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One Incontrovertible, Unequivocal, Undeniable Fact Which Refutes the Diary

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  • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
    That makes eminent sense. Good work!

    Now, if we could find which book of records the forger might have used...
    Well I found all the information about the race times in a book called 'Heroes and Heroines of the Grand National' by Finch Mason published in 1907. But from Google books snippet view I can see that the race times are included in other books such as 'The Grand National: A History of the World's Greatest Steeplechase', published in 1970, by Vian Smith and 'A History of Steeple Chasing', published in 1901, by William Charles Arlington Blew.

    Given that Barrett lived in Liverpool, the home of the Grand National, I imagine there would have been loads of books about it in every library and most bookshops.

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    • Originally posted by Henry Flower View Post
      Sorry David - you made the same point better while I was typing.
      No, it's good Henry because it ensures I have passed the 'sanity test' that Iconoclast is so concerned about.

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      • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
        No, it's good Henry because it ensures I have passed the 'sanity test' that Iconoclast is so concerned about.
        Bit of work still to be done there, mate ...
        Iconoclast

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        • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
          No, of course not. What I am saying is that Maybrick could not possibly have believed it to be "a fast race", i.e. "the fastest I have seen" because (a) a person just can't tell visually over a 4 mile plus course, in a race lasting 10 minutes or so, whether a race is fast or not and (b) because the horses did not run particularly fast that year.

          Let's face it. No-one goes to a horse race to look at the finishing time. It's not athletics. The time wouldn't even be visible to spectators in the stadium. Everyone is only looking to see which horse won the race. The reports each year in the Times never even state the race times. It's only going to be in the record books of the Grand National where you can find out such information.

          So what I am saying is that, even absent the shorter course, it was a very strange and suspicious comment to be recorded in a journal (which is what made me investigate) but when you take the shorter course into consideration it's not something that Maybrick could possibly have said because no-one at Aintree that year saw a particularly fast race.
          I've just run this one by my old friend Mr. Razor and he points out the blindingly obvious (as ever is his want) that it is perfectly likely that the newspapers the next day simply stated that the race was the fastest for 18 years (or whatever it was - sorry, definitely NOT checking my facts on that one before I post, but I'm sure you'll still understand the principle I'm putting forward?). Maybrick reads this, doesn't think to ask if the race was shorter that year, and then sticks it into his journal. End of. Time for Auld Lang Syne. Etc..
          Iconoclast

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          • For the record, here is what the Times said on the morning of the day of the 1888 Grand National.

            'The principal race in today's programme at Liverpool is the Grand National Steeplechase of 1,000 sovs, added to a sweepstake of 15 sovs, each 10 forfeit, and run over a course which, having been shortened a little this year, will be about four miles and a-half in length.'

            That is about four miles and 880 yards. As I've mentioned, in 1889, the course must have been shortened even further because it was reported as being down to 4 miles and 856 yards.

            Prior to 1887, however, when it was 4 miles and 1000 yards, the length is stated every year between 1880 and 1886 to be about, or 'nearly', four and half miles (i.e. 4 miles and 880 yards). The winning times are normally between 10 mins 5 seconds and 10 minutes 20 seconds. In 1883 it was 11 minutes, 39 seconds and in 1881 it was 11 minutes, 50 seconds but for both those years there had been rainfall prior to or during the race and the going was described as 'heavy' which naturally slowed down the horses (and in 1883 there was also 'more plough than usual').

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            • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
              I've just run this one by my old friend Mr. Razor and he points out the blindingly obvious (as ever is his want) that it is perfectly likely that the newspapers the next day simply stated that the race was the fastest for 18 years (or whatever it was - sorry, definitely NOT checking my facts on that one before I post, but I'm sure you'll still understand the principle I'm putting forward?). Maybrick reads this, doesn't think to ask if the race was shorter that year, and then sticks it into his journal. End of. Time for Auld Lang Syne. Etc..
              Does Mr Razor understand that I am suggesting that the papers would not have stated that the race was the fastest for 18 years (because it wasn't)?

              What I am suggesting is that the notion that the race was the fastest for 18 years is a modern, probably post diary, interpretation based on the times in the historical record books.

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              • Here's an extract from Feldman's 'The Final Chapter' which proves what I have been saying (my bold):

                'But what of the race, 'The fastest...'? The newspapers had certainly described the race as exciting and even surprising, but we could not find detail to confirm the diarist's use of those words. My Liverpool researcher, Carol Emmas, visited Aintree. They were not able to help. Carol, like all my team, was resolute. She scoured newspapers and magazines for days on end. Her efforts were not unrewarded.

                In an obscure magazine called the Liverpolitan, in an issue dated March 1939, page 27 carried the headline A STATISTICAL GUIDE TO THE WORLD'S GREATEST STEEPLECHASE. Every result since 1837 was listed. So were the details of the owner, age and weight of the horse. The Grand National of 1889 was won by a horse called Frigate. It was the fastest Grand National run for 18 years!'


                So it's exactly what I said. Not a single contemporary newspaper was found which mentioned that the 1889 Grand National was a fast one. Feldman's researcher basically had to dig up the statistics in a 1939 magazine. I feel sure that the claim that it was 'the fastest Grand National run for 18 years' is Feldman's own interpretation based purely on the winning times. But he hasn't taken into account the distances.

                It must now be certain that we have found another error by our hapless forger who was just trying to be too clever.

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                • So what happened 18 years earlier?

                  In 1871, the Grand National was won by 'The Lamb' in 9 minutes, 35 seconds.

                  A record time? An amazingly fast race?

                  I don't think so.

                  According to the Times, the distance of the race that year was only "About four miles". This contrasts to 1871 when it was "about four miles and a quarter" and won in 10 minutes, 10 seconds and then in 1872 it was "Four miles and a half" and the winning time is up to 10 minutes, 14 seconds.

                  Just another Grand National in 1871 but run over a shorter distance.

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                  • Well to be fair, aren't the key words here "that I have seen?" So regardless of the actual time of the race it could still be the fastest race that he had actually seen. Also, how do we know that the phrase is to be taken literally? He could simply be giving his impression as in "that was so and so's best prize fight."

                    c.d.

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                    • Originally posted by c.d. View Post
                      Well to be fair, aren't the key words here "that I have seen?" So regardless of the actual time of the race it could still be the fastest race that he had actually seen. Also, how do we know that the phrase is to be taken literally? He could simply be giving his impression as in "that was so and so's best prize fight."

                      c.d.
                      But David's original point would stand: in a race that lasts over ten minutes, in which the only thing that counts is winning, you simply don't register now quick it has been. Unless you're consulting record books years later....

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                      • What about a newspaper report the next day, or the day after the race, that reported the time and also compared it to previous years?

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                        • Originally posted by Henry Flower View Post
                          But David's original point would stand: in a race that lasts over ten minutes, in which the only thing that counts is winning, you simply don't register now quick it has been. Unless you're consulting record books years later....
                          Well if I say "I can't remember it ever being this cold" is that indicative of my having checked meteorological records? There is nothing that confirms that he was being literal.

                          c.d.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by c.d. View Post
                            Well to be fair, aren't the key words here "that I have seen?" So regardless of the actual time of the race it could still be the fastest race that he had actually seen. Also, how do we know that the phrase is to be taken literally? He could simply be giving his impression as in "that was so and so's best prize fight."
                            As Henry has said, it's not a natural response to a race, especially one over four miles. How can anyone possibly gauge whether a race of such a distance and lasting more than ten minutes has been a fast one or not?

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                            • Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
                              What about a newspaper report the next day, or the day after the race, that reported the time and also compared it to previous years?
                              Clearly there were no such reports.

                              As I've already said, it was NOT a fast race so there would never have been a newspaper report saying that it was fast.

                              This is confirmed by the fact, as I've mentioned above, that Paul Feldman's researcher simply could not find any contemporary newspaper mention of the 1889 Grand National being a fast one, despite much searching.

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                              • Originally posted by c.d. View Post
                                Well if I say "I can't remember it ever being this cold" is that indicative of my having checked meteorological records? There is nothing that confirms that he was being literal.
                                People naturally talk about the weather but they don't talk about horse races over four miles and lasting ten minutes as being fast or slow. To the human eye, all race horses basically gallop at the same speed in every race don't they? So how can anyone say (rightly or wrongly) whether they have witnessed a particularly fast or slow race, especially one over such a long distance?

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