Any Grand National buffs worth their salt can probably tell you that the first “official” Grand National – albeit run as the “Grand Liverpool Steeplechase” – in 1839 was won by the aptly-named Lottery. However, they may not be quite as quick to tell you that Lottery was saddled by former Derby winning jockey-turned-trainer George Dockeray. In fact, Dockeray saddled three more Grand National winners in the next 13 years – Jerry (1840), Gaylad (1842) and Miss Mowbray (1852) – which means that he ranks alongside Fred Rimell and Donald “Ginger” McCain, who also recorded four Grand National wins as trainers.
After retiring from race riding, Dockeray took up training, first at Mickelham, near Dorking and later at nearby Epsom where, in 1839, he received Lottery from owner John Elmore. Elmore, based in Harrow, was also a horse dealer and trainer and had previously campaigned Lottery at the Hippodrome, Bayswater and elsewhere in London. In 1837, Lottery is recorded as winning the “Hippodrome 50 Sovereigns Plate”, over 2 miles, on the first day the Hippodrome, Bayswater was opened.
In any event, Lottery started favourite for the inaugural Grand National and, ridden by James “Jem” Mason, won in a hack canter. According to the Daily Telegraph of the day, “…Lottery was in command as they finally entered the straight, and a prodigious leap at the last left him well clear.” George Dockeray died on May 2, 1857, aged 68, but over a century and a half after his death, after a public vote, he was inducted into the Aintree Hall of Fame in 2012.