Why is Valentine’s Brook so called?
Valentine’s Brook is, of course, one of the five ‘named’ fences on the Grand National course. Originally known simply as the ‘Second Brook’, Valentine’s Brook consists of a 5’ high fence, followed by a 5’6” wide brook, and is jumped as the ninth and twenty-fifth obstacles in the National. Valentine’s Brook is generally regarded the lesser of the two ‘brook’ fences but, like Becher’s Brook, owes its name to an event in the early history of the Grand National.
In 1840, in what was just the second ‘official’ running of the Grand National, a horse named Valentine set off lickety-split and, by the time he reached the obstacle that now bears his name, was well clear of his rivals. Valentine attempted to refuse, but his momentum carried him forward and, somehow, he corkscrewed, or pirouetted, over the fence, reputed landing hind legs first, with his jockey, John Power, still intact. After a remarkable recovery, Valentine continued and eventually finished third behind Jerry and Arthur.