1864, the article forming the backbone of the information shown below.
Each year the racing press had a beef about some particular issue with the Grand National, and this year it was their contention that the minimum weight should be 10st, instead of handicapping supposed ‘crocks’ at a weight similar to that carried by a 3 year old in the Derby. However, they did congratulate Mr Topham for attracting a field of 25 for the main race. Furthermore, they went on to congratulate Mr Marshall, assigned as Lord Sefton’s representative, for one of the best and most imposing starts ever witnessed, carried out in brilliant sunshine. The action commenced at 3.13 with Wee Nell in the van, followed by Serious Case, Miss Maria and Jerusalem. At the first post and rails fence Ireley pulled to the front, holding a clear lead by the succeeding ditch and bank, at which Jerusalem and Satanella never roes, both coming down heavily. This chaos was nothing to that at the next double rails where several refused, some fell and others were thrown out. By the time of Beecher’s first time round truly 200 yards divided the first and the last horses, with Ireley 8 lengths to the good of Bell’s Life and Thomastown. The field started to take closer order over Valentine’s Brook, and were in a cluster down by the canal side. Reaching the racecourse proper, Ireley’s lead was considerably diminished, clearing the gorse hurdle ahead of Arbury, although these two were almost immediately overhauled by Real Jam who later charged the artificial water jump in front of the stands to take command by a length. The lead then changed hands regularly between Real Jam, Arbury and Irely over the next few flights. Reaching Beecher’s the final time, Emblematic beagn making a move towards the leaders, jumping it in fourth place, and as the front runners re-entered the racecourse Emblematic was left solely in attendance of Arbury who continued to lead by a length. The pair approached the final timber together, after which the game was up for Arbury, leaving Emblematic to score with ease by 3 lengths. Arbury was almost a distance clear of Chester, followed by Thomastown.