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1953 - Early Mist

Early Mist.jpeg

The winner

EARLY MIST won at his second attempt but injury ruled him out the following year after he had won a chase at Leopardstown's Christmas meetng. He finished a never dangerous ninth in the 1955 National but fell at the first in 1956 (becoming the second post war National winner to twice fall at the first). He did win again, a small race at Windsor in November 1956 and finished second to Devon Loch in a match at Sandown. He last raced at Sandown in May 1957.

Leading Fancies


Following the public relations disaster of the previous year, normal service was resumed and the BBC returned to Aintree to broadcast the Grand National. Whilst the British public could look forward to a decent commentary this year they were still denied the mouthwatering prospect of live pictures. Televising the National was still not on the negotiating table as far as Mrs Topham was concerned. More on her mind this year was her latest ambitious plans for the racecourse. Racegoers attending the 1953 National got a first glimpse in the racecard of the plans for a motor racing circuit to be constructed on the inside of the National course. Not the best kept secret, the plans had been leaked in a motor magazine the previous autumn. If any die hard race fans were concerned about the prospect of formula one cars screaching around the hallowed Aintree turf their concerns remained unanswered although Mrs Topham did seek to reassure patrons that there would be no racing on a Sunday !

Ante-post favourite for the National, the defending champion Teal sadly was absent having succumbed to serious injuries  picked up in the previous months Cheltenham Gold Cup.  With no previous winner in the field the betting public made a National debutant (albeit one with winning form over the fences), the politically incorrectly named LITTLE YID favourite. He had won the Molyneux Chase and Topham Trophy and this year having won two small races at Doncaster had finished third in the Great Yorkshire Chase. Last time out he had finished second in the Mildmay of Flete at the Festival. WHISPERING STEEL, who had departed spectacularly twelve months ago was next best at 9-1, a winner at Cheltenham and Worcester early in the season he had beaten last years runner up Legal Joy and rival Headcrest in the Mildmay Memorial at Sandown. Leading Irish challenger was the Vincent O`Brien trained LUCKY DOME who had finished second in the Galway Plate and then won his last three starts including the prestigious Leopardstown Chase. GLEN FIRE was popular at 10-1 which was something of a surprise as he had not seemed to have enjoyed his previous two runs in the National. He had won at Birmingham and finished second in the Kim Muir and was clearly expected to fare much better as was CARDINAL ERROR, an early faller last year who was in good form this season having won twice in the Autumn at Hexham and Kelso. He had subsequently been running consistently faring much better over the Aintree fences when finishing second in the Molyneux Chase at the Autumn meeting. The class horse in the race was the Fulke Walwyn trained MONT TREMBLANT who had won seven of his last eleven starts. He was the best chaser of 1951-52 winning five out of six chases including the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Whilst not so prolific this year he had still finished second in the King George VI Chase at Kempton before finishing fourth in the Gold Cup. He had won twice at Sandown (finishing ahead of Little Yid) and it was something of a surprise to see him start at 18-1. A combination of the fact that he was making his debut of over the unique fences and was being asked to carry a massive weight of 12 stone 5 were clearly putting people off. Staring at 20-1 was Vincent O`Briens second string, EARLY MIST. He was was considered to be inferior to his stable companion Royal Tan who was absent through injury. He had been a first fence faller in 1952 and not showed too much form this season (apart from winning a race at Naas in March which he subsequently lost in the stewards room). He had been sold following the death of his owner J V Rank and was now running in the colours of Joe O`Connell who had also bought Royal Tan. Two other interesting runners were IRISH LIZARD being offered at a ridiculous price of 33-1 considering he had just won the Topham Trophy three days earlier and BAIRE who was having his sixteenth race of a very busy season.

Note : All four winners of the steeplechases at the Autumn meeting ran in the National this year.

THE GRAND NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE 4 1/2 miles (73 entries), £9,255.10s to the winner

 1   1-12124   MONT TREMBLANT  7, 12-5  (F T Walwyn)  D V Dick 

 5 -112224   CARDINAL ERROR  9, 11-5  (J.Wright)  R.Curran 

 6  3F23PF  CLONCARRIG  13, 11-5  (F T Walwyn)  Mr R.McCreery 

 7 01F-00D  EARLY MIST  8, 11-2  (M V O`Brien - IRE)  B.Marshall 

10   12B212  WHISPERING STEEL  8, 10-13  (A.Kilpatrick)  R.Morrow 

11 -023044  LAND FORT  9, 10-13*  (T F Rimell)  Mr H.Oliver Jnr 

12 -0F0FF0  SENLAC HILL  8, 10-10  (G.Beeby)  R.Francis 

13  140032  QUITE NATURALLY  9, 10-8  (W T O`Grady - IRE)  T.Molony* 

14  400124  GLEN FIRE  10, 10-8  (S.Mercer)  M.Lynn* 

15    123121   KNUCKLEDUSTER  9, 11-0*  (P.Payne-Gallwey)  Mr P B Browne 

16   401414   WITTY  8, 10-5  (W.Hall)  G.Slack*

17 -0U2233  PARASOL II  8, 10-8  (A.Walton)  Mr A Oughton 

18   400431  OVERSHADOW  13, 10-4*  (C.Magnier - IRE)  P.Taaffe* 

19   3F0013  ORDNANCE  7, 10-3  (T F Rimell)  M.Scudamore 

20  012000  LARRY FINN  9, 10-11*  (N.Crump)  A P Thompson 

21    011432   LITTLE YID  11, 10-1  (R.Renton)  J.Power 

22   123301   IRISH LIZARD  10, 10-6*  (H.Nicholson)  R.Turnell 

27    121430  WAIT AND SEE  8, 10-4*  (G.Archibald)  A.Freeman 

28  F04404  ARMOURED KNIGHT  9, 10-1  (G.Wilson)  T.Mabbut

29  030030  PEARLY PRINCE  10, 10-0  (E.Wright)  R E Jenkins 

30  433223   BAIRE  7, 10-0  (J B Powell)  J.Foster 

31    210033  CREAM OF THE BORDER  8, 10-0  (A.Paton)  B.Wilkinson 

32   12U340  HEAD CREST  7, 10-0  (G.Wilson)  S.Barnes 

33    020111   LUCKY DOME  7, 10-0  (M V O`Brien - IRE)  P J Doyle 

34    210303  UNCLE BARNEY  10, 10-4*  (H.Clarkson)  J.Boddy 

36   403302  GRAND TRUCE  9, 10-0  (G R Owen)  D.Leslie 

37   030404   STEEL LOCK  9, 10-0  (E.Maggs)  Mr E Maggs 

38   /10-300   DESIRE  12, 10-0  (McMullen)  T.Cullen 

39   34010U   HIERBA  8, 10-0  (T.Hanbury)  A.Mullins 

42 c-33210P  HAPPY DAYS  13, 10-0  (E.Gifford)  A.Benson 

43   200022  PUNCHESTOWN STAR  9, 10-0  (J.Lea)  S.McComb

* C.Grassick down to ride Quite Naturally in the racecard

* T.Cusack down to ride Glen Fire in the racecard

* P A Farrell down to ride Witty in the racecard

* M.Mahler down to ride Overshadow in the racecard

The following horses were featured in racecard but were withdrawn after four day declaration stage : -

2 STORMHEAD, 3 WOT NO SUN, 4 SHOCK TACTICS, 8 CUSHENDEN (P.Chisman), 9 SOLO II, 23 JUST JOE (J.Connolly), 24 BROWN JACK III (R.Emery), 25 ROMAN FIRE (E.Reavey), 26 DOG WATCH (T.Brookshaw), 35 OLD KENTUCKY, 40 CAESARS WIFE (Mr G B Rogers), 41 PARSONSHILL (J.Seely) 

S.P : 7-1 Little Yid, 9-1 Whispering Steel, 10-1 Glen Fire & Lucky Dome, 100-7 Cardinal Error, 18-1 Mont Tremblant & Quite Naturally, 20-1 EARLY MIST, 22-1 Witty, 25-1 Parosol II, Knuckleduster & Ordnance, 33-1 Irish Lizard & Overshadow, 40-1 Larry Finn, Uncle Barney, Baire & Headcrest, 50-1 Wait and See, Hierba & Land Fort , 66-1 Cloncarrig, Senlac Hill, Armoured Knight, Pearly Prince, Cream of the Border, Steel Lock, Desire, Happy Days & Punchestown Star

Aintree debutants  

Grand Truce*, Happy Days*, Head Crest*, Lucky Dome*, Mont Tremblant*, Ordnance, Parasol II*, Quite Naturally*, Sanperion*, Senlac Hill*, Wait and See*, Witty 

Winners at Aintree  

Cloncarrig - Molyneux Chase (1947 & 1949), Becher Chase (1950) 

Irish Lizard - Molyneux Chase (1948), Topham Trophy (1953) 

Larry Finn - Becher Chase (1952) 

Little Yid - Molyneux Chase (1952) 

Uncle Barney - Valentine Chase (1952) 

Wot No Sun - Grand Sefton Chase (1952) 


1st   EARLY MIST - B.Marshall 


3rd  IRISH LIZARD - R.Turnell 

4th  OVERSHADOW - P.Taaffe 

5th  SENLAC HILL - R.Francis

Time : 9 minutes 22 4/5 seconds

Distances : 20-4-20-dist


Owned by Joe Griffin

Trained by Vincent O`Brien in Ireland 

1954 - Royal Tan


The winner 

Already a veteran of three Nationals and aged ten ROYAL TAN proved just how tough they were in the good old days as he stayed in training until he was thirteen and ran in three more Nationals for good measure. Running in Prince Aly Khans colours in 1955 he got round in his own time but a year later having won a small race at Limerick he stayed on in the closing stages to finish third in ESBs sensational National of 1956. He showed nothing in his three starts before the 1957 National which was to was to be his final racecourse appearance. His career ended on a quiet note as he was carried out early in the race.

Leading Fancies

Just twenty seven runners this year and a very strong Irish challenge with three of the top six in the betting coming from the other side of the Irish sea. The giant CONNEYBURROW looked an ideal National sort and had run like one when taking the Grand Sefton Chase at the autumn meeting. He had finished second in the valuable Leopardstown Chase and had chased home CHURCHTOWN on his last start at Naas. ROYAL TAN was running in his third National, second in 1951 and a last fence faller when still in contention in 1952. Injury had kept him out last year and he had not shown much since his return until he had finished second in the National Hunt Handicap Chase at the Festival. Another bold show was expected. Of the Brits it was last years third IRISH LIZARD who started favourite - he had come closest than any other to winning both the Topham and Grand National in the same year having won over the shorter distance three days earlier. This year he had won twice at Newbury and the four miler at the Cheltenham on New Years Day. He jumped - he stayed - he was a worthy favourite in the absence of the two horses that had beaten him last year. TUDOR LINE was unbeaten in three starts at Ayr, Sandown and the Mildmay of Flete at the Festival. GENTLE MOYA was another for whom stamina would not be an issue - he had won the four mile Eider Chase at Newcatle, his second win at the course this season. ORDANANCE was doing his best to run away with this last year blazing the trail until he crashed out at the twentieth fence. Other interesting runners included an ex-French chaser, ICY CALM having his first run for new connections (ambitious) and some runners were being kept very busy this season - BAIRE was having his fourteenth race of the season as was PUNCHESTOWN STAR but Irish challenger STATESMAN was runnng for an incredible twenty sixth time. He had been busy since the previous June, run twice at the Festival and had fallen in the Topham two days earlier. It was a small field but very select. 

GRAND NATIONAL STEEPLECHASE (57 entries), 4 1/2 miles, £8,571 10s to the winner

 2    000f02   ROYAL TAN  10, 11-7  (M V O`Brien - Ireland)  B.Marshall

 3    340f04    LEGAL JOY  11, 11-3  (F T Walwyn)  D V Dick* 

 4     u-f4pfp   WHISPERING STEEL  9, 10-12  A.Kilpatrick  R.Morrow 

 5   20-10p0   ALBERONI  11, 10-12  (M V O`Brien - Ireland)  Mr E Cousins*

 6    -101422   CONEYBURROW  8, 10-11  (J W Osborne - Ireland)  P.Taaffe 

 7     13u4p3   SOUTHERN COUP  12, 10-10*  (N.Crump)  A P Thompson*

 8  /000-p30  DOMINICK`S BAR  10, 10-7  (T.Hyde - Ireland)  T.Molony* 

 9      0p-111    TUDOR LINE  9, 10-7  (R.Renton)  G.Slack 

10    3-32111    IRISH LIZARD  11, 10-5  (H.Nicholson)  M.Scudamore 

12    020321   CHURCHTOWN  9, 10-3  (M V O`Brien - Ireland)  T.Taaffe 

14     011-f20   SWINTON HERO  10, 10-6*  (D.Machin)  Mr C.Harty

15     221323   PRINCE OF ARRAGON  13, 10-2  (J J O`Donnell - Ire)  J.Gorey 

16                     ICY CALM  10, 10-5*  (G.Archibald)  R.Francis 

17      123331   SANPERION  9, 10-2  (L.Elwell)  D.Leslie 

18      14040f   GAY MONARCH II  8, 10-4*  (T F Rimell)  T.Brookshaw 

20    22003p  MARTINIQUE  8, 10-1  (G R Owen)  Mr E Greenway 

21     412233   ORDNANCE  8,10-1  (T F Rimell)  J.Dowdeswell 

22     f020u1   ONTRAY  6, 10-8*  (L S Briggs)  Mr R Brewis 

23     fp4244   BAIRE  8, 10-0  (M L Marsh)  J.Foster 

24    24-02uf   HIERBA  9, 10-0  (J.Hamey)  R J Hamey 

25     130004   BORDER LUCK  9, 10-0  (J R Bower)  T.Shone 

26    002004   PARIS NEW YORK  7, 10-0  (J B Powell)  M.Roberts 

27     20402f   STATESMAN  8, 10-0  (C.Magnier - Ireland)  E.Newman 

28    -312231    GENTLE MOYA  8, 10-0  (C.Bewicke)  Mr J Straker 

29     0032r2   UNCLE BARNEY  11, 10-0  (H.Clarkson)  L.McMorrow 

30    /0-00p0  ROYAL STUART  11, 10-0  (G R Owen)  J.Power 

31      01pu30  TRIPLE TORCH  8, 10-0  (J.Hartigan)  D.Ancil

32    0p00-f3   MINIMAX  10, 10-0  (A.Sellar)  Capt M MacEwan 

33     303144   PUNCHESTOWN STAR  10, 10-0  (J.Lea)  S.McComb 

* R.Emery down to ride Legal Joy in the racecard

* B.Cooper down to ride Alberoni in the racecard

* P.Chisman down to ride Southern Coup in the racecard

* E L Mckenzie down to ride Domincks Bar in the racecard

Non Runners : 1 MONT TREMBLANT (D V Dick), 11 QUITE NATURALLY (B O`Neill), 13 QUEEN`S TASTE (R.Curran), 19 TRAVELLERS PRIDE (Mr H F Craig Harvey) 

S.P : 15-2 Irish Lizard, 8-1 Coneyburrow & ROYAL TAN, 10-1 Churchtown & Tudor Line, 100-6 Gentle Moya, 18-1 Ordnance, 20-1 Sanperion, 33-1 Dominick`s Bar & Legal Joy, 40-1 Icy Calm, Southern Coup & Whispering Steel, 50-1 Gay Monarch II, Statesman & Uncle Barney, 66-1 Alberoni, Baire, Hierba, Martinique, Minimax, Ontray, Paris New York, Prince Of Arragon, Punchestown Star, Royal Stuart, Statesman, Swinton Hero & Triple Torch

Aintree Debutants 

Alberoni*, Churchtown*, Gentle Moya, Martinique, Minimax, Ontray, Paris New York*, Prince of Arragon*, Sanperion*, Southern Coup*, Swinton Hero*, Triple Torch*

Winners at Aintree

Border Luck - Valentines Chase (1951) 

Irish Lizard - Molyneux Chase (1948), Topham Trophy (1953) 

Uncle Barney - Valentine Chase (1952) 


1st   ROYAL TAN - B.Marshall 

2nd TUDOR LINE - G.Slack 

3rd  IRISH LIZARD - M.Scudamore 

4th  CHURCHTOWN - T.Taaffe 

5th  SANPERION - D.Leslie 

6th  MARTINIQUE - Mr E.Greenway 

7th  UNCLE BARNEY - L.McMorrow 

8th  SOUTHERN COUP - A P Thompson 

9th  ONTRAY - Mr R Brewis


Time : 9 minutes 32 4/5 seconds. 

Distances :


Owned by Joe Griffin

Trained by Vincent O`Brien in Ireland

1955 - Quare Times


The winner

QUARE TIMES proved that his exertions at Aintree had not taken too much out of him as he ran twice more that season winning a hurdle race at Leopardstown and finishing unplaced in what was then the valuable end of the season chase, the Queen Elizabeth Chase at Hurst Park. Thereafter he became something of an enigma as he never raced at Aintree again. He was declared to run in the 1956 National having won at Leopardstown and chased home Sundew in the Haydock Park Grand National Trial but injury forced him to miss the race. He only raced four more times after that, winning a two runner race at Leopardstowns Christmas meeting in 1956 and he last raced in February 1958 at Naas when he finished unplaced behind a future National winner, Mr What.

Leading Fancies

Torrential rain not only kept the crowds away in 1955 but nearly led to the abandonment of the meeting. With surface water lying on the course an eleven am inspection deemed that the course and fences were safe but the turf surrounding the water jump was unraceable leading to the water jump being omitted for the first (and so far only) time in the Nationals history. Favourite was an Irish trained Aintree debutant. Starting at  7-1 COPP a former hunter chaser had won his last three races including two of Irelands premier chase, the Thyestes & Leopardstown Chase. The 1953 winner EARLY MIST now running for a new owner following the collapse of Joe Griffins business empire had just run twice this season with a spell over hurdles before he put up a superb performance to finish fourth in the Gold Cup. TUDOR LINE just denied twelve months ago was next best in the market having won the valuable Lancashire Chase at Manchester. Vincent O`Brien had trained the last two National winners and he had four runners this year, after Early Mist his next best challenger was Aintree debutant QUARE TIMES who had been denied by two lengths by Limber Hill in the National Hunt Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He had won at Naas in January and proved he could stay when landing a four mile chase at Cheltenham the previous season. IRISH LIZARD had two first fence falls and two third places to his name in the National. At twelve his time had surely come and gone but he was in good heart having won the four mile Fred Withington Chase at Cheltenham in January and been a close third behind Quare Times at the Festival. There was a Royal runner this year with the unusually named  M`AS-TU-VU who had won at Newbury in January.

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE, 4 1/2 miles, £8,934 to the winner


 1     21-03f0   ROYAL TAN   11, 12-4   (M V O`Brien - IRE)  D V Dick 

 2   10/01-24   EARLY MIST  10, 12-3   (M V O`Brien - IRE)  B.Marshal

 3   33-2234   MARINER`S LOG  8, 11-12   (Beeby)  R.Francis 

 4       110311    MR LINNET  7, 11-5   (C A Rogers - IRE)  Mr J R Cox 

 6    22-f310   TUDOR LINE  10, 10-3   (R.Renton)  G.Slack 

 7   1/0-2402  GIGOLO  10, 11-3   (Wight)  R.Curran 

 8       0-f1112   SUNDEW  9, 11-3   (J.McLintock - IRE)  P J Doyle 

 9     2120u0   ESB  9, 11-1   (L.Carver)  T.Cusack 

10      f1-3142  QUARE TIMES  9, 11-0   (M V O`Brien - IRE)  P.Taaffe 

11         1110f0  ORIENTAL WAY  7, 10-12   (M V O`Brien - IRE)  F T Winter 

12      301122  CAREY`S COTTAGE  8, 10-11   (T J Taaffe - IRE)  T.Taaffe 

13      133424  LITTLE YID  13, 10-10   (R.Renton)  J R Emery 

14     -302212  IRISH LIZARD  12, 10-09   (H.Nicholson)  M.Scudamore 

15         11-3111  COPP  11, 10-8   (P.Sleator - IRE)  T.Molony 

16       231301  M`AS-TU-VU  9, 10-7   (P.Cazalet)  A.Freeman 

19    3423-04  RED RUBE  8, 10-3   (A.Oughton)  A.Oughton 

20    03242f   NO RESPONSE  9, 10-2   (R.Renton)  D.Ancil 

21    0-4P023  CLEARING  8, 10-2  (W.Stephenson)  R J Hamey 

23        /01p1-  DARK STRANGER  10, 10-5*   (Colville )  Mr J.Bosley 

24    -221400  BLUE ENVOY  10, 10-1*   (V.Smyth)  Mr E.Greenway 

25       211410  ANOTHER RAKE  10, 10-1*   (F.Gilman)  D.Leslie 

26     203133  GENTLE MOYA  9, 10-0   (C.Bewicke)  Mr J.Straker 

27    243000  MOOGIE  12, 10-0   (H.Cousins)  J.Neely 

28       ff33p0  STEEL LOCK  11, 10-0   (K.Bailey)  J A Bullock 

29     40p24f   WILD WISDOM  10, 10-0   (O`Donaghue)  Lt Col W.Holman 

31      33bp02  ONTRAY  7, 10-8*   (Briggs)  Mr R.Brewis 

32      3/f-304  ROMAN FIRE  12, 10-0   (Bissill)  J.Dowdeswell 

33       3pff34   MUNSTER KING II  8, 10-0   (P.Cazalet)  V.Speck 

34     -030f00  SUN CLASP  7, 10-0   (Storey)  J.Power 

35     32r200-  UNCLE BARNEY  12, 10-0   (Clarkson)  L.McMorrow


Non Runners : -  5 GOOSANDER (A P Thompson, 17 MR CHIPPENDALE (-), 18 WHISPERING STEEL (R.Morrow), 22 PORTARLINGTON (R.Curson), 30 AIR WEDDING (-)

S.P: 7-1 Copp, 9-1 Early Mist, 10-1 Tudor Line, 100-9 QUARE TIMES, 12.5-1 Irish Lizard & Mariner`s Log, 100-6 Gigolo, 20-1 Careys Cottage & Mr Linnett, 22-1 M`as-tu-Vu, 28-1 Royal Tan & Sundew, 33-1 Oriental Way, 40-1 Dark Stranger, 45-1 Another Rake & No Response, 50-1 Clearing, Gentle Moya, Little Yid & Uncle Barney, 66-1 Blue Envoy, ESB, Moogie, Muster King II, Ontray, Red Rube, Roman Fire, Sun Clasp, Steel Lock & Wild Wisdom

Aintree debutants 

Another Rake*, Blue Envoy*, Careys Cottage, Clearing, Copp*, ESB. Gigolo*, Mariners Log, M`As-tu-Vu, Oriental Way*, Quare Times*, Red Rube, Roman Fire*, Sundew

Winners at Aintree

Early MIst - Grand National (1953) 

Irish Lizard - Molyneux Chase (1948) & Topham Trophy (1953) 

Little Yid - Molyneux Chase (1952, 1953 & 1954) & Topham Trophy (1954) 

Mr Linnet - Becher Chase (1954) 

Royal Tan - Grand National (1954) 

Uncle Barney - Valentine Chase (1952) 


1st    QUARE TIMES - Pat Taaffe 

2nd  TUDOR LINE - G.Slack 

3rd   CAREY`S COTTAGE - T.Taaffe 

4th   GIGOLO - R.Curran 

5th   ONTRAY - Mr R.Brewis 

6th   GENTLE MOYA - Mr J.Straker 

7th   CLEARING - R J Hamey 

8th   WILD WISDOM - Lt Col W.Holman 

9th   EARLY MIST - B.Marshall 

10th   RED RUBE - A.Oughton 

11th    IRISH LIZARD - M.Scudamore 

12th   ROYAL TAN - D V Dick 

13th   UNCLE BARNEY - L.McMorrow


Time : 10 mins 19 1/5  secs

Distances : 12-4-2-20-1


Owned by Mrs W.H.E Welman

Trained by Vincent O`Brien in Ireland

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